I am going to eke out a bit more summer with this recipe for Spicy Grilled Tri-Tip with a trio of interesting salsa tastes that includes something for every palate. I say “eke out a bit more summer”, but that’s not quite true in two regards. First– technically, there are 6 more days of summer to be had. Secondly– summer never really came to Los Angeles this year. I kept waiting for it to get hot, but the heat never sat its big butt down on this town. So I have decided before the summer ekes away I am going to bring this city a little heat of my own. My brand of heat comes from chili– several kinds. Including cayenne, habanero, and Serrano. Because if Mother Nature hasn’t been able to make this Angelino sweat, then I am going to bring the heat in my own delicious way. A Trio of Salsa.
But just to let you know how sensitive I am to whatever heat may have come your way this summer (I hear it was blazing on the East Coast nearly all summer long) one of the salsas I am featuring is quite mild. It is a grilled corn salsa featuring one of the mildest chilis I know Anaheim chili.
But let’s start with the meat. It’s a cut of meat I had never heard of before I moved to California. Here we call it Tri-Tip. It is most typically seen as a roast about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 pounds each. It comes from the bottom of the sirloin, and has a triangular shape, as you might expect from its name. Not only does it have a great flavor, but it also tends to be lower in fat than most other cuts, so it’s a good lean meat– if that’s important to you.
The main reason I hadn’t heard of Tri-Tp until I moved here is because traditionally most butchers ground it into hamburger. This was (& still remains somewhat) a common practice because there is only one Tri-Tip per side of beef. Most butchers considered it a waste of display space to sell the Tri-Tip all by itself. These days most of the carving is done at packing warehouses and sold in whatever quantity the vendor needs. So the availability of the cut has increased due to the versatility this system offers.
But as is the case with most things Californian, interest has grown nationwide for this cut of meat. So it’s now possible to find it in many places across the country. Especially in the large shopping club stores like Costco and Sam’s Club. If you are not familiar with it I suggest you seek it out because this often overlooked a piece of meat is not only relatively inexpensive but also very flavorful.
As I said it’s quite lean for beef so be careful not to overcook it, particularly when preparing the full roast. Medium-rare is this cut’s ideal, and it should never be cooked past medium as it dries out easily. So grill it low or over indirect heat, no more than 30 to 40 minutes, depending on size. Another good tip to remember is to fold the small narrow tips in before taking the meat to the grill. This will keep them from overcooking. You can tie the roast into this configuration if it’s easier for you, but I find if I cook it few minutes, with the folded-under side against the rack of the grill, it will hold that shape nicely throughout the rest of the cooking.
Trio of Salsa
Now let’s turn our attention to the trio of salsa recipes. I deliberately chose a variety of tastes, textures, and colors. You can vary the heat, if you like, to suit your own tastes. But I chose these versions because their varied style and degree of heat is diverse enough to please all palates. CLICK on the titles below for a printable recipe.
Spicy Papaya-Carrot Salsa: This is an unusual salsa from Martha Stewart. Full of sweet notes and spicy habanero flavor. It’s great with beef, but I also serve it with all kinds of fish.
Spicy Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa: This is one of my favorite salsas. I serve it with everything from brined, grilled shrimp to beef. Add an equal measure of cold yogurt and you’ll have a terrific summer soup.
Grilled Corn Salsa: This version gets its glory from sweet summer corn. I used mild Anaheim chilis but you can easily ramp up the volume with either jalapeno or chipotle peppers.
With bold beef flavor and variable heat, this recipe could prove difficult to pair with wines. My brother Grant brilliantly sought out an affordable Argentinian wine, a bonarda– from Durigutti. It may be a new grape to you so read more here.
Spicy Grilled Tri-Tip with a Trio of Salsa serves 6 CLICK here for a printable recipe
Method for cooking meat adapted from Bobby Flay
- 1 T freshly ground black pepper
- 2 t cayenne pepper
- 1 t onion powder
- 1⁄2 t ground cumin
- 4 T granulated garlic
- 4 T kosher salt
- 1⁄2 c red wine vinegar
- 1⁄2 c vegetable oil
- 3 clv garlic, peeled and minced (or to taste)
- Spicy Papaya-Carrot Salsa
- Spicy Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa
- Grilled Corn Salsa
Prepare Seasoning Mixture:
Mix black pepper, cayenne pepper, onion powder, cumin, granulated garlic and 6 salt together in a small bowl.
Prepare Basting Sauce:
Whisk together vinegar, oil and minced garlic in another small bowl. Set aside to infuse at least 20 minutes.
Prepare the Tri-Tips:
Coat both sides of the tri-tips with half of the seasoning mixture, rubbing it in as you would a dry rub. Let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Place the tri-tips over a low-temperature fire, 1 with fat side up, and the other with fat side down. Turn as the first side gets crispy, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Be careful of flare-ups, as the dripping fat will fuel the fire. Turn the tri-tips before the heat pushes juices out the top, and continue to turn using this timing method throughout the cooking process. After turning, baste with sauce and season lightly, 4 times per side. Continue turning until the tri-tips are cooked to your liking. Remove from fire and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting into 1/2‑inch slices against the grain.
Serve warm or room temperature with the trio of salsas passed at the table.
SERIOUS FUN FOOD
I cannot believe you just come home to an incredible gift like that. Holy cow, my faith in humanity has been restored. What an amazing bounty. I thinkI’d make quesadillas. You’re brilliant =)
Neighbors leaving squash blossoms on your front porch? Really? Send me a real estate listing for your neighborhood I’m moving in.
These look fabulous! Love the orange zest
I’m always on the look out for innovative quesadilla recipes. I will definitely give this one a try.
Geeesh, all I ever find on my front porch are skateboards and matchbox cars.
So you live in the city too huh? I have never even seen a real live squash blossom, even tho they are apparantly all the rage right now. 😉
I love your quesadillas, I’m all for spicy southwestern cheesiness.
Something fell on Mayim Bialik?
Sorry, couldn’t resist that one. I think you have a secret admirer who also has a squash garden.
We talked about you Friday when getting tomatillos and Alexis asked how to know which ones to pick. Those tips you gave a few weeks back really came in handy.
Seriously? That is very funny! Nice neighbors, I am assuming. And fabulous what you made these blossoms into. Delicious! I knew you wouldn’t just make the obvious fried stuffed blossoms.
Love this quesadilla… definitely a crowd pleaser 🙂
I have made a quesadilla similar to this and it is one of my favorites. One time I didn’t have squash blossoms, so I used arugula for that little bitter bite. Thanks for reminding me about this…I think I have the makings in my frig.
What a delightful departure from fried squash blossoms! I think I’ll pick the rest of the blossoms off my plants right now! Love how bright and fresh the ingredients are in your prep photo.
After seeing this, I will be getting some squash blossoms! Quesadillas are a wonder thing and these look perfect! I’m new here and see lots of great things! Thanks!
It is not often we get ‘spoon fed’ well when we were kids, this was the case all the time but now it is not and thus whenever we get the opportunity to be ‘spoon fed’ we should take it with open arms. As for the recipe, that is a keeper for sure, in fact you’ve given me an idea for tonight’s dinner!
I’m collecting these blossom recipes right now as one of my favorite vendors at the Farmers Market has pumpkin blossoms right now
wow this looks fab, but you always have the best recipes yum
The way I see it is that the likelihood of a crazy person laced with anthrax coming across squash blossoms and THEN choosing to place them on YOUR (a foodie’s) doorstep…slim to none. Plus these quesadillas look so good that I would be willing to take the risk.
and fry them.…but I would have never thought of putting them into a quesadilla…even less with orange zest…what a wonderful and original idea! Next time I’ll try to be less Italian. I would add another option to your list: number 4) Invite Sara over for dinner!
These are gorgeous!
in an ice chest and bring them to Palm Springs and have either my butler or chef make them.
If I was to receive such a gift, I would immediately do a search on FoodGawker and Tastpsotting to look at all the pretty pictures utilizing them. No doubt yours would be one of the top ones to show up. Then I would make the quesadillas. Any chance these will end up on my doorstep anytime soon???
Its good to be you.
Your answer of “c” is completely logical in any food lover’s mind. Your quesadilla riff is a novel way to use them — love it!
Where can I get squash blossoms? I don’t think I’ve seen them in my supermarket but maybe I’ll ask. Those quesadillas look so excellent!
The only correct answer, indeed! Even if it was a gift from a thoughtful neighbor, I’d like to think that they’d approve wholeheartedly of this particular use! YUM.
I need to get my hands on some squash blossoms because I have never had one and everyone is posting how amazing they are. Time to get my butt movin’ on this one and pick some of these suckers up.