Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Versatile Steak

We eat a lot of beef. It is the preferred protein and everyone has their favorite cut. Hubby prefers the richly marbled New York Strip while I salivate for the perfectly grilled rack of ribs. Munchkin loves it all but especially likes burgers cut into interesting shapes for her to dip.

Unfortunately beef gets pretty spendy, particularly certain cuts. We try to save the favorite (expensive) cuts for treats or special occasions. For everyday we have the handy-dandy tri-tip roast.

The tri-tip is a triangle cut of meat taken from the bottom of the sirloin. It is also called the "triangle steak", the "Santa Maria steak", or the "Newport steak"(depending on what part of the US you are in). The primal cut weighs between 1.5 and 3 pounds, and is about 2 inches thick with good marbling.

Tri-tip roast cut in half with thick outer layer of fat
Ours comes from the butcher with a thick layer of fat but nearly all the ones I've seen at the grocery store come with this fat trimmed off.

What I love about this cut is how multifunctional it is. It can be cooked whole as a roast, sliced into steaks and grilled, chopped into stew meat, ground into burger meat, or slow-cooked for shredded beef. It makes wonderful chili con carne or beef shish kebabs. Having a cut defrosted opens up a world of possibilities, which helps make getting supper on the table easier since I can change the menu without changing the main ingredient.

Roast trimmed of fat and seasoned with dry rub
My favorite way (and the easiest) is to roast the cut whole. I remove the thick outer layer of fat, season heavily with a dry rub, let stand for about an hour to come to room temperature and to marinate, then roast for about 45 minutes. During the summer I throw it on the grill on high for 15 minutes a side and always get a perfect, medium-rare in the middle, well-done on the tips, chunk of beef. Let sit for 20 minutes to re-absorb the juices, slice, and enjoy!

Roasted, rested, and ready to eat

Roasted Beef Tri-Tip
Adapted from Rachel Ray's Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Pepper and Black Olive Sauce

1 beef tri-tip roast, 1.5-2 pounds
4 tablespoons favorite dry rub or 2 tablespoons salt, 1 tablespoon garlic, and 1 tablespoon coarse black pepper (depending on size of roast more seasonings may be needed)

Preheat oven as high as it goes (usually 500 degrees F but may go higher)
Place roast on roasting pan (I use my broiler pan) and put into oven
Bake for 10 minutes. Important-do not open door! There may be some smoke as some of the seasonings blacken
Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and cook for 20-30 minutes*
Remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes
Carve into servings (remember to carve against the grain) and enjoy!

*20 minutes for a 1.5 pounds will result in a medium doneness in the thickest part of the roast. Use a meat thermometer to get the exact doneness you desire: Rare (140 F), Medium-Rare (145 F), Medium (160 F), Medium-Well (165 F), Well Done (170 F). Remember to remove the roast from the oven when its 5 to 10 degrees below the desired doneness as the temperature will rise for a few minutes while resting.

1 comment:

  1. I have never made a tri-tip and now I'm inspired to try it. Got here from facebook Health Bundle Group.