How to Cook Santa Maria BBQ on a Burch Barrel
Burch Barrel makes cooking Santa Maria-style barbecue simple. The secret to Santa Maria cooking is raising and lowering the grill grate over the fire to sear or slow grill the meat. Burch Barrel has a lid and grill grate that adjusts to variable heights. With the Barrel’s locking collar feature, you can raise the grill grate up from the fire and flames, then lock the lid over the grate to enclose it and seal the heat in. This allows heat to circulate from the bottom, open flame below into the enclosed meat creating even cooking. It then becomes like a convection oven but with smoke. This preserves the true BBQ nature and smokey flavor.
Start with your Burch Barrel on fire pit mode, get the fire going and let the temperature reach about 500 degrees. Then, close the oxygen vents off to calm the fire and create some coals and smoke. With the grate directly over the fire, sear the tri-tip for about 5-15 minutes on each side. Begin cooking with the fat side up, the fire is hotter at the beginning of the cook. Then, when you flip it, the fat will melt and fuel the coals to make it flame and increase the heat for the second side. The closer to the fire, the steak cooks hot and fast. You can keep the meat 6-12 inches above the fire so that the flames don’t give the meat a fire taste. If it seems the fire is too hot, elevate the grill grate to 12-18 inches high. The height of the grate still allows the smoke to infuse a deliciously woodsy flavor.
When finished searing, raise the grill up. Elevating the meat from the fire allows a slower cooking method and more smoke to permeate the protein, we call this hover smoking. As it cooks, the meat will plump up as the juices are sealed inside. This preserves the natural flavors of the beef and is the reason protein needs to rest after grilling. The whole process of cooking tri-tip takes about 45 minutes. When finished grilling, let it rest on a platter for 15 minutes. The juices will redistribute and make slicing the beef easier. Slice tri-tip 1/3-1/2” thick, always against the grain.
Attaining Authentic Santa Maria Flavor
Cooking over an open flame with the Santa Maria method, using a robustly flavored wood such as oak, more specifically red oak encompasses the meat with a primal, delicious smokey flavor. This regional type of oak will recreate the flavors that the Santa Maria Valley ranchers indented for the meal. What makes Santa Maria unique is grilling over an open flame, using red oak logs to achieve that primal, regional flavor
Just as the Californian cowboys loved to gather and feast, cooking with a Burch Barrel makes gathering, socializing, and feasting on delicious food easily a weekly tradition. The Barrel is similar to a fire pit, but the exterior stays cool so it’s family-friendly. Hang out while the meal is being prepared, spend time together, then enjoy a memorable dinner. So round up your best compadres because this Santa Maria meal is too good not to make a night of.