With Erik’s Californian roots he really knows how to grill some great tri-tip! Being from the Chicago area, I never really grew up eating this cut of meat. It can be challenging to find it in this part of the country though we have been having some success at our area Costco. (We LOVE Costco!) But out West, it is very common. ~as those of you who live out West must know! In fact, this past summer we took a family trip out to Cali and travelled down the coast, visiting family and friends. Everywhere we went, Erik chipped in and helped grill up some tri-tip. Tri-tip, coming from the bottom sirloin is tender, flavorful and has enough inter-muscular fat to allow it to be forgiving when grilled. Therefore, even if you grill it a little too long (which Erik never does by the way 😉 ) it will still be moist. However, if you don’t have access to it, you may certainly substitute it with top sirloin.
In this dish, the tri-tip is definitely the star. However, there are two other components to this meal that really send it over the top: Homemade salsa and tortillas. In fact, it would simply be a crime to grill up such great steak and then skimp on either of these. First of all, homemade salsa is pretty standard and not too complicated. Just fresh ingredients and a lot of chopping. But the great result just can’t be ignored. I would far rather leave the steak plain than ruin it by pouring a jar of store bought salsa over it. So it is essential to go the extra mile here! Now let’s talk about tortillas. Until our family trip to California this past summer, I didn’t realize how easy it can be to make your own corn tortillas. The main thing you need is a tortilla press and some masa (corn dough). The process of making them is simple and not too complicated. in fact, once you try them, you will not want to go back to store bought. Trust me!
And the best part of this meal is that it really brings my family together as we prepare it! While Erik is grilling the meat, the kids and I are in the kitchen making the tortillas. They LOVE working the tortilla press! It’s so fun to mash it down on the dough ball and see how thin they can make the tortilla. When it comes to cooking great food together as a family, this is really a great meal to make. I hope you will find time to have some cooking fun with your own family!
- 4 pounds tri-tip
- 1/4 c. olive oil
- 1 TBLS. granulated garlic
- 1 t. kosher salt
- 1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
- 6 roma tomatoes
- 1 small red onion
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 t. salt
- 2 TBLS cilantro
- 1 serrano OR 1 medium jalapeño
- 2 cups of masa flour (I used Maseca)
- 1/4 t. salt
- 1 1/3-1 3/4 c. water (see instructions)
- Place the tri-tip in a large pan. Pour oil over the meat. Mix spices in a small bowl and generously cover each side of the meat with spice blend. Cover the meat and place in the refrigerator for 1-4 hours.
- Prepare grill to high heat and sear each side of the steak, approximately 2 minutes per side. Move meat to indirect heat until internal temperature reads 135 degrees on an instant read thermometer, approximately 10 minutes though grilling time will vary. Place meat in a clean dish, cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Chop the steak to medium dice just prior to serving.
- Remove the tomato cores and seeds and chop medium dice. Chop the onions to small dice. Place diced tomatoes and onions in a medium bowl and squeeze in the juice of the lime and pour in the salt.
- Mince the cilantro and chop the pepper finely after removing the veins and seeds. Add cilantro and pepper to the salsa and mix all ingredients together.
- In a large bowl, place masa flour, salt and up to 1 3/4 c. of water though you may need more water. It is better to use more water here than less as the masa dries quickly and any extra water will dry up during the cooking process. Mix up all ingredients using a rubber spatula (or even your hands) until one ball of dough forms. You want the dough to be somewhat moist. Roll up dough with your hands to form balls. You will end up with 16. Keep dough covered with moist paper towels so it doesn't dry out while you work.
- Cover the bottom and top portions of your tortilla press with plastic wrap so the dough doesn't stick to the metal and press each ball of dough flat.(Make sure to press the handle side-to side to make the tortillas evenly pressed. Place pressed tortillas on a plate covered with moist paper towels until ready to cook.
- Heat each tortilla over high heat preferably on a comal (cast iron tortilla pan) or any cast iron pan for a minute or so on each side. You don't want to burn the tortillas, but you are looking for small char marks. (see the picture) Place tortillas in a tortilla warmer until ready to serve. (any remaining tortillas at the end of your meal, store well in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator!)
- Assemble your tacos and serve immediately