Santa Maria Dry Rub Recipe

Santa Maria Dry Rub Recipe

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This Santa Maria Dry Rub can take your boring grilled meats (such as tri-tip) and transform it into a delectable piece of meat, exploding with intense flavor!

The taste of the meat is really enhanced thanks to the fresh minced rosemary, garlic and onion powder, sweet paprika, and a spicy kick of cayenne pepper. Trust me, you’ll want to make batches of this stuff and share it with your friends!

Santa Maria spices
One of my favorite things about cooking is experimenting with different spice combinations to bring food to life!

Our Smoking Habit…

We recently purchased a new electric smoker to replace the smoker we wore out after years of use. Here are just some of the meats we’ve been smoking: fish, octopus, pork ribs, tri-tip, and brisket. What did you think we were smoking? ?

But seriously, each of those meats mentioned requires its own method of cooking. For example, using specific marinades, dry rubs, or even wet rubs.

Some of the meats require only a few hours to smoke, while others are smoked for 24 to 48 hours. However, when it comes to tri-tip or beef brisket, this Santa Maria Dry Rub is an absolute must.

The Origin of Santa Maria Dry Rub

Before we look at what Santa Maria dry rub is, let’s look at where Santa Maria is. The Santa Maria Valley is situated midway along California’s Central Coast, in Santa Barbara County. This beautiful city is located approximately 3-1/2 hours north of Los Angeles.

Santa Maria is known for its wineries, breweries, recreation, and Santa Maria-style barbecue. Santa Maria-style barbecue dates back to the mid-1800s when local ranchers cooked Spanish-style feasts for their Mexican ranch hands.

hexagon shaped bottles, filled with different spices

What is A Dry Rub?

A dry rub is a mixture of spices and herbs, used to flavor meat. These spices are “rubbed” into the meat to impart their rich flavor. Dry rubs usually contain some of the following spices: paprika, salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, and chili powder.

Additionally, herbs used in dry rubs include sage, rosemary, oregano, and thyme. You can purchase dry rubs at your local grocery stores, or you can make your own mixture. However, you may not want to recreate the wheel, in which case, simply follow this easy, and versatile Santa Maria dry rub!

Santa Maria rub on twi-tip

What is the Difference Between Dry Rub and Wet Rub? 

The answer to this question might seem pretty obvious to some, but there are those who might need further explanation. Adding any liquid to “dry rub” instantly transforms it into a “wet rub.”

This includes adding a small amount of liquid to the rub which makes a thick paste. The paste is then smeared all over the meat to flavor it. The paste may also be thinned out by adding more liquid.

Some possible wet rub liquids include wine, beer, whiskey, vinegar, oil, and fruit juice. You can easily add any of these liquids to this dry rub recipe to make a wet rub. How you use this recipe is totally up to you and your imagination! Personally, I use this rub on 4-pound tri-tip.

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santa maria dry rub

If you love this recipe, please give it a 5-star rating! Also, be sure to check out these other tasty recipes: Mexican Carne Asada, Pulled Pork, and Pork Dry Rub Seasoning.

4.42 from 12 votes
Santa Maria Rub
Santa Maria Dry Rub Recipe
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins

Authentic Santa Maria style dry rub seasoning.

Course: Condiments
Cuisine: American, Spanish
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 10 kcal
  • 1 T. salt
  • 1 T. black pepper
  • 1 T. paprika
  • 1 T. fresh rosemary minced
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  1. Mix all the ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  2. Use at once, or store in an airtight-jar for later use. These quantities are enough for a 3-4 lb. tri-tip roast.
  3. If storing for later use, leave out the fresh rosemary and add prior to using.
Nutrition Facts
Santa Maria Dry Rub Recipe
Amount Per Serving (8 g)
Calories 10
% Daily Value*
Fat 0g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Sodium 874mg38%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 0g0%
Protein 0g0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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