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Old 07-14-2007, 09:37 AM   #1
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Here in Virginia the term Tri Tip never comes up. Heck I had to see them cooked on TV out in California before I knew they existed.

What exact cut are they and how do I cook them once I find some?

Thanks guys
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Old 07-14-2007, 09:53 AM   #2
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http://www.bbq-4-u.com/viewtopic.php?t= ... ght=tritip
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Old 07-14-2007, 10:15 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Hedrick
Here in Virginia the term Tri Tip never comes up. Heck I had to see them cooked on TV out in California before I knew they existed.

What exact cut are they and how do I cook them once I find some?

Thanks guys
Mike, if you check with a good meat cutter they should be able to hook you up. I got 15lbs of tri tip from the guy I deal with. Got 5 roasts out of it.

Here are some pics. http://www.bbq-4-u.com/viewtopic.php?t= ... ht=tri+tip
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Old 07-14-2007, 10:44 AM   #4
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It's the end of the bottom sirloin. They call it "triangle roast" in the midwest and parts of the south. Not sure what they call it in Virginia. The UPC number is 1429 and IMPS/NAMP code is 185C. That'll impress the hell out of your butcher.

There are only two tri tips on a carcass. Not enough to display in a case. Butchers didn't know how to market them and threw them in the grindings or the cubes.

Tri-tip is naturally tender when cooked and carved right. Choice is almost as good as Prime, but Select is problematic. Black Angus, as always, adds another very pleasant dimension. It is a steak, not a brisket. Go ahead and trim the fat all the way off. It will come off easily without taking any meat with it.

I hate the whole "Santa Maria" name thing. I spent my early childhood around there a couple of valleys to the south -- the Lompoc and Santa Ynez valleys. I can tell you there's nothing they were doing in Santa Maria they weren't doing in the other central coastal valleys. Also, "tri-tip" was not discovered in Santa Maria in the fifties. I don't care how often it's posted on the internet. It was in the coastal valleys during WWII, and probably before too. If nothing else though, the shortages of the forties made it worthwhile to put everything in the display case. After the war, wholesale slaughter operations changed the way meat was packed and shipped in the west.

The Sunset Magazine article that garbled the discovery story had a lot more to do with making it popular throughout the west than anything that ever happened in Santa Maria. Thank you for letting me get THAT off my chest.

It's the perfect meat for that "Santa Maria" style grill you have. The preferred fuel is oak. Live oak is better than red oak, and red oak better than white oak, and white oak better than any other wood, and wood better than charcoal, and lump better than briquette and now we're into familiar territory.

After you trim, marinate iit in a couple of tbs each red wine and worcestershire sauce. If you're an anarchist hippy you could add a tbs of EVOO. If you're a total right winger, substitute bourbon for thw wine. Whatever. Keep the total volume of liquid down, you want to moisten the surface, not drown the steak.

Turn every 10 minutes. After 20 mintures the marinade will thicken into a syrup -- which is what you want. You can pour off the excess marinade and rub or continue marinating for as long as over night if you want penetration. The syrup that stays with the surface of the meat will make an excellent base for the rub.

Rub generously with the following blend:
4 tbs Morton kosher salt or 6 tbs Diamond kosher salt
2 tbs California (mild) chili powder, or 1-1/2 tbs mild and 1 tsp hot paprika
1-1/2 tbs freshly cracked black pepper
1 tbs granulated onion powder
1 tbs granulated garlic
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp thyme
NO GODDAMN SUGAR

You want hot coals and a fair amount of distance between the cooking grate and the coals. You're looking for a grill temp just below 500, which is just below max on a decent home stove broiler. This method and temperature splits the difference between smoking and grilling.

Never cook tri-tip beyond medium rare, or I'll fly over to Virginia and shoot you myself. I mean really. Have some respect. Allow a 7 to 12 minute rest. Do not rest too long, or the steak will not only be cold it will lose it's texture. For God's sake, no 45 minute holds in a dry cooler, either.

Always carve across the grain or the meat will be tough. However, carved against the grain the meat is tender and not nearly as dense as brisket flat. Consequently you don't need to carve quite as thin. 1/2" to 3/4" is fine.

Tri-tip is the most flavorful of all of the steak cuts, with the possible exception of "flat iron." Side as you like, but the traditional Santa Ynez Valley sides are pinquito or pinto beans de la olla (not refried), Danish cucumber salad (go figure!), and sourdough bread. A real-deal Caesar salad is a nice touch.

Sauce as you like, but I recommend staying away from anything too sweet. I make a traditional bordelaize which I enrich with a little ketchup and worcestershire so it's more cue-esque. I don't know why I mentioned it, what are the odds?

Salsas are very good instead of sauces. If Herdez Salsa Verde in the can (the bottled is different) is available to you, it's damn near perfect. Otherwise make a pico de gallo (in French, a mignonette). If only a "barbecue" sauce will do, mix 1/2 cup Homade Chili Sauce (little round bottle) with 2 tbs worcestershire sauce and 2 tbs balsamic vinegar, and add a tsp of Tabasco Chipotle. That'll do 'er.

Merlots, especially affordable Merlots, are too soft and lack sufficient character for beef this intense. You can partner this with as big a wine as you like such as Pinot or Cab, but a decent Zinfandel or a blend built around Zin like "Big House Red" or "?" (a lot of Barbera in that one) won't break the bank. If you're sick and tired of all the Californicating around this cut you could try a Shiraz or a Rioja.

FWIW, the best part of the top sirloin (top block) can be cut to the same thickness (more than 2", less than 3"), then prepared and cooked in the same way. Indeed, it is the traditionally preferred cut for this kind of barbecue. Tri-tip came into its own during the meat rationing of WWII. Top has slightly less flavor, but is a bit more tender than tri. There aren't any rules about carving a top, because top doesn't have a grain. The intelligent choice is to use the cheaper.

There are a million ways to skin a cat, no doubt. This is one of the very best ways to cook a tri.

Rich
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Old 07-14-2007, 10:53 AM   #5
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NO GODDAM SUGAR,
You tell em Rich great reply too
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Old 07-14-2007, 11:27 AM   #6
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I will thump you with my 9 iron if you EVER smoke a tri tip

Boar...I am a Lompoc native *sigh*

Added bonus I found this morning:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/07/ ... 8450.shtml
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Old 07-14-2007, 11:49 AM   #7
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Bri it's not bad smoked. The texture is different because your not searing it. Still alot of flavor though.
I do like grilling it better than smoking. The WRB goes great on it smoked or grilled Good luck and take pics
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Old 07-14-2007, 12:11 PM   #8
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Helen,

I noticed you were from around Santa Barabra.

I take it the pinquito beans and cucumber salad thing is ringing a bell. How weird is Danexican? When I served the combination to friends the first time I'd get looks, but no complaints! Damn, I haven't seen a pinquito in decades.

Best tri-tip I ever had was a sandwich at a gas station (no longer there) on the highway between Santa Ynez and Solvang, across from what's now the entrance to the casino. Must have been '85 or so. Guy was cooking 'em old school -- a big mofo grill with a live oak fire, and the meat way up over the fire spitted on rods. No grate. (Are you old enough to remember the rods? I think they used to have them for the top sirloins at the Hitching Post in Casmalia, and at some of the Elks Clubs around the valleys too.) This guy was doing such good business he had two Weber kettles going just to keep the rolls warm. He had a choice of Safeway Hickory Barbecue Sauce or a home brew -- mayo, horseradish, and some salsa. Meat was so good Harris Ranch was ordering delivery.

Besides, Lompoc is better than Santa Maria. At least you don't have to pretend you invented the freaking cow. "Oh ya! Dat was ol' Bob from over at da Safeway back in the fifties that he invented that cow thing. Up 'til den, dey all ate goats y'know." Please.

On Edit: About that article from CBS: It's amazing how much they managed to get so very wrong. Once again the myths in that old Sunset Magazine article are perpetuated. When did Santa Maria manage to get to Northern California? You make pinquito beans with canned pinto beans? The Californios only barbecued in the Santa Maria? And then, only at round up? They tell you tri-tip is traditionally slow smoked, but the recipe is for a hot grill? It's just silly. I think Bob Vigueres (the guy that started the "tri-tip was discovered at the Safeway by me" story) has passed away, but I'll bet he's laughing and drinking a beer to that old myth in a better place. Speaking of old timers, any chance you knew Jake Copas? Cowboy poet and wrangler to the dudes extrodinaire" I once got drunk with him and Bob at the Union Hotel.

Friends don't let friends smoke tri-tip,
Rich
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Old 07-14-2007, 12:48 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by boar_d_laze
Helen,

I noticed you were from around Santa Barabra.

I take it the pinquito beans and cucumber salad thing is ringing a bell. How weird is Danexican? When I served the combination to friends the first time I'd get looks, but no complaints! Damn, I haven't seen a pinquito in decades.

Best tri-tip I ever had was a sandwich at a gas station (no longer there) on the highway between Santa Ynez and Solvang, across from what's now the entrance to the casino. Must have been '85 or so. Guy was cooking 'em old school -- a big mofo grill with a live oak fire, and the meat way up over the fire spitted on rods. No grate. (Are you old enough to remember the rods? I think they used to have them for the top sirloins at the Hitching Post in Casmalia, and at some of the Elks Clubs around the valleys too.) This guy was doing such good business he had two Weber kettles going just to keep the rolls warm. He had a choice of Safeway Hickory Barbecue Sauce or a home brew -- mayo, horseradish, and some salsa. Meat was so good Harris Ranch was ordering delivery.

Besides, Lompoc is better than Santa Maria. At least you don't have to pretend you invented the freaking cow. "Oh ya! Dat was ol' Bob from over at da Safeway back in the fifties that he invented that cow thing. Up 'til den, dey all ate goats y'know." Please.

Friends don't let friends smoke tri-tip,
Rich
The cucumber salad does not ring a bell at all, actually first time I have ever heard of it along with tri tip, never seen it either. Pinquito beans, bread, salsa, and the green salad are what I am used to. I grew up eating tri tip made at our family friend's backyard on his brick SMS grill and all the roadside stuff (Elks) on the weekends. I'm a young pup (shush Puff) so...things could be different now. When was the last time you were in the area? The best TT sandwhich, I think, is in Ballard at some random kwik stop. Circle Bar B guest ranch serves up a good meal too, it's off Refugio Road. 1985...I was in 3rd grade! I'll stop here...cause I'll just ramble on.
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Old 07-14-2007, 01:29 PM   #10
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The cucumber thing may have been strictly Solvang. The Danish stuff used to be real, not limited to Slovang but diffused throughout the valleys with Solvang as its hub. I'm (barely) old enough to remember working cowboys with Danish accents in the Lompoc Valley. Back in the day, the Lompoc Valley was cattle, diatemacious erath and flowers. So many flowers. Burpee had a lot more land back then.

The last time I spent more than a couple of hours in the area was summer of 2006 when I spent a week at the Alisal with my (grown) kids, riding and drinking. We did at least one week a summer all through the eighties and nineties at the Alisal, plus stayed with friends who are no longer there or no longer living in the general area.

Speaking of drinking, that was another irritation in that article. Traditional Santa Maria Valley wines, my ass! That was all cattle forever up there. They didn't even start putting vines in until the eighties. When you were in the third grade. Which makes you about four years older than my oldest.

Random kwik step in Ballard sounds about right. No doubt after visiting the miniature horses.

Rich
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