I couldn’t believe it when my recently-transplanted-from-New-York-boyfriend said he had never heard of Tri Tip! Little did I know at the time, that it’s a cut of beef that is only well known in California where I grew up. Centrally located in Santa Maria, CA, the area is known for its Tri Tip and the grill it’s cooked on, a Santa Maria style grill. Listen to Corbin talk about it here in this video.

Corbin grew up there and that is his specialty for sure at his newly opened brick and mortar restaurant here in San Diego. The neighborhood of Rolando to be exact. Here’s the grill. Pulleys lower or raise it as need be and there is definitely a smoky flavor imparted onto the meats from this method.

Santa Maria Grill

Tri Tip (like brisket) can be a difficult cut of meat if not cut correctly, which is, across or against the grain. Little did I know why I didn’t care for Tri Tip most of my life. Every time it was served at any backyard BBQ I would go to, it seems the griller never knew how to cut it and man, it was tough! You literally couldn’t chew it. I thought that’s the way it was supposed to be! Then, once or twice, it was tender and I didn’t know why until recently. So, if you do get a tough piece, ask them how they’re cutting it.

Corbin’s platter

Corbin serves all the other meats too. Sausage is very tasty, as are the ribs, pulled pork and chicken. His sides deserve mention and are mostly what you would expect and want at a place serving some good Q. Deep, rich, not too sweet beans, some creamy mac’n cheese and just right amount of mayo in the cole slaw.


Did I mention he makes a great Tri Tip? Oh yeah, that would be the main reason to get your butt down here. Good beer selection too. His prices are pretty special if you ask me. For those who complain about Q being too expensive, which I always counter with….but it’s time consuming and a very learned skill… can’t beat his pricing on all of his menu items. $10 for a half rack of ribs and only $18 for a full one?!



He’s still doing the Farmer’s Markets and catering too. Check out his site for specific info.

And you’re a lucky customer if you get to meet and interact with Corbin. He’s got just the right, cheerful and quirky personality that I love and it sets him apart for sure!

Me ‘n Corbin!

Sunday-Tuesday 11-8

Wed-Saturday 11-9

6548 El Cajon Blvd.

San Diego, CA 92115