Santa Maria Tri Trip Recipe

Guest post from Chris....

Santa Maria Tri Tip - Poor man's filet mignon!

I first got excited about Tri Tip on the Big Green Egg after listening to my colleague Matt expound on their delicious virtues.  Easy to prep, quick cook times, satisfied family.  Sounds great right? 

The exact origin of the cut is disputed, but everyone agrees it came from Santa Maria, CA in the 1950s. After several really successful cooks it seemed a no-brainer for an awesome July 4th feast.

Here are the details:

Ingredients:

1 Tri Tip steak

Garlic salt

Montreal Steak seasoning - coarsely ground black and red peppers salt and garlic

Olive oil

Rinse the steak and dry with paper towels.  Rub with oil to help the spices stick.  Sprinkle on the spices- garlic first followed by the steak seasoning.  Apply liberally, no need to measure as after thinly slicing each slice will only have a small amount.

Let the steak sit for 30-60 minutes while you prep and light your Egg… this has a dry brining effect as the salt dissolves and is absorbed.Now that the prep is done, let's talk about the grilling process.  Authentic Santa Maria Tri Tips are cooked over red oak coals.  I only had Lazardi mesquite lump but wasn't going to let that get in the way of the 4th!

 

I've had great luck with the forward sear approach.  Get the egg to 600-650 degrees, direct.  6 minutes, flip for another 5.  You want to get a nice, dark sear.  Sides too.

At this point the tip is about 95degrees.  Perfect.  It's now time to add the placesetter.  It's a bit of a juggling act but the silicon gloves really help.  The temp should've dropped below 400 degrees… target is 350.  Give it another 10-15 and then test with the Thermapen.

I like to pull it at 130 or 135, cover and let rest for another 20minutes or so.

 

Slice correctly (a topic for another post :D) and enjoy!  
 

Served with grilled corn on the cob, cabbage slaw and a Williams Selyem 2013 Pinot. 

paleo tortillas - good idea or nah?

Is it worth it to bother with fake versions of Mexican recipes? Or should you just save up some calories and eat the damn cheese and flour and sour cream once in a while?


We eat clean 6 days a week - lots of leafy greens, lean proteins and legumes. All generally great, but not super amenable to my favorite type of cuisine - cheesy, delicious Mexican and New Mexican dishes. There are loads of recipes on the internet about how to make healthier, cleaner versions of favorite dishes and they lead me to the question: are they worth the work or should I just wait until a “cheat day” and go full throttle with the real deal?


I decided to test the question with a recipe for Paleo Tortillas to make a basic ground beef taco. The recipe for the “tortillas" is below. The verdict follows.


Ingredients:
1 cup finely ground blanched almond flour or sesame seed flour
1 cup tapioca flour
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ cup light tasting olive oil
¼ cup warm water (or more if needed)

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Directions:
1. Combine almond flour, tapioca flour and sea salt into a medium sized mixing bowl. Whisk together.
2. Add the light oil to the flour mixture and stir until incorporated into the flour. Add the water to the bowl and stir until well combined.
3. Move dough to a cutting board and knead the dough for about 1 minute (the dough should be moist but not sticky)
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Separate the dough into 8 pieces, knead each piece with your hands for about 30 seconds, then roll each piece into a ball and place the balls back in the mixing bowl.
4. Place a ball between two pieces of parchment paper and flatten with a rolling pin.
5. Put tortilla into hot skillet and cook until bubbly, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
6. Flip the tortilla over and cook the other side for another 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Repeat with each dough ball.


Separately:
- Cook the ground beef with your favorite taco seasoning
- Make some guacamole
- Pull out some fresh salsa
- Make a little green salad


So, the whole operation took about an hour end to end. Frying each dough ball one by one takes a while, but the rest (that I conveniently skipped over) is all super simple. Apologies for the lame picture - it was tough to make this one look appetizing.


OK, so almond flour, tapioca flour, and not much else…. how was the taste and texture?


To be honest, it was just ok. We ended up using the “tortillas” as tostadas since they weren’t actually very soft and bend-y. They also tasted very nutty due to the almond flour. 

Frank verdict:
Save it for cheat day. Not worth it.
The time and effort worth it to make a Mexican Paleo recipe isn’t worth the loss in flavor and texture. So, nah. 
 

4 ingredients to deliciousness- adult lemonade

Some days just don't work out how you plan them. I got up early this lovely Sunday to get some work done. Sunday mornings are usually very productive for me, plus that means I can enjoy the afternoon and not worry about the coming week's deliverables. So there I am, working away with my Peet's coffee next to me. I reach for my phone an spill the coffee ALL OVER the work laptop. Scheiße. Poor CPU is still drying out. Fingers crossed. 

Next up - cruise into the city for a mini urban hike and some drinks and food at Off the Grid. Well... the Bay Bridge on a Sunday is pretty much off limits if you don't try it before 9 am these days. I should have known. It was so bad I had to abort the mission and get off at West Grand and turn around. BOO. 

So, first world problems, right? As my co-founder reminded me today - Shitake Happens.

And now, to the point of this post :) It's hot and steamy out there today - 92 in Oakland! I've also got a tree full of ripe lemons, so how about a delicious adult beverage? All you need are these 4 ingredients: Vodka, Lemons, Mint, Simple Syrup.

 

Check out the recipe below for Vodka Mint Lemonade:

Ingredients:

- 4 lemons, quartered and seeds removed

- Leaves from 1 medium sized bunch of mint

- 1/2 cup of simple syrup

- 8 cups of cold water

- 2 cups of vodka

- Lemon slices and ice

How to:

- Place the quartered lemons in a blender with 2 cups of water, simple syrup, some ice and half the mint leaves

- Blend until the lemons are crushed and the mix is slightly foamy

- Strain the lemonade and add the rest of the water

- Add vodka

- Serve over ice with lemon and mint garnish


So there you have it... a cold cocktail, a zero gravity recliner , a good book... and all is right in the world. Happy Sunday, ya'll.



from hatch, with love

Ah, the smell of green chiles roasting in a parking lot. Late summer/early fall means it’s time for chile roasting, and man, do I miss that smell. If you go to any grocery store in August in New Mexico, you’ll come across a big, rotating drum tossing chiles over an open flame. 

 

Most New Mexicans obsess over green chile - if you know anyone from the 505, I’m sure you’ve talked about it. I’ve been getting it shipped to California every harvest season since I moved here from NM 15 years ago. A couple of weeks ago my girl Crystal (another NM transplant in CA) called me out on paying all that money for overnight shipping. Turns out, there are groceries all over the Bay Area that roast Hatch chiles for one day each August. Game. Changer.

We found a Mollie Stone’s in Marin this weekend and trekked out there for some of that New Mexico gold. Just walking up to the store, my mouth started watering! We got 10 lbs of fresh roasted green and went to town on some green chile chicken enchiladas last night. They had mild, medium, and hot and we got the hot. The heat was just right - you’re sweating a little, but the flavor is still front and center.

 

Below is a favorite recipe of mine… it’s not super precise, as it’s developed over time, but it doesn’t have to be exact to be delicious :) No pics of the final product, unfortuntely, as we devoured them too quickly!

1 lb of chicken thighs, boiled and shredded
1 lb. roasted green chile, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
1 large diced tomato
1 medium white or yellow onion
3-4  garlic cloves
pinch cumin
pinch oregano
1 tablespoon flour
1 quart chicken stock
corn tortillas
1/2 to a whole brick grated cheddar
1/2 to a whole brick grated jack
2 tablespoons olive oil or 1/8 cup of butter
salt and pepper to taste, obviously

1) Start with the sauce.
- Heat butter or oil in a dutch over or heavy stock pot
- Add onion, garlic, cumin and oregano, salt and pepper and cook on medium until they are all soft and a little brown
- Add flour and mix it all up until it’s absorbed
- Add diced chiles, tomatoes and stock
- Bring to a boil, then let it simmer for an hour or two
- Throw a hand blender in to smooth it out a little, but leave some chunky texture

2) Now for the enchiladas
- Preheat oven to 350
- Grate a ton of cheese
- Spread some of the finished sauce onto the bottom of a casserole baking dish
- Heat up the tortillas on a comal or frying pan with a little butter (or olive oil spray)
- You can either do rolled or stacked enchiladas - rolled are a bit more work, so it depends on how you’re feeling. 
I did flat this time, so...
- Lay down a layer of corn tortillas
- Lay down a layer of shredded chicken
- Cover with a generous layer of cheese
- Then ladle on a nice this layer of sauce
Repeat
- Bake for about 30 minutes until the cheese it bubbling and crisping up around the edges.



campari spritz - sunshine in a glass

We've been having some gorgeous weather this month and I am feeling the summertime love!
Nothing quenches the thirst better on a hot sunny day than an Aperol Spritz. Well...maybe water, but it’s definitely a close race :)


I found myself craving one today and went down to Piedmont Grocery to get the fixins. But  <gasp!> no Aperol to be found. Campari is generally next to Aperol on the booze shelf, so it should be a good substitute, right??? While Campari has a much more bitter flavor profile, it worked gorgeously with a little prosecco, club soda and fresh squeezed orange. I think this might actually be my new favorite summer day drink. It couldn’t be easier to make, and it goes down quite easily as well. 


Ingredients:
- Campari
- Prosecco
- Club Soda
- Fresh Orange
Recipe:
- Fill a large wine glass halfway with crushed ice
- Add 2 parts prosecco
- Add 1 part campari
- Fill to the rim with club soda
- Squeeze in some fresh orange juice and garnish with an orange wedge

campari_spritz


Voila! Summer in a glass, baby. 

first time brisket

At last!  Brisket, the penultimate in BBQ.  I’ve been working up to this for a while. After a sh*t ton of research (thanks eggheadforum!) I wanted to start small with a flat.  Before you purists start yapping, keep in mind that it’s just me and the wifey.  Who isn’t a huge beef fan.  Oh, and choice brisket is running $10/lb at the local butcher. A 10+lb packer could be an expensive first date with the most difficult of smoking meats.

I went with a modified Travis method, subbing in for stuff I had or could get.  That Allegro looks pretty legit, but unable to find it the Stubb’s Beef Marinade/TJ’s cayenne combo stepped up to the plate. Following Travis’s method the onion chunks went into the pan with the beer and Stubb’s.  Add cayenne.  Hey, why not?  After rubbing the brisket with yellow mustard and then Dizzy’s it sat in the frig for about an hour while I got the Egg rolling. 

 

My eggheadforum travels have taught me that smoke is absorbed better by cold meat, and I’ve pretty much adopted that approach with all cooks.

Ingredients:

12 oz TJ’s india pale ale

TJ’s Yellow Mustard

Stubbs Beef Marinade

Dizzy Pig Raising the Steaks Rub

3 lbs Choice flat brisket

Cayenne Pepper

Pit grid temp locked in at 275 thanks to my handy DigiIQ, love this thing. Used in tandem with my Ivation remote unit provides ultimate flexibility in cook monitoring.

 

It stalled out at 195 after 4 ½ hours at 275.  Fork test and not quite buttah enough.  Ramped the pit temp up to 320 for 45 min and pulled at 205

I consider this cook a success.  If I’d have more time I would’ve let it ride longer, but the moist/flavor combo more than made up for a little toughness.  Lauren went back for seconds, claiming it was a first.  She’s not a beef fan.  Must’ve done something right ;) Thanks Travis!


pulled pork tacos - turbo method on the big green egg

Sometimes you just  want juicy pulled pork without the 18 hour cook time!


We had a chill Saturday ahead of us and decided to give te 4 hour turbo method a try.
The meat turned out perfectly, the sun was shining and the Gallegos dropped by with 6 week old August to keep up company. 
Mix in a growler of the Temescal from Urban Legend Winery and you’ve got a lovely afternoon!


So, what exactly does Turbo mean? Higher heat and “shorter” cook times. I mean, we’re still talking 4 hours here, so it's not exactly a weeknight meal. We are still working our way up to the 18 hour cooks, which are recommended for pulled pork. In the meantime, we really enjoyed the results from this recipe.


Ingredients:
- 3 lb Niman Ranch pork shoulder
- Yellow mustard
- Andy’s rub
- Apple wood chunks and Lazzari lump charcoal
- Small bottle of Coke
- Marinelli’s apple juice


Process:
- Layer a thin coating of mustard over the shoulder. Apply rub liberally to all sides and let it sit at least an hour before cooking.
- Using the Grill Beast injector , add 2 ounces of Coke. The acidity helps break down the connective tissue, but it will not add much flavor to the meat.
- Get the egg up to 375 degrees
- Place a drip pan full of water on top of the place setter
- Put the shoulder fat side down on the


- Spray the shoulder with a 50/50 mix of apple juice and apple cider vinegar every hour
- Cook until the internal temp reached 195
- Remove and place the shoulder in a cooler wrapped in towels for at least an hour to let the juices settle
- We use the Bear Paws to shred, but you can use forks or your hands 
While all this was happening out back, I made some fresh pinto beans, heated corn tortillas, grated cabbage and cheddar cheese and whipped up some guac. 
Since we went Mexican style on the presentation, no sauce was added to the final pulled pork. It certainly did not need it, as it was extra juicy and delicious!
 

ribs n rubs - racks on the BGE

I’ve been honing my BGE skills for 6 months, working up towards the ultimate challenge – brisket.  The biggest challenge now isn’t confidence, it’s the cook time… even the turbo methods I’ve been reading about can take 6 hours.  With our friends coming over later that afternoon, I needed a quicker alternative.  Ribs!

Off to see our friendly neighborhood butcher, Phil who hand-picked 3 meaty racks of baby back ribs from the back room.  I had him remove the membrane.  Saves time and hassle, although be sure to double-check as he left some on one of the racks (lazy Phil!).

Patted down and coated each rack with yellow mustard.  The vinegar in the mustard helps break down and tenderize the meat while cooking.  It’s also helpful for keeping the dry rub on the ribs.

Each rack had a different rub – Andy’s Rub (http://andysrub.com/), Oakland Dust Pork Rub (http://www.oaklanddust.com/) and Trader Joe’s Coffee & Garlic rub (http://www.amazon.com/Trader-Joes-Seasoning-Coffee-Garlic/dp/B00L4MU288). 

     

 

 

For cooking, I followed a modified Car Wash Mike’s protocol (http://eggheadforum.com/discussion/1133699/car-wash-mikes-baby-back-rib-class), indirect cook at 275 with the ribs in a v-rack.  Low and slow is great but I was short on time and have had good results with my prior Turbo cooks.

It was definitely a tight fit on the large BGE.  My v-rack is the small BGE branded version (http://www.biggreenegg.com/eggcessories/cooking-grids-racks-extenders-pans/v-racks/), and works great with smaller racks, pork shoulders or chickens.  Time to get a large one!  Mmmmm… BGE gear...

Spritzed every hour with a combo of apple juice and apple cider vinegar.  Apple chunks for some added smokey goodness.

Total cook time was 4½ hours with a 30 min rest, and they were dee-licious.  I was a Pit-Hero!  My wife set a new PR for # of ribs eaten (5), I got props from my boys Mike and Ryan and their 2 year old daughters went to town.  Andy’s Rub was the hands down favorite, and I gotta say it’s a great all around rub that works really well on chicken, pork, and beef.

jamaican jerk chicken on the big green egg

Upon returning from a magical week in Jamaica, we found ourselves missing everything. Crystal clear caribbean waters, friendly people, local rum, hot, sunny days, and (of course) the jerk chicken. So, as we faced a chilly and gray Sunday in the Bay Area, we decided to give our own version of the chicken a go. We had the foresight to grab some Busha Browne's at the airport on the way back and fired up the egg - super simple and delicious.

4 chicken quarters

Busha Browne sauce or dry rub

- Using Lazzari lump charcoal, get the egg up to 300

- Non- raised direct cook

- 60 minutes total cook time, we flipped at 45 minutes

- Pull off the grill when the chicken's internal temp is 160

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