I was first introduced to the tri-tip steak while visiting my parents in Las Vegas years ago. As my parents were talking about this piece of meat, you could see the excitement in their eyes and their mouths beginning to water. Tri-tip is something that we do not see in grocery stores in the Midwest, and it is typically found in the western part of the states. My parents were correct when they were talking about how awesome this steak was, and after they cooked it over a rotisserie, it came out just packed full of great flavor, and could possibly be one of my more favorite cuts of meat.
After I was so fortunate to partner with Branch Ranch Natural, I noticed that the ranch offered tri-tip as part of their product line, and it had my mouth watering when I found out. I knew exactly what I was going to do with it, and at first, I thought of using the rotisserie as my parents did, but instead I decided to roast it over meduim heat on the grill/smoker, and hit it with a bit of cherry smoke at the very end.
- 2 lbs of tri-tip
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
- 2 sprigs of rosemary leaves, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 handful of cherry wood chips, soaked in water
Ingredients for Cilantro Chimichurri:
- 1 bunch of fresh cilantro
- 1 head of garlic, rough chop
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2/3 cup of olive oil
- 1/4 cup of white vinegar
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 4 peppadew peppers
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
Begin by rubbing your tri-tip with the olive oil. This will help the salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary stick to the meat. Let this marinate for at least four hours. While the meat marinates, make the chimichurri sauce. Let me stop right here and say if you have never had chimichurri sauce, it is simply a must make. Chimichurri is typically made with parsley with similar ingredients listed above, however I thought I would mix it up a bit and replace parsley with cilantro, and I am glad that I did.
So to make the chimichurri, add everything but the olive oil to a food processor, and pulse it down on the chop dial. You do not want a puree here, but you want it somewhat course. When everything is broken down, remove the blade and whisk in your olive oil. Give a taste, and adjust any salt or pepper as needed. Right off the bat you get a great punch of garlic and cilantro, and some of the sweet and spice of the peppadews. Pour into a bowl and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
Take your meat out, and let it come to room temperature as you fire up your grill, or in my case my grill and smoker combination. Get your coals nice and hot. I believe in using charcoal with this type of meat as it gives it that smokey flavor you should be seeking. Your grill should register around 400 degrees before placing your tri-tip.
Once your grill is ready, add the tri-tip, and cover. Cook for about 40-50 minutes, or until the meat registers around 130 to 135 degrees. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the handful of soaked cherry wood chips to the coals, covering, and let the tri-tip get a nice hit of the cherry smoke. Just this little bit of smoke adds some really great flavor to the steak.
Remove the steak, and place in a pan to let rest, tenting it with foil. This rest time will allow all of the juices to remain in the steak, while bringing the temperature of the steak up to a medium heat, which I think is the best temperature to eat good meat. So after letting the tri-tip rest for about 20 minutes, begin to slice the meat, against the grain, into about one inch slices.
Place a few strips of the tri-tip onto a plate and generously drizzle with the cilantro chimichurri sauce. I am not kidding when I say every bite is packed full of phenomenal flavor. You get a bit of the smoked cherry in the tri-tip with the awesome flavors garlic, rosemary, and cilantro. As my wife and I sat there and ate the slices of meat, we were just blow away by the complexity of really simple ingredients, not only that but the steak itself was just so tender and delicious.
So if you cannot locate a tri-tip, give Branch Ranch Natural a shot, or ask your local butcher for a nice two pound cut of the bottom sirloin. You will be thankful that you did. Enjoy.