Jun 20, 2010

Tri-tip burritos

For some reason summer for me means tri-tip.  And tri-tip is good.  And very occasionally on sale enough to justify.

After experiencing several experiments on a small smoker (thank you very much Mr. McCormack; all was quite welcome) I decided to give it a shot on my own.  Which naturally meant not traditional smoked beef; that would be too mundane.  Even if I did have a smoker.

Solution: slow-cooked, heavily marinated beef with green chile in a tortilla.  How could that go wrong?  (In this case, it actually didn't.)


In a food processor, combine:

  • Garlic
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Ancho (for smokey flavor so not too much; this isn't your heat source)
  • 1/4 package of hot chile powder (hot molido, in this case; this is your heat source)
  • 50-50 white vinegar and water until there's a thin paste (it's easy enough to modulate the amount of vinegar down a bit, but you do need a decent amount to tenderize the beef)
Cover your tri-tip with this stuff, pour the rest in a baking pan with the meat in it, cover and chill.  Probably best overnight, and probably better if you pierce the meat several times.

Green sauce

The next day, or whenever you're nearly ready to start actually cooking the meat, start up your green sauce.

In a sauce pan, sweat in olive oil:
  • 1 medium onion, 1/4 inch dice or so
  • Garlic, minced
  • Some whole cumin
In the meantime, thaw 1 container green chile (yeah, i used Bueno extra hot for this as well; I could live on that stuff).

When the onions are basically transparent, add:
  • 1 yellow or orange pepper (red will do; going for sweet here) in smallish chunks
Sweat that down a bit, then add the green chile (likely still partially frozen), some water, and turn the heat up.  Let it come to a boil.

Thicken as desired with cold water/flour until reasonably thick -- you want it to drop, not run if that makes sense.

In the meantime, start on the meat.


Bring an oven to 450 or so.  Bring meat back to room temp on the counter; probably start this just before you start on the green sauce.

To do this properly, heat up your cast iron and Maillard that thing on all sides.

Then throw the meat in a baking pan, uncovered, for 20 minutes or so (100 F?) and toss it in the hot oven.

Take it out, remove from pan and set the nice pasty bits aside, wrap in foil and return to the oven until it reaches 125 - 130.

Remove, let sit for 10 - 15 minutes in the foil, then slice thin against the grain.  Return slices to the now likely cool sauce with any retained juices.  Toss around to coat a bit.

Final product

Heat tortillas.  Place meat in tortillas.  Smother in sauce.  Try to close and eat without making a ridiculous mess.  Chopped fresh cilantro would be awesome here as well.  Consider avocado and black olive as well.  Maybe even some lettuce of some flavor.

Serve with black beans perhaps?  Pico de gallo wouldn't hurt either.


  1. nice! Sounds delish! Are you using Ancho powder or whole ancho chilies? I've seen people rehydrate them and then puree them for marinade.
    You can't really go wrong with tri-tip :) My dad made one yesterday. Mmmm.

  2. i tend to just use powder, but reconstituting and grinding certainly wouldn't hurt. up to you and your time limitations.

    the actual powder -- and i explain only because i don't know what you have available around there -- is more like this:


    not my preferred brand but it should do. chimayo is still my favorite flavor -- if it's actually chimayo and not a blend -- but is harder to come by. the number of gringos who can tell the difference in taste, let alone geography, is pretty finite.

    but then i'll also go out of my way for real hatch green if it's fresh. go figure.