A California classic. When I lived in California, I worked for a couple of great caterers. One thing that we frequently served was tri-tip…
I happened to see some in our local IGA, something I haven’t seen in a long, long time!
- 1 tri-tip roast (2 to 3 lbs. total)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoons Adobo or garlic salt
- a very hot lump charcoal fire,
- or traditionally,
- 5 or 6 logs red oak; or, if using another type of wood, or cooking over charcoal or gas, add 2 cups red oak chips, soaked in water at least 20 minutes. Red oak is what they had available; I would suggest you use what you have available.
- Trim away all but 1/4 in. fat (set trimmings aside). Most tri-tips come already trimmed by your butcher. Mix salt, pepper, and garlic salt, then sprinkle pieces generously with it. Let meat sit 1 hour at room temperature.
- Meanwhile, prepare your fire If using charcoal, prepare grill for indirect medium-high heat and sprinkle chips directly on coals. When chips start smoking, you’re ready to cook. If using other types of fire, refer to the Sunset link below.
- I placed my meat on the grill while the flames were high. Since I do not have the adjustable type of grill called for, I wanted those flames to lightly char the meats. Each side cooked for about 8 minutes on each side. I was so impressed with tri-tip after this time; My roast was lightly charred, and still squishy. Well, it turns out, it was too squishy. I cut it in half to check it, and was raw, raw, raw. So, by this time the flames had died down and the charcoal had that white-ash covering the coals by that time, perfect for indirect cooking. Each side spent another 10 minutes on the grill, for about 28 minutes total. Perfectly cooked medium to medium-rare tri-tip.
- Slice meat 1/2 in. thick across the grain and serve hot.
*Order ahead from your butcher–unless you live along California’s Central Coast, where it’s easier to find.
I checked out a lot recipes online, but the article above at Sunset magazine interviews the original tri-tip grillers. Salt and pepper are the only seasoning that’s really needed. Can’t find tri-tip? Use a sirloin. Check out their great article for more tips. I also made the traditional macaroni and cheese and Santa Maria Beans using the Pinquito beans, which are indigenous to that area.