a home cook with notions & an appetite
The santa maria-style tri-tip was a two day affair, but with really short steps on both days.
Tri-tip is a cut even your mega-mart butcher will probably have on-hand. Don’t worry if it isn’t in the case. It comes from the bottom of a whole sirloin and is usually ends up in ground meat if no one asks. If they have a whole sirloin thawed and an experienced butcher available, they’ll sell you the cut. I’ve also seen a pre-seasoned version that’s sold at Trader Joe’s that’s pretty close to this recipe. We got ours at Carfagna’s.
The ingredients for this recipe (taken on day 2, so step one was already partly done):
Back to day one prep. Here was my super-hard work (hah!). I trimmed the the tri-tip of its silver fat. Fat is normally not a bad thing (relative) with meat, as it will get all melty and tasty, but there is one kind that will never melt or be tasty. It’s silver. It will be chewy and tough forever and ever and ever. Therefore, it must be trimmed. Consider this one of the rare cases where shiny =/= awesome.
With bad fat gone, I combined the salt, pepper, Piment d’Espelette and paprika and made a rub. I rubbed this over meat, I wrapped meat in plastic wrap. Into the fridge for 24 hours it went:
The next day, husband got home from work and took meat out of fridge and let it rest for 2 hours. (Keller’s fanatical about cooking with room-temperature meat.)
There’s a step with a hot pan and canola oil, butter, rosemary, garlic and lemon slices and a seared tri-tip steak. No pictures. Picture meat with assorted herbs sizzling and getting browned.
Now we put the meat on a cooling rack on a baking sheet cover the meat with sliced lemon.
Into a 300° oven the meat goes until it gets to 135° inside. This step took over 45 minutes but less than an hour. After this, the meat rested for half an hour so the juices could redistribute (our over-the range microwave is warmer, so we let it rest there in order to avoid going cold). This also meant the internal temperature would hit medium-rare.
The taste? Simple and really good. You can easily prep this while making something else and have a dinner ready to start the next night.