A few days ago, my husband mentioned that I have not made Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip in a long time. He's right-- in fact, I haven't made it since January-- and I did blog about it. This recipe receives a lot of hits on GOOGLE, so it must be a very popular way of preparing this affordable cut of meat. Here it is-- it is always in a triangular shape. I paid about $5.75 a pound, so this cut cost about $13.00. This could easily feed four very hungry people, but as many as six guests. Tri-tip used to be a lot cheaper, but people caught on to this cut of meat and drove up the prices a bit. Bummer.
I decided to make this recipe for Labor Day, and to take new photographs. So, this is a revised and updated version of how to make this popular meal. If you don't live in California, then you might not be familiar with this cut of meat. I found an illustration and info on what tri-tip is on Wikepedia. Essentially, it's from the bottom sirloin.
Tri-tip is really popular in the Salinas Valley (California), where I live. Actually, it's popular all over California! On many weekends, I see barbecues set up in parking lots, selling this meat for fundraisers. Typically, tri-tip is served with ranch style beans (or chili), garlic bread and a salad. A few years ago, my husband and I were returning from a cruise to Mexico and we decided to pull into the coastal town of Santa Maria for lunch. We noticed a BBQ set up in a parking lot, and they sure were doing a brisk business selling tri-tip. Wow! This was the best tri-tip we've ever had.
California Grill masters pride themselves in cooking tri-tip with oak wood. This takes a lot of time, and I don't have oak wood readily available. It's not cheap! When I found this recipe in an issue of Cook's Country Magazine (part of the Cook's Illustrated family) I knew I had to make this. Forget BBQ sauce... this is an amazing recipe! Cook's Illustrated adapted this recipe where you used wood chips, soaked in water. You grill the tri-tip, seasoned only with salt & pepper (the Santa Maria way) and-- towards the end-- you add the wet chips to the coals to give a smoky flavor to the meat. I'm telling you, if you love to eat red meat-- this is to die for! Seriously, it's worth trying.
Christopher Ranch in nearby Gilroy, California-- home of the famous "Gilroy Garlic Festival". You also need olive oil and kosher salt-- not table salt, or it will be totally inedible. Kosher salt only! I love my garlic mincer. It saves time and does the job very well, thank you.
I love garlic. I don't think there's such a thing as too much garlic...unless you're dating. I'm married, thank goodness, so I pile it on. Fortunately, Craig loves garlic, too. You want a paste consistency.
In the meantime, Craig got the coals ready and I soaked some hickory chips in water (I can't seem to find oak chips, but these work fine). I removed the meat from the fridge to bring it to room temperature. I deviated from Cook's Country's recipe instructions-- the recipe says to sear the meat on indirect heat (coals shoved off to one side) for five minutes, and then remove the garlic with a paper towel. Why? Because garlic burns easily and turns bitter. Phooey! That's a hassle, so this is what I did-- and it works great
Over direct coals, the meat was seared for about five minutes on each side-- so it's doesn't have that wonderful crust...just yet. Carefully, the roast is removed from the grill and then damp chips are scattered over the coals. Then, the meat was moved to indirect heat (away from the coals), covered with the vents open and grilled for about 20 minutes. Craig doesn't like rare meat, so we went for 140F-- otherwise, go for 130F if you like it red in the middle.
I was so busy, today, making a sweet potato hash and a Mile High cake (I will post later on in the week) that I never got around to making Pioneer Woman's Ranch Style Beans (or Santa Maria beans, which I should blog about someday). Instead, I toasted some sandwich rolls and ate these as a sandwich. Craig added mayo, fresh lettuce and fresh garden tomatoes. Me? I ate it plain, with a green salad.
This rocks my world. It's rocks my husband's world. We love this. Leftovers make excellent fajitas...but I think these will be in our lunch boxes tomorrow.
I hope you can find this cut of meat where you live. This is it! Just like we devoured in a Santa Maria parking lot. Wonderful memories.
We had a relaxing and wonderful Labor Day.
Oh, I almost forgot to tell all of you....My son moved out! He's almost 21, and it was time for Mama Bird to nudge baby bird from the nest. Yep, he's settling into his own apartment, with a friend. He loves his new place. He's about 10 minutes from home. My son will weep if he hears he missed out on this dinner. I wonder what he's eating? Mac 'N Cheese, no doubt. From a box.
We mom's know how to lure our kids to visit, don't we? I'm sure he'll show up for Sunday Suppers when he grows tired of bachelor cooking.
I hope all of you enjoyed your weekend,