When I moved up here to Minnesota I never would have thought we’d end up selling Tri-tip steak.
I’d eaten plenty of Tri-Tip during my stint in Northern California, but had heard nary a peep about it before or since. But a funny thing happened in the midst of farmers-market season; people started asking for Tri-tip.
We were all to happy to oblige folks, getting the butcher to cut the Tri-tips out for us was no big deal. We had to quit offering the Sirloin-tip roast (it’s the same cut of meat, you can’t have both) but it did give us an extra steak to offer. Better yet, people bought them.
So fast forward a few months, and we finally got the opportunity to try one of our own Tri-tip steaks. This being the dead of winter, we don’t have to worry so much about eating our inventory down.
But how to cook a Tri-tip? Like any of the flat steaks (skirt, flank, hanger) they can be a bit tough, so it’s best to marinate them. We marinated the steak overnight in a mix of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and a few other spices.
After that it’s onto a screaming-hot grill to sear for a minute on each side, followed by about 5 minutes per side at medium heat. I swear that this steak started out about one inch thick, but it just kept getting thicker as it cooked. By the time it was done it had shrunk a bit laterally, but it came off the grill at nearly 2″ thick. Odd. My best guess is that it’s a quirk of the layout of the tri-tip muscle.
Anyway, to make it Nor-Cal authentic, the tri-tip must be thinly sliced and served on toasted garlic bread.
True to form, the tri-tip has the strong “beefy” flavor to stand up to a marinade that might overpower a more delicate steak. If marinades, fajitas or grilling are your game, then the tri-tip is your new BFF.
It was truly delicious, but no matter what the Californians claim, this does not qualify as barbeque.