The gang was coming over for dinner. I wanted something simple and tasty. The weather was perfect. I had just purchased a full tank of propane. It was time to grill again. For decades our go to marinade has been the Iki Marinade.
My next thought was chicken. But the local store was selling tri tip steaks for $4 a pound. So I bought a package. If you’re familiar with this particular cut you know you typically get irregular pieces of steak in any given package. Butchers are smart. They will flip a piece of meat so that the side facing the buyer looks awesome. You buy, take the package home, and open only to discover one of the pieces is really, really small and someone will get the pipsqueak. When you see a picture of this steak you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
Irregular shaped steaks are a pain in the ass to cook. So I cut each steak in half and pounded the hell out of them until they were about a half inch thick. The flattening helps tenderize the meat and grill more evenly than when left whole.
My memories of beef stew growing up was that it came out of a can and tasted pretty bad. My mother was not a very good cook. She was however very good at opening cans. Consequently, I never really cared much for beef stew.
This weekend we had friends over for dinner. At first, we were thinking pizza. No, we just did that a couple of weeks ago with this crew. So I decided to cook but wanted to keep it simple. I also wanted to clean out the freezer a bit since winter is coming and there might be some stuff in there that needs to get cooked. I went rummaging. I found tri-tip steaks.
“Am I going to grill these things before next summer?”
Probably not. Stew. Problem solved.
This cut makes a wonderful stew. The packages of stew meat you find in the store consist of cubes from different cuts. Some are very lean which makes for a healthier dish, but less flavor. A good tri-tip is well marbled and the extra fat makes this stew quite tasty. You’ll note no potatoes in this stew. I served the stew over plain rice. Add potatoes if you wish. We had homemade cornbread and salad on the side. A crusty bread works too. Readers with a keen eye will notice this recipe is similar to Mike’s Pot Roast. You caught me.
As much as I love making this stew I have a confession to make. I’ve been making beef stew with top blade steak. I’m not going to change the name of this stew. But I should. Good tri-tip has been hard to find at the stores but one store always seems to have top blade steaks in their meat case. Well marbled too.
If you decide to use top blade keep the steaks whole and brown on both sides. The rest of the instructions are the same. Prior to serving pull the steaks apart with two forks into bite sized chunks. This particular cut will make the most tender beef stew you ever had.
A lot better than canned too.
Tri-Tip Beef Stew
- 1.5 to 2 lbs boneless tri-tip roast, well marbled, cut into one inch cubes
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil
- 1 T butter (optional)
- 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 stalk celery, small dice
- 1 carrot, peeled, small dice
- 3-4 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 1/2 lb white mushrooms, rinsed and quartered
- 1/2 lb frozen organic green peas
- 1/2 C Sweet Marsala wine
- BIG Pinch dried thyme
- 2-3 T tomato paste with basil
- 1 C low sodium beef broth
- Salt and pepper
- In a cast iron enamel covered pot heat 2 T of oil on medium high heat. Brown beef cubes in pot, several minutes on each side. You might need to do this in batches to allow a good browning of the meat.
- When beef is browned add the onions, small dice carrot, and celery to the pot and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, mushrooms and a pinch of thyme, and saute for another minute. Add the Marsala wine and continue to saute until the alcohol evaporates. Add tomato paste, beef broth and mix thoroughly.
- Cover and adjust the heat down to a low simmer.
- Cook for 2 hours, or longer.
- Approximately 45 minutes before serving add 1 T butter (optional) and the remaining carrot chunks. Reduce heat back to low.
- Around 10 minutes before serving, add 1/2 pound frozen organic green peas.
- Simmer on low heat until peas are heated through.
- Adjust for seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.
Lemon Soy Marinade
juice of one half of a large lemon
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Note – all measurements are approximate.
The marinade is enough for about a half pound of meat. Double or triple as required. I soaked tri tip steaks for around two hours before cooking.
The good news is the tri tip steak I made a while ago was deemed very good.
The bad news is I didn’t get to have any. The steaks were smaller than I thought so I didn’t get a piece. Same as when I was growing up, Dad would serve dinner family style and let everyone else pick their protein first. Dad got the pieces everyone else didn’t want. The last time I grilled tri tip steaks I got chicken.
I had to buy more. This time I bought the entire roast and carved it into steaks myself. At roughly a pound and a half I saved $1.50.
The triangle pieces are small and the first cut had a pretty thick cap of fat making the “steak” even smaller. I now understand why butchers turned this muscle into stew meat.
Tonight I am marinating the steaks in a lemon soy bath. We’ll see how they turn out.
Update 6:00 PM
The steaks turned out great. I froze the strip steak like pieces and grilled the smaller chunks. I managed to cook the meat until it was medium and it wasn’t tough or chewy. Don’t cook tri tip past medium or you will end up with chewy odd shaped hockey pucks. The marinade turned out decent for a throw together bath.
The Tri-Tip roast/steak is a 1.5 to 2.5 pound triangular-shaped cut from the beef sirloin…
For years, the Tri Tip found itself as part of the bone-in sirloin steak, hanging off the end as an odd shaped strip that usually got cut off and made into kabob meat or cube steaks. With a mere 4-5 LBS or so per animal, nobody really missed it.
via Supper is Ready!: Tri Tip: Good Eat’n, Great Price!.
Image courtesy of Supper is Ready! blog
As a kid growing up, steak was a rare treat. Dad would pick up Top Sirloin from the local King’s Market, pop them under the broiler, and serve with baked potatoes and a vegetable. For health reasons I don’t eat as much steak as I did when I was younger. But every now and then I enjoy a nice steak. My first experience with a Tri Tip was in a local restaurant and I felt this particular cut possessed extremely good beefy flavor. At the store I found some Tri Tip steaks, grass-fed and drug free. Tonight, we’ll be trying this cut marinated and grilled.