With unseasonably warm weather rolling through San Francisco, I had a chance to fire up the gas grill and cook up one of my favorite cuts of beef: tri-tip. In the recent past, tri-tip was generally used for ground beef or cut into steaks. Today, it is begining to gain momentum as a grilling favorite – especially in the Central Coast of California. The tri-tip is taken from the bottom sirloin of the cow and is a leaner piece of meat than other cuts.
I prepped the meat by applying an ample dusting of rub. The rub I used for this cook included salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper. Next, I fired up the gas grill, closed the lid, and let it heat up.
Tri-tip with rub The gas grill
I turned on all three burners and let the grill get very hot; in the 480-500 degree range, so I could sear the meat. The purpose of searing is to cook the outer layer of meat to seal in all the natural juices. I put the tri-tip on the hot grill for about eight minutes, flipping it every minute. The outside of the meat took on the dark brown color (but not charred black) indicative of a good sear.
Tri-tip before searing… … and after
After getting a good sear on the meat, I pulled it off the grill, turned off the left hand burner, set the middle burner to low and kept the right burner on high. The purpose of adjusting the burners as such is to cook the meat with indirect heat at a constant temperature of 400 degrees. This will avoid flair ups that can burn and char the meat. I also added mesquite wood chips to the smoker box.
Wood chips in the smoker box Cooking with indirect heat
The grill top stayed closed for the cook and I flipped the meat once at the 25 minute mark. After 50 minutes I took the internal temperature and had a reading of 145 degrees which is just right if you like your meat medium-rare. I pulled the tri-tip off the grill and let it sit for 20 minutes before carving to allow the juices to redistribute.
From past blogs, it may seem like I subsist on a diet of only meat. The truth is, I do actually eat vegetables and since I already had the grill fired up, I decided to cook up some bok choy. Bok choy is a vegetable in the cabbage family and looks little like a green version of “Wilson,” the volleyball from Cast Away.
Bok choy “Wilson”
I cut each stock of bok choy in half and seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper, and diced garlic. It then went onto the left side of the grill just like the tri-tip. The bok choy cooked for about ten minutes with indirect heat until the stalks became tender and the leaves were limp.
Bok choy on the grill
With the tri-tip and bok choy done cooking, it was time to eat. I cut the tri-tip (against the grain) into strips and served with the bok choy. Delicious!