Love ribeyes? For a low-cost, lower fat option try tri-tips
I feel like the Grand Valley has been on a roller coaster of seasonal change the past few weeks. I know warmer temps are just around the bend, even if we are under a blanket of icy hail. The last day of school is upon us and energy is high. Patio furniture is out, the lawn is mowed, pools are open, the barbeque is ready, so let’s move on. Bring on summer already!
Along with warmer temperatures naturally comes the joy of grilling. I anticipate hosting many fun summer gatherings. It may seem premature, but I am already thinking of fresh, yet minimally effortless, menus so that we may enjoy the summer’s bounty with friends and family. I am visualizing backyard flower bouquets, icy drinks in mason jars, aromas of the hot grill, festive music and jovial spirits.
All that said, cooking for a gathering can be overwhelming for even well-seasoned entertainers. For me, the idea always sounds grand initially, then the reality of all the details settles in and it can become quite daunting.
At the top of my list of crowd pleasers is grilled tri-tip. Tri-tip roast, aka tri-tip steak, bottom sirloin roast, or triangle steak, is an excellent choice for a planned group event or for a last-minute gathering. Without question, tri-tip is one my favorite cuts of beef. I know there are readers out there who will cringe when they read this, but hear me out. I am well aware of the attention filet mignon and ribeye steaks receive. But when you are looking for versatility, and want to impress, the tri-tip should not be overlooked.
For many years, the tri-tip cut of beef was removed from the bottom sirloin and simply mixed in with other random cuts of beef, processed and sold as ground beef. The debate is arguable, but at some point in time, prior to the 1950s, it was discovered if left intact and roasted to medium rare, the tri-tip cut of beef resulted in a mouthwatering tender choice. (I am having a hard time typing this without salivating).
Its origin is most known for being served in prime restaurants in Southern California as the Santa Maria steak. Seasoned simply with a rub of fresh garlic, salt and fresh cracked black pepper, char-grilled to medium rare and thinly sliced on the bias against the grain, the resulting tender steak became extremely popular for good reason.
In my opinion, grilled tri-tip never disappoints. Tri-tip is an affordable, surprisingly lower fat, high-quality selection of beef that is simple to prepare, and can easily feed a crowd. It is naturally more lean than other cuts and when cooked to medium rare will satisfy any meat lover.
Each butchered steer produces two tri-tip cuts averaging 2-3 pounds each. Tri-tip roasts are triangular in shape, having one exceptionally thick end and one thinner end which comes to a point. The odd shape of the tri-tip is actually a blessing in that if you have mixed preferences of cooking temperatures you can easily divide the steak up to satisfy the rare temp lovers (like me) and the well-done lovers (like my in-laws).
Simply seasoned and grilled, served alongside a green salad and a grain or a starch, and you are set. No worries. The menu is complete. Just hope for leftovers.
For a group of 10 or so, I normally purchase two tri-tips knowing when the meat is done and sliced thinly against the grain I can stretch my quantity without compromising quality. Step aside ribeyes, I don’t want break the bank, I just want to impress.
I am completely content with simple seasoning and serving, however I have come to love the complimentary flavors of an herbaceous chimichurri sauce with grilled tri-tip. The sauce can turn your great grilled steak into an amazing steak. Chimichurri is a simple, uncooked, tangy green sauce that can be easily prepared days in advance or made on the spot while your steak is grilling. Either way, it will marry wonderfully with your meal. Enjoy and bring on summer grilling!