|Slicing up the finished and rested Tri-tip|
I moved down here to California and found tri-tip on menus everywhere. Remembering my friends fabulous descriptions, I gave it a try. Now I'm hooked, like seriously addicted. My favorite happens to be the sandwich served up Wednesdays and Saturdays at the local airport cafe. Sounds like a strange place to find good BBQ, I know. But as my husband, an aviator, will tell you, sometimes the small airport restaurants have the best food and this place is no exception. You can sit at a table outside and watch the airplanes taking off and landing while the cook stands grilling several tri-tips over a wood-fired grill right in front of you. It's a cool way to spend an afternoon. And the place is always packed on tri-tip days. I learned the secret is simple seasoning- garlic, salt and pepper- and the smoke of some oak wood as the meat grills. The end result is truly something special.
Santa Maria Style Grilled Tri-tip
a 2 1/2 to 3 lb trip-tip steak
1 large head garlic
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 cups hardwood chips- preferably oak (you can get these in bags in the grill section of your local hardware store, Target, or WalMart)
|The marinade ingredients|
In a food processor, place the peeled garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Blend until you have a thick paste. Alternately, you can chop the garlic by hand, use a mortar and pestle, or even grate the garlic with a fine grater if you don't have a food processor. Your goal is to get the garlic as fine as possible so that you can spread it over the meat. Poke the meat all over with a fork, then rub your garlic paste all over the tri-tip. Wrap it in plastic wrap, or place in a zip top bag and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.
|The tri-tip is ready to relax in the fridge and soak up all that garlic|
|The tri-tip is searing on the grill|
|The resting tri-tip|
Grill the tri-tip for about another 20 minutes. The meat will be medium-rare to medium (130 degrees if you're using a thermometer). Remove it from the grill and let it rest for 15 minutes. If you cut into it too soon, all the juices will run out of the meat and it will be dry. Once it's rested, slice the meat into very thin slices and serve. If you'd like, you can turn it into a tasty sandwich with some toasted bread and the secret sauce from my favorite airport cafe- mix 1/4 cup mayo with about 2 tbs of the darkest, zestiest BBQ sauce you can kind. That's my kind of sandwich.
|Tri-tip sandwich a la Waypoint Cafe|