Filson Food: Santa Maria Venison Sirloin

sliced venison sirloin with finishing salt and white herb aioli in small bowl and on meat

When we think of American BBQ, we tend to think of Southern BBQ: slow-cooked brisket, pulled pork, pit beans, coleslaw, etc., but there are a lot of other BBQs to be found around the U.S.

Case in point, California BBQ.

This style was pioneered by California cowboys and has been refined over the last 80 years.

Where Southern BBQ is all about low and slow, California BBQ is cooked hot and (relatively) fast over coastal oak and often served medium-rare. This style was pioneered by California cowboys and has been refined over the last 80 years. The favored cut of meat is tri-tip, which comes from the bottom of the sirloin. Due to the size of a venison sirloin, this recipe calls for cooking the whole cut.

While these aren’t the traditional sides for a Santa Maria tri-tip, they still work very well.

olive oil being poured on top of a dry rubbed venison sirloin in a shallow circular metal dish

Santa Maria Sirloin:

1 Venison Sirloin
2 tbsp Oil
1 tbsp Kosher Salt
2 tsp Finely Ground Black Pepper
1 tbsp + 1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tbsp + 1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Cayenne
1 tbsp Dried Oregano
1 tbsp Chopped Fresh Rosemary
1/2 tsp Dry Sage

Feta Sauce:

5 oz Macedonian Feta—this is a creamy style feta. Regular will work, but won’t cream as well.
⅓ cup Mayonnaise
1 clove Garlic
2 Anchovy Filets. Oil or Salt packed will work, rinse or pat dry before using.
3 tbsp Parsley, chopped
2 sprig Tarragon, chopped
1/2 Lemon, juiced
Black Pepper

Hasselback Potatoes:

Russet Potatoes, washed

Feta Sauce:

1. Using a spatula or spoon, cream the feta in a bowl until it is a smooth paste.
2. Add the remainder of the ingredients and mix well.
3. Refrigerate the sauce for a couple hours to allow the flavors to blend.
hands zesting a lemon on a long zester over a stainless steel bowl with various herbs and spices to make a sauce

Hasselback Potatoes:

1. Place two wooden spoons on a cutting board and place one potato in between them perpendicularly.
2. Using a sharp knife, slice the potato very thinly along the entire length, making sure not to cut all the way through. This is where the wooden spoons come into play. See the picture for a better idea.
3. Rinse the starch off the potatoes in a bowl of cold water and allow them to soak for 1 hour. This helps to separate all the layers.
4. Dry the potatoes, place them on a roasting tray, and coat them in oil. Make sure to work oil in between all the slices.
5. Season the top with salt and roast in a 375°F oven with low fan until they are knife-tender, approximately 1 hour.
6. Place a couple knobs of butter on top of each potato, turn up the oven to 450°F, and roast until they are golden brown.
hands holding a knife making cuts for hasselback potatoes with chopsticks and a wooden spoon as a guard
hands spreading apart the fine cuts of a hasselback potato in water

Santa Maria Sirloin:

1. Mix all the spices, seasonings, and rosemary in a bowl.
2. Season the sirloin liberally all over and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Reserve the remaining seasoning mix.
3. Drizzle the oil all over the sirloin and rub it in to coat. Re-season the sirloin if the spice mixture has fallen off.
4. Over a hot hardwood fire, grill the sirloin on all sides until just charred and it reaches an internal temperature of 115°F.
5. Rest the sirloin on the side of the grill in a warm place for 15 minutes.
6. Once rested, reheat the sirloin and bring it to an internal temperature of 135°F.
7. Slice the sirloin thinly against the grain and serve with feta sauce and Hasselback potatoes.