Over the past two years, I have been hearing more and more about the cut of meat called the Tri-Tip. Come to find out, it's popular on the west coast, predominately in California where there is the "Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip". It is also a difficult to find the cut on the east coast. The Tri-Tip is the bottom area of the sirloin, which is near the hindquarters (I love that word) of the animal. So when I was at my neighborhood grocery store and saw one of these babies in the beef section and on sale, I had to pull the trigger. Now how do you cook this triangle-shaped cut of meat with a large, beautiful fat section on one side? I immediately went to the old stand-by: the cast iron skillet. This skillet in particular hails from the town of Chewelah and was my great grandmother's. My grandmama used it and now it has come to me, which I think is really cool. Especially because the seasoning on it is incredible!!!
I decided that I would do a southwestern-style Tri-Tip, meaning that I would put on a dry rub and let the steak sit for a good 4 - 6 hours at room temperature. The rub that I used was "Joe's Rub", which will be posted after I receive his permission...I don't want to get rubbed out over someones secret rub recipe. So, I applied the rub and brought the steak to room temperature and let it sit...
I also had another bridge to cross: since this meat is being roasted in a cast iron skillet, there are going to be great pan drippings for a sauce! Since the rub was Southwestern, I decided on a chipotle-shallot sauce.
- 2 chipotle chilies in Adobo
- 2 Tblspn. butter
- 1 large shallot
- 1/2 clove of garlic
- 1 - 2 Tblspn. all-purpose flour
- 1/4 stock
- 1/4 cup cream
- salt and pepper
Now that the steak has sat for a few hours with the rub and you have everything prepared, it is time for the moment of truth: Browning the steak and then into a very hot oven to roast. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, oil the cast iron skillet, and turn up the heat and heat skillet until the pan is almost smoking. Put the steak in, fat-side down into the skillet and let it brown for about 4 minutes. Watch it though because you do not want it to burn. Turn the steak over with tongs and brown the other side. When the steak has been browned on both sides, roughly 4 minutes per side, take the pan and put it in the oven with the rack in the middle. Set the timer and roast for about 20 minutes or until internal temperature has reached 120 degrees for medium rare (I cook EVERYTHING on the rare side).
Once the time is up or it has come up to temperature, take it out of the oven, remove the steak from the pan and put it on a platter. Cover it tightly with foil and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Now you can make the chipotle-shallot sauce. Put the same skillet over medium-high heat and add the butter and let it melt. Add shallot and garlic and cook 2 - 3 minutes. Coarsely chop the pepper and get a little sauce from the can as well and add it to the pan with the shallot and garlic and continue to cook. Dust the garlic, shallot, and chipotle with the flour and stir to make a roux. Cook this for another 2 minutes or so. Add the stock and continue to cook until about 1/2 the stock has reduced, then add the cream and reduce that as well, by about half. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The gravy should taste a little spicy and rich and should look something like this:
Un-tent the the Trip Tip and place it on a cutting board.
Cut the Tri-Tip into thin slices and serve with the sauce drizzled over top of it.
Something good to go with the Tri-Tip is a poblano chili gratin that I made up. I layered Yukon Gold potatoes, roasted pablano chilies, and Jack cheese, added salt and pepper, and then poured about 3/4 cup of cream over it and baked it in the same 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes. This is what it came out like:
Unfortunately, I do not have a final picture because it was so damn good that we ate it all!! I made this one up in my head and I have to say that is was one of my personal top three of all time. My wife agreed. Try a Tri-Tip and you won't be disappointed!!!