14 July 2009

Buffalo Tri-tip

Raw tri-tip

Here's a new one. Tri-tip is a loin steak cut that in most parts of North America gets turned into ground beef. In California, it's very popular salted and grilled. We'd never had it before, so when I was browsing for my weekend hunk o' meat and saw a buffalo tri-tip, you know I had to get it (even though it wasn't the bright red I might hope for, it still looked exciting - I'm not sure if that's because it's buffalo or because it's a day or two old).

Tri-tip gets its name from its triangular shape that tapers off to a point. This is a perfect cut of meat for families that want their steak cooked differently, as that tapering shape allows some parts of the steak to be medium-rare while the other end is medium-well.

Well, given that I've been test driving Adam Perry Lang's Serious Barbecue, I decided to use the buffalo tri-tip in a modification of Lang's tri-tip with honey-garlic glaze. Here we go:

This book uses multiple flavour layers on the different meats. This recipe has a paste, a seasoning powder, a glaze and a finishing dressing. Oh yeah, baby!

Tri-tip seasoning paste

Start with the paste:
¼ cup mild chile powder - I used a mixture of ancho and chipotle - yes, I know chipotles aren't really mild, but I ran out of ancho, and we don't mind spice here.
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp beef bouillon (he calls for beef base paste, but I haven't gotten any yet, so I use the cheap stuff)
Thirty minutes before cooktime, mix that goop into a nice paste, as shown above. And now massage it into the meat. It'll take a couple minutes, but it'll make a nice schmear all over the surface of the meat.

Tri-tip covered in paste

Now the seasoning powder:
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp lemon pepper
1 tbsp coarsely ground fresh black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Oh yeah! More pepper!

Tri-tip seasoning

Now sprinkle that good stuff all over the paste on the meat.

Tri-tip seasoned

Now let the meat warm up a bit. For steak, given that you won't be cooking that long, you don't want the pink parts to be cold, so I let it warm up for about half an hour before cooking. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze.
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp crushed hot red pepper flakes
¼ cup apple juice
½ cup honey
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
5 garlic cloves, chopped finely
4 tbsp butter
Heat all the parts of the glaze in a pan for a few minutes, just long enough to melt the butter. It'll make a completely disgusting-looking shouldn't-ever-be-photographed mess. Kinda like this:

Buffalo tri-tip glaze

That's congealed bits o' butter in there. Yum! Julia Child would be proud! (Fun fact - the word butter appears nowhere in the Wikipedia's Julia Child page. For shame!)

Okay. So get your grill screaming hot, but only on one side. You're using direct AND indirect heat today. Place the pasted and seasoned buffalo tri-tip on the grill, and sear both sides - about 2 ½ minutes per side.

Tri-tip on grill

After you've seared both sides, slide the meat over so that it's not directly over the fire, and paint it with that yummy glaze. Close up the grill, and cook with indirect heat (photo below is from right before moving it to indirect heat).

Finishing the tri-tip

Now cook the meat for 10 minutes with the lid closed. Meanwhile, make the finishing dressing:
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lime zest
1 tbsp lime juice
¼ cup finely chopped chives
fleur de sel
At the end of the ten minutes, open up the grill and reapply the glaze. Close up the grill one more time, and cook 6 minutes for rare, 7 minutes for medium and 9 minutes for well-done (adjust as per heat of your grill). Remove from the grill, and let rest on your cutting board 5 minutes or so. Paint on the finishing dressing, sprinkle on the fleur de sel, slice and serve.

Our good camera ran out of battery juice, so I only have this shot of the tri-tip:

Medium tri-tip

It was DELICIOUS. Tender. Juicy. Spicy. My wife says she need never have another kind of steak. And it's a pretty cheap cut of steak (the buffalo tri-tip was only $5 a lb, I imagine beef would be even cheaper). This is an easy preparation, if I'd had the spices mixed ahead of time, we could have even prepared this dinner after work and still had time to get our 3-year old in bed.

Highly recommended.

Served with:
The Zin with the tri-tip


Stacey said...

This looks delicious. I am definitely going to have to try this recipe for seasoning.

Bbq Dude said...

It was delicious, and the leftovers were fantastic on sandwiches the following day.

Alisa@Foodista said...

Now that is awesome and look at the juices on that meat...beautiful!I found you on the foodieblogroll and I'd love to guide our readers to your site if you won't mind.Just add your choice of foodista widget to this post and it's all set to go, Thanks!

outdoorgriller said...

That looks like a tasty tri-tip. I like the rub you put on it. If you would like to see the collection of tips and recipes I have for grilling you can visit www.cookingandgrillinoutdoors.com

Anonymous said...

buffalo tri-tip is awesome. it has a chewier texture than beef tri-tip (but regular beef can be somewhat spongey anyway), with ruby-red color and a real taste of meat that you won't forget.

Anonymous said...

Great job this is an excellent recipe.

I am currently cooking my 2nd one of these right now. First one turned out extremely well.

Well done on the blog and some great recipes... going to try some more.

Bbq Dude said...

Glad you enjoy this recipe. It's one of my favourites, though I haven't done it in a while... Please enjoy Indirect Heat.

Robin said...

Cooked it tonight for our guests. They loved it. The Finishing suace was awesome. I used a Vindaloo curry paste as my "rub", and followed your recipe for the rest. We were probably the only people eating Buffalo in Hawaii tonight. Thanks for the great blog!

Bbq Dude said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Robin. This is one of our favourites.

Allison said...

I made this last year for a family BBQ - it was absolutely amazing! We are BBQ'ing for about 100 people over Memorial Day weekend and this IS on our menu. Thanks for sharing it and wish us luck!!

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