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random musings of a crazy cat lady

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ode to tri-tip

I grilled a tri-tip today. This is very exciting. Although tri-tip is ubiquitous in California and can also be found anywhere there is a Trader Joe's, it is surprisingly hard to find here in CNY. I knew this before I moved here, but I didn't realize that it would be as hard to find as it was. A few days ago I found one at my friendly neighborhood Wegman's, hidden away in the organic stuff even though it wasn't. It was a momentous occasion, partly because I haven't had tri-tip since I moved and partly because I can finally grill something outside without having to shovel a path to my grill.
I realized that I didn't know anything about tri-tip, so I looked it up. It turns out that it is a small triangular cut from the bottom sirloin part of the cow/steer, and is one of the quadricep extensor muscles near the kneecap (i.e. the ones I was supposed to strengthen after my surgery) It weighs about 1 1/2 - 2 lbs and there are only two per cow. It's popular in Europe and South America, but historically has been used for ground beef or chili here in the US. I suspect that now they're mostly shipped to California. It's pretty lean, so it's important to leave on the fat that's on one side while it cooks. (I didn't have that option, since it had already been removed.) It's got a nice beefy flavor and, when cooked right, is pretty tender. It's good by itself or in sandwiches.
I rubbed my tri-tip with a spice rub and grilled it. It came out nearly perfect - I overcooked it slightly since I am out of practice. I ate it alongside some broccoli and salad. It was a nice reminder of California.

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