Sunday, June 24, 2007


I have a pretty good recipe for BBQ tri-tip. The trick is in the marinade, combined with the technique that combines grilling and roasting (in foil).

Any healthy human male should have the following basic materials available before attempting to BBQ anything:
  • A BBQ. A charcoal BBQ is preferred. If you'd like to take the easy way out, I guess a gas grill will do as well.
  • A grilling glove. I use an old leather glove with a duct taped thumb. For many many years I suffered without the glove. I would try to quickly turn and position things on the grill before my knuckles received second degree burns. Now I can take my time and position stuff with the care it deserves.
  • A chimney starter. The most "high tech" weapon in my BBQ arsenal and definitely worth the money. No more false starts. Always a good start every time. Most important I can work backwards from the time I'd like to serve and know exactly when I need to start.
  • Medium length BBQ tongs. Too long is hard to manage, too short and one risks burning oneself. Use the glove. ;-)
To prepare the tri-tip, you'll need the following:
  • One medium sized tri-tip roast. Untrimmed.
  • Pappy's BBQ rub seasoning. Or the rub of your choice.
  • Bottle red wine. The darker the better. I like an el-cheapo Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Bottle worchestershire sauce
  • 2 Bottles (or cans) el-cheapo beer
  • Large zip-loc freezer bag
  • Aluminum foil.
Poor about 1/2 cup beer and 1/2 cup wine into freezer bag. Poor in about 1/4 cup worchestershire sauce. Mix in 2 tablespoons Pappy's rub. If you're not using a rub, use liberal amounts of salt, black pepper, a clove of crushed garlic and a chopped onion. Drop in the roast. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag. Drink the other beer. Let marinade for anywhere from 2 hours (unrefrigerated) to 5 days (refrigerated). Pat dry before BBQ.


Bring the BBQ to a scorching 450 degrees. Apply the tri-tip directly over the heart of the coals. Burn it fat side first. Cover and let it rip until it catches fire or 10 minutes--whichever comes first. Don't worry about burning the fat--it's going to be trimmed off before serving anyway. Turn and grill the other side for another 10 minutes. Move the meat a couple of times for approriate grill marks if you'd like. But err on the side of leaving the meat alone, covered, rather than messing with it every few minutes.

At this point the meat is receiving most of the "BBQ" flavor it will have. If you'd like a smokey, BBQ char, go ahead and move the meat off the center of the heat and let it cook for another ten minutes or more. The trade off here is going to be tenderness and juiciness. The more you grill the meat naked rather than roasting it in the foil, the more it'll dry out. If you wrap it up too early, you're going to get a pale roast (and you might as well be using an oven).

When ready, prepare three or four extra long sheets of aluminum foil next to the grill. Take off the tri-tip and position at one end of the foil. Sprinkle another tablespoon or so of Pappy's on the top of the tri-tip and some on the foil. Wrap the tri-tip tightly in the foil. Ideally, you will end up with a water tight seal around the meat. Use lots of foil. Replace the tri-tip on the grill well to the side of the heat.

Continue to roast the tri tip for another 15-20 minutes per side. This is usually when I grill whatever vegetables my wife insists on, or grill additional meat such as chicken or sausages. Of course, the trick to good grilling is to leave the lid closed as much as possible. I fret most over the positioning of things in relation to the heat such that I can leave the lid close as long as possible without (say) a chicken leg catching fire.

Pull the meat off and let it rest for 15-20 minutes before cutting it. Our last BBQ featured the tri-tip, sausages, grilled corn, baked potato, and fried zucchini all followed by homemade ice cream. It was a feast.


Blogger Sean-Paul said...

I think the foil-op is called a braise. I'm not entirely sure that what you're doing is technically a braise, but I think it might be very similar.

11:08 PM  
Blogger brent said...

I am also a big fan of chimney starters. At the dollar store a few years ago they had stacks of them, so I was feeling magnanimous and bought a load to distribute to friends and relatives.

BBQing in Reedley has never been the same.

11:38 PM  

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