This was my first tri tip experience. Our typical meaty go to is marinated and grilled flank steak, but to find it grass fed and somewhat local is a task. They are priced about the same, 2 lbs of grass fed for about $24.00, which served along other side dishes will feed about 3-4 people. I loved the cooking method as it was out of the ordinary for me and the taste was fabulous! The tender meat combined with the spicy and bold flavors of the rub was amazing. I’ll be stocking up on tri tip in the future and experimenting with different dry rubs and serving ideas.
For this dry rub I used a generous amount of sea salt, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cilantro, hot pepper flakes, and freshly ground pepper.
I had to Google how to prepare a tri tip. Ha! The method made me a little nervous because I didn’t want to end up with a tough, grainy, chunk of meat. Tri tips are thick and grass fed meat isn’t very fatty and doesn’t provide a lot of marbling for tenderness. Thankfully, it all went well and was so fabulous I’ve been thinking we may need another one this week.
It’s important to pay attention to the natural direction of the grain prior to coating with the rub and cooking. My hand is pointed in the natural direction of the grain.
The secret to enjoying certain types of meats that would otherwise be tough, is not only in the preparation but also in how long it rests after it’s been cooked and especially the angle at which it’s cut.
After it’s cooked, you’ll cut it in thin slices against (across) the grain.
Once you’ve trimmed off any large pieces of silver skin, place the meat into a dish prior to coating with the rub.
Then begin sprinkling and patting the rub all over the meat, making sure every nook and cranny is nicely coated. Cover, and place in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours or it can also be prepared a day ahead of cooking.
Remove from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature (or close) for about 30-45 minutes. Set the oven to 450 degrees (I used convection). Heat a dry (don’t add oil) ovenproof pan to medium high/high and sear the meat on both sides until almost blackened. You’ll need a well working stove top fan for this…mine is pitiful so I had to open all the doors and windows for a cross breeze. You can also do this entire cooking process on a grill as long as your grill heats very, very, well and consistent. I started mine off on our grill and was worried it was taking too long and would overcook so moved to the kitchen method instead.
Once it’s seared really well on both sides, put it in the oven for 8-10 minutes. I used convection which cooks faster. 8 minutes with convection will get you medium rare, 10 will get you medium. Of course, the ends are thinner and smaller so they will likely be closer to medium regardless of time. If you’re not using convection, cook for 10 minutes and test with a meat thermometer. For medium rare about 125-130, medium/medium well 135-140. But keep in mind that it will continue cooking for the first few minutes it’s resting, so you may want to take it out a touch sooner than what the thermometer is telling you to do.
Remove from the oven and let rest uncovered for 15-20 minutes.
While the tri tip was cooking and resting, I sauteed some peppers, onions, and garlic for the tacos. When that was done I added black beans and sauteed until the beans were heated through.
Super easy meal from beginning to end. And quick, which you don’t normally experience with a thicker cut of meat. Once the meat has rested, remember to slice thinly against the grain for tenderness.
You can top the tacos with anything you like. Cheese, salsa, whatever sauces you think might go well. I had planned to make a creamy cilantro sauce but then discovered I didn’t have cilantro available like I thought. Next time! Even without a sauce, they were fabulous.
Spicy Tri Tip Tacos
*I’ll give a run down of ingredients. The cooking methods are above with the photos.
1 Tri Tip Roast, they are typically around 2lbs
(The amount of seasoning will vary by your taste and the amount of heat you want.)
These are approximates as I didn’t measure…
2 1/2 teaspoons of Sea Salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Garlic Powder
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Chili Powder
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Cumin
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Oregano
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Cilantro
1 teaspoon of Hot Red Pepper Flakes
Several Grinds of Fresh Peppercorns
2 Bell Peppers
1 Large Red Onion
Chopped Garlic (I used two large cloves)
About 1 teaspoon of Oregano
About 1 teaspoon of Chili Powder
1 Can of Black Beans, rinsed and drained
Avocado Oil for sauteing vegetables