The Wagyu tri-tip, recently added to our website selection, is a flavorful cut from the bottom sirloin. This lean cut is little known, but much appreciated by those in the know. When it comes from Wagyu cattle, with their propensity to intramuscular marbling, the tri-tip offers a tenderness beyond what you can expect from Angus beef.
Try it grilled whole, then sliced thin against the grain. Or cube it for kabobs or chili; cut into strips for stir frys or fajitas. Think of it as an alternative to skirt steak. Tri-tip is the cut used in Santa Maria style barbecue, a specialty of central California.
Tri-tip, or Santa Maria roast, will feed a small crowd quickly – cooking time in most cases is just 20 minutes. In this recipe we give it a tasty spice rub and finish it with Romesco sauce, pesto’s slightly sexier Spanish cousin, that’s just as easy to make.
1 Wagyu Beef Tri Tip
FOR THE RUB
- 1 tablespoon finely ground coffee
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
FOR THE SAUCE
- 2 large roasted red peppers in olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic
- ½ cup Marcona almonds
- ¼ cup tomato purée
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Remove tri tip from the refrigerator about an hour before cooking. Trim excess silver skin. Make a note of how the grain of the meat runs. In tri tip, the direction of the grain may change; after cooking make sure to cut against the grain. Season both sides with kosher salt.
- In a small bowl, stir together coffee, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, chipotle powder, and pepper until well mixed. Liberally season both sides of the tri tip with the rub.
- TO GRILL: preheat a charcoal or gas grill to high. Place tri tip over direct heat and cook for about 5-6 minutes, flip and cook about 5-6 minutes more. Then lower gas to medium, or move the meat to a cooler part of the charcoal grill. Turn meat again and cook another 7-8 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 130 degrees F for medium-rare. A 2-pound Wagyu tri tip will require approximately 18-20 minutes total grilling time. Rest roast on a cutting board for 10-20 minutes. Proceed to step 5.
- TO PAN-ROAST: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat 2 tablespoons of neutral oil in a heavy, oven-safe pan (we like cast iron) over high heat until nearly smoking. Add tri tip to pan and immediately reduce heat to medium-high. Sear for about 4 minutes then flip and put pan into the preheated oven. Roast for about 15 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 130 degrees F for medium-rare. Rest roast on a cutting board for 10-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile make the sauce: To the bowl of a food processor add red peppers, garlic, almonds, tomato purée, parsley, vinegar, paprika, and cayenne. Pulse until very finely chopped. With the processor running, slowly add in olive oil; process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Slice tri tip against the grain and serve with romesco sauce.
Recipe Notes: Romesco can be made several days in advance; store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use. Leftover sauce is delicious on grilled vegetables, buffalo, venison, wild boar, tossed with pasta, or even in a sandwich.