central coast tri tip bbq in lompoc

Central Coast Tri-Tip BBQ

A southern California tradition, tri-tip barbecue tastes best when it’s hot off the grill from a master’s kitchen. Unlike many parts of the country where tri-tip is a mystery, barbecue lovers from California’s Central Coast know that an expertly grilled tri-tip cut is just as juicy as brisket and just as flavorful as sirloin. If you’re planning a visit to Lompoc, don’t leave without experiencing the region’s legendary tri-tip barbecue!

Though the origins of tri-tip barbecue aren’t completely clear, many believe it first gained notoriety because the tri-tip cut itself is inexpensive, but when treated with knowing care, delivers a completely unexpected taste experience. For decades it’s been a staple of California ranchero cuisine.


Coming Soon:

Tri-Tip at the Embassy Suites Lompoc

Foodies, get ready! The Embassy Suites by Hilton Lompoc's much anticipated, on-site restaurant will specialize in Central Coast tri-tip bbq. With Chef Sonny Tabin at the helm, our forthcoming dining project will showcase your favorite local cut in all of its beefy glory: dry-rubbed, seared hard, and slow-cooked to juicy, meaty perfection. We get hungry just thinking about it.

Our restaurant is slated to serve its first plate of Central Coast tri-tip in March 2017, but in the meantime, we'd like to introduce you to our chef.

Meet Chef Sonny Tabin

Lompoc's King of Tri-Tip

My name is Sonny Tabin and you probably know me best as the man behind your complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast and evening receptions. I have worked in the industry for about 20 years and am looking forward to many more! I've been at the Embassy Suites Lompoc for the entire time, and couldn't imagine a better place to work. I moved to Lompoc in 1989 after living in Manila and Hawaii, and I absolutely love the city for the beautiful weather, peacefulness, cost of living, and the scenic Central Coast views. Many guests don't realize how close the coast is, and how quickly you can access everything in the city. I really enjoyed Thailand's street food when I visited, and Thai food has been my favorite ever since. Being close to the ocean is great because you can get fresh seafood. I like to accumulate as much free time as possible and then use it all at once on a big trip - I want to try to see the world when and while I can. I am a quick learner who does my best to keep active, stay busy, and am always on the lookout for adventure.


Santa Maria Style Is Sure to Hit the Spot

Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip

hotel near santa maria tri tip bbq

Barbecue fanatics are talking more and more about Central Coast tri-tip. Santa Maria style involves a pit grill, red oak wood chips, an oxidative fire, and a secret spice rub recipe. While every chef has a unique spice blend, garlic, salt, and pepper are standard foundational ingredients.

Santa Maria-style tri-tip barbecue is traditionally served with signature sides including pinquito beans, which are small, pink beans native to the region, and stewed with tomatoes, onions, and spices. You’ll also enjoy fresh bread, salsa, and salad. It’s the perfect meal when for you’ve worked up an appetite after a day on a Lompoc beach or touring the area's phenomenal wineries. By the way, it pairs beautifully with a rich, southern California red.

Our Favorite Local Tri-Tip BBQ Joints

Our Favorite Tri-Tip Joints

Expand your palate when you stay at Embassy Suites by Hilton Lompoc – Central Coast. Sample our favorite preparations from the best local tri-tip barbecue joints at the top of our list.


The Firestone Grill


firestone grill central coast tri top sandwich

You won’t find a tastier tri-tip sandwich along all of California’s central coast! Visit the Firestone Grill in San Luis Obispo to taste and see the cause of the long lines.

Eat at the Firestone Grill


The Hitching Post II


hotel near hitching post tri tip bbq

Credit: Lisa Thompson Photography

Located in Buellton, The Hitching Post II has been going strong for 30 years in the Santa Ynez Valley. The glass window in the dining room gives you a full view of the chefs hard at work in the kitchen.

Eat at The Hitching Post II


Far Western Tavern


far western tavern tri tip barbecue

Enjoy a modern, upscale take on classic Santa Maria-style barbecue and California ranch cuisine at the Far Western Tavern in Orcutt.

Eat at The Far West Tavern


Tanner Jacks


tanner jacks tri tip bbq

You won’t be disappointed in the award-winning beef tri-tip at Tanner Jacks in Arroyo Grande. Try the ribs too!

Eat at Tanner Jacks


The Rib Line


the rib line santa maria bbq

Headed to San Luis Obispo for a beach day? The Rib Line BBQ Restaurant & Catering has a location right off Grover Beach. They’ve been barbecuing Santa Maria-style for over 20 years.

Eat at Rib Line BBQ


Book a Suite for Your BBQ Tour

central coast barbecue hotel
central coast barbecue hotel

You can read all about what makes a delicious tri-tip barbecue meal, but until you taste for yourself, you won’t fully understand. Whether it’s your first or fifteenth time visiting the Santa Maria region, you'll love the beauty of central California anew. Located a short jaunt from Santa Maria Valley and a host of world-class tri-tip barbecue restaurants, the Embassy Suites by Hilton Lompoc Central Coast offers the perfect amenities for your California BBQ adventure. Book your room with us and enjoy:

Located a short jaunt from Santa Maria Valley and a host of world-class tri-tip barbecue restaurants, the Embassy Suites by Hilton Lompoc Central Coast offers the perfect amenities for your California BBQ adventure. Book your room with us and enjoy:

  • Free Cooked-to-Order Breakfast
  • Complimentary Snacks, Drinks and Cocktails at Our Evening Reception
  • Outdoor Heated Pool with Nearby Barbecue Area
  • In-Room Mini-Fridge for Tri-Tip Leftovers
  • 24-Hour Fitness Center
  • Two-Room Suites with Plenty of Space for the Whole Family

Book Your Suite Today!

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