Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Introducing, The One And Only, Tri-Tip!

I am so excited to share an excellent recipe for "Tom's Tri-Tip with Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette!" After working in my garden all day, my sweet husband made me dinner! While he grilled away, I sat taking notes and asking questions to pin down his secrets to grilling an excellent Tri-Tip! The "Tri-Tip" is a triangle shaped roast, cut from the bottom sirloin. It is boneless, gristle-free, and will have a 1/2" layer of fat on one side. When grilling a Tri-Tip, you can trim some of the excess fat away; however, you should leave some on to ensure it remains moist.

The Tri-Tip was first sold as a separate cut of meat, (instead of being cut up for stew meat or ground beef), in California in the 1950s, where it has become known as "Santa Maria Tri-Tip Roast." It is also called Sirloin Bottom Butt, Triangle-Tip Roast, Aiguillette de rumsteck (French), Huftespitze (German), Punta di scamone (Italian), Tapilla (Spain), and Folha de Alcatra (Portuguese). It is more readily available in the western US, but is becoming popular in other markets. So, try to find this fantastic cut of beef, which has an amazing beefy flavor, and with the Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette, is absolutely delicious! Served with a Retro Wedge Salad and a glass bottle of red wine, it makes a fine meal, indeed! *Don't forget to check back for the dessert!

Tom's Tri-Tip with Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette

Serves 6-8

For the Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon Kosher or coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Tri-Tip
1, 3 1/2 lb Tri-Tip Roast
1 teaspoon garlic powder, or more to taste
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, or more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
Handful of wood chips (oak and mesquite, or whatever you like)

For the Vinaigrette
In a food processor or blender, blend the thyme leaves, garlic cloves, oregano, and salt until finely chopped. With the processor or blender running, gradually add the lemon juice, then the olive oil. Season to taste with pepper. Can be made a day ahead, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.

For the Tri-Tip
Mix together the garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the Tri-Tip with the olive oil and sprinkle with the garlic powder mixture, pressing to adhere. This can be done ahead, covered and refrigerated. Remove from the refrigerator at least an hour before grilling.

Soak the wood chips in enough cold water to cover for at least an hour before grilling. 

Prepare a charcoal grill to medium hot, placing the hot coals to one side, leaving the other side without coals for indirect cooking. When the coals have all acquired a nice ash coating (will look light gray), remove the wood chips from their soaking water, and throw over the coals. Next, add the Tri-Tip, fat side down and sear for about 5 minutes, uncovered, until charred. Turn the Tri-Tip over, fat side up and sear for about another 5 minutes, uncovered, until charred.

Next, place the Tri-Tip to the indirect side of the grill (without coals), cover and cook until an internal temperature of 125-130, about 30 minutes. (A thermometer, designed for grilling, makes this a lot easier! Check out my Gadgets tab to find the one I recommend!)

Remove the Tri-Tip to a cutting board, drizzle with a little of the vinaigrette, and let rest 10 minutes. (The internal temperature will rise while it rests.) Slice against the grain into 1/4" slices. Drizzle with some more of the vinaigrette and serve, with the remaining vinaigrette on the side.

Thanks, Honey!

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