While in California, we had gone to a meat market while walking from the hotel to our friend’s house. This trip was remarkable because it dispelled two myths about Southern Californians: (1) that Southern Californians don’t walk anywhere and (2) that you can’t get good quality meat in a beach town. That night, we grilled up a spicy garlic try tip, among other things. And it was so good, that I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Usually, Trader Joe’s meat options seem to be either vacuum sealed marinated lamb or apple chicken sausages. So, I was surprised to find that they even had tri tip. Now normally, tri tip has more of a football shape. But in true Trader Joe’s grab-n-go, easy-for-yuppies fashion, it was cut and fit into a flat package. I suppose they do this so that it is easier to fit in a shopping bag and so that a single person wouldn’t have to commit to an entire tri tip (which can be several pounds) for dinner.
Spicy Garlic Tri Tip Recipe:
1. Marinade it: I used equal parts soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. To that, I added a couple of minced cloves of garlic, about a teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and about 2T of olive oil. I let the meat sit in this marinade in the fridge for about an hour, which is about as long as my impatience for marinating can handle.
I’d been watching a lot of Primal Grill lately, and that guy always serves grilled green onions where anyone else would serve asparagus. I cleaned and prepped some green onions and added them to the container on top of the meat. That way, the meat could pick up some green onion flavors and vice versa without completely drowning the veggies.
Buying green onions at Trader Joe’s is funny. I joked with my wife that I’d bet that they were individually wrapped for the convenience of the busy young urbanite on the go. I was pretty close.
2. Grill it: I was going to cook these up on the rooftop of my building, but when I got upstairs, all the grills were in use. This was surprising as it was the hottest day of the year and it was also about 9pm on a weeknight. So, I came back into the apartment and pulled out my double burner grill pan that my mother-in-law got me for Christmas.
I cooked the tri tip on one side, rotating the meat after about two to three minutes to get nice grill marks (about 5 minutes total per side). Once I flipped it over, I added the green onions. I put them in the middle because that is the space in between the burners is a cool zone in the pan.
3. Eat it: Once both sides were cooked, I pulled everything off the grill pan and sliced up the tri tip. It all turned out really well. It wasn’t exactly the same flavors that I had at my friend’s house in California, but it was pretty close and pretty tasty.
The only bad part about it was that Trader Joe’s efforts for convenience almost ruined the meat. The way they cut the tri tip so that it would fit into a single serving package made it chewy. You had to then slice the meat up with the grain (rather than across the grain), which made the meat seem less tender. I suppose that’s what I get for buying meat at a store that doesn’t even have a butcher counter.