Holy cow. (Sorry, that was cheesy.) When I was in the Netherlands, I was sort of going through a beef withdrawal as well as a Blackboard Eats withdrawal, so when this deal for a Labor Day meat package from Snake River Farms showed up, I bought it on a whim and had it shipped to Los Angeles right after I got home. The package included two 2-lb. tri-tip cuts, two packages of hamburger patties, two six-ounce sirloins, and a pack of hot dogs. Snake River Farms’s schtick is their American-style wagyu beef, the somewhat more affordable version of Kobe with its well marbled, high quality, natural meat. When you have meat that’s supposedly this good of quality, I’ll tell you right now, don’t waste it on hamburgers and hot dogs. They were a bit unremarkable.
But. Today, I invoked the power of Google and found a good, simple marinade with ingredients I already had at home and decided to try it out. Since I was afraid of screwing up a pretty good cut of meat, I cut off 1-inch thick steaks from the wide end of the tri-tip and reserved them as actual dinner, then I marinated the rest and roasted it as experimental dinner/leftovers.
The two pieces of tri-tip came in one vacuum-sealed package, so I thought it was a gigantic 5.6-lb. piece of meat. Luckily, it was two separate pieces, so I cooked one and the other is hanging out in the freezer. I didn’t know much about tri-tip, so I searched some recipes and it seemed like tri-tip was only really good for BBQ or chili or something. I was also worried that it would be a little too fatty and chewy. After cutting off the steaks, I let all the pieces get to room temperature, brushed the steaks with a little bit of olive oil and seasoned with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, then put them aside for about an hour while I prepared the other things.
The marinade was pretty much like that link–1/3 bottle of a cabernet sauvignon (a brand just one step up from two-buck Chuck… it was like $6.99 at Trader Joe’s), a good swig of red wine vinegar, a few tablespoons of olive oil, two crushed cloves of garlic, and a nice big pinch of thyme, rosemary, and torn parsley. Whisked the marinade together in a large glass mixing bowl, put in the meat, covered, and let it sit at room temperature for almost two hours while I prepared fingerling potatoes.
Tossed 1.5 pounds of fingerling potatoes and a handful of baby carrots in olive oil, lavender salt, thyme, rosemary, and pepper. Spread on a foil-lined baking sheet and roasted for 30-35 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
After the potatoes were done, I lowered the oven temp to about 425 degrees, seared the tri-tip on the stove until it was deliciously browned, and roasted for 40-45 minutes. I poured the marinade into a pot on the stove over medium-high and let it reduce down. To help it thicken, I mixed about a tablespoon of flour in water and added it to the marinade.
When the roast still had about 15 minutes left and just as my boyfriend came home, I heated up our iron griddle (I usually use an iron skillet for pan frying steaks, but we had a guest and there were three steaks to fry) to medium-high and put the steaks on for about 4-5 minutes each side. They came out perfectly medium-rare.
But here’s the best part! The fatty piece of tri-tip turned into an incredibly tender, juicy, flavorful chunk of meat without any gristly, chewy bits, practically like a prime rib without all the super fatty bits. It’s kind of cliche to say this about wagyu beef, but it seriously melted in the mouth. It hardly needed any sauce, but the marinade drizzled on top was delicious and turned into a dressing for the spinach served under the steaks.
I was always quite skeptical of the virtues of so-called wagyu beef, and I still would never pay extra for a wagyu burger or hot dog. But for a steak cut, it really made a difference from other steaks I’ve made at home. It’s a little too rich for daily or even monthly consumption, and I really should’ve invited more people over to partake in dinner…