Grilled, Marinated Tri-Tip
I just had the best tri-tip ever. A buddy of mine bought a marinated 'blackened' tri-tip and grilled it on the BBQ. It was so tasty. He is in the San Jose, CA area and bought the beef at a local deli. I'm in the San Gabriel Valley in Southern CA. Anyone out there know of any place to buy the best tasting marinated tri-tip for home grilling?
Or, anyone recommend any recipes for a DIY marinade?
The 2 best tri tips in this area are Schaub's "Fred" tri tip in Palo Alto and Zanotto's marinated tri tips (2 flavors) at their grocery stores in San Jose. Neither will reveal their recipes, and I've been trying to reconstruct them at home for years...
The best tri-tip I've had was done at home on a friend's grill. It's so simple to make and you can't go wrong. Simply marinate a tri-tip in equal parts lager, ale or pilsner and low-sodium soy sauce; minced ginger, minced garlic, plenty of fresh cracked black pepper and green onion. Do this for at least 12 hours, up to 24 hours. Then just grill the sucker. It's very good.
I've done the one Trader Joe's sells, and it was pretty damn good. Only problem is that their stock varies so much from one day to the next, so they might very well not have it when you wanted. I lucked out; our niece had come home from UCSB and brought bags of the pinquito beans from Santa Maria for everyone, and I was looking through TJ's meat selection trying to figure what'd go best with them...and suddenly there was the most obvious answer!
Forget the "Santa Maria" style tri-tip. I hate that style with the white hot heat of a thousand supernovas. It is terrible, IMHO. It ruins one of the greatest tasting cuts you can put in your mouth. Of course I understand that peoples taste varies, and I know it is popular way out there on the left coast. Salt and pepper is all you need. Don't screw with one of the most flavorful cuts of meat that exists. Maybe rub some garlic on it, but that's it.
Got to agree with dhedges. This is a cut that has lots of flavor and makes a first rate straight ahead roast (and is a fantastic bargain if you can find it). White heat is ok if you only apply it for a few minutes to get some crust, but your favorite rib roast recipe will do just fine (as long as you use a thermometer). And you don't need a grill. A pan sear and oven roasting do the job just fine. Dry rubs are fine to add some notes, but you don't need marinades or basting. Save that for the next flank steak.
That said, if you put a gun to my head and said marinate this, I'd use a basic asian marinade: soy sauce, sesame oil, lots of ginger and garlic, and a good dose of lemon or lime juice.
In some ways, the tri-tip reminds me of an extra-thick flank steak. And, the tri-tip would accept an asian marinade, and would be very tasty. I agree completely. I also agree that you don't need the grill. In fact, I've had my greatest successes with the "pan sear", and the "oven roast", just as Zeldog said.
Here's my favorite version...
Santa Maria Tri Tip
2-3 lb. beef tri-tip roast or top sirloin
1 Tbl. fresh-ground black pepper
2 tsp. granulated garlic
1 tsp. granulated onion
1-1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. salt
Mix together and rub on meat. Let stand at 1-4 hours.
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup garlic-infused vegetable oil
Drizzle oil slowly into vinegar, whisking rapidly. Brush on meat as soon as you put it on the grill.
Use oak or mesquite chips on the grill.
Grill over direct heat, medium. Turn at least 3 times, basting every time. Grill 35-40 minutes, to 140 degrees F.
Slice across the grain and serve with corn tortillas and fresh salsa.