Monday, March 10, 2014

Coffee Smoked Tri-Tip


I suppose it's a touch unfair to even talk about this while much of the country is still under the thumb of old man winter.

That said, file this under "things to do after the temperature gets above 45º", midwesterners. I know that you crazy people can't say no to grilling in inclimate conditions - I know this because I lived through many insane tailgates during the punishing Bernie Kosar era of the Cleveland Browns. Those winters of our discontent are past, and soon enough they will be made glorious summer when baseball season is finally upon us.

This would be a good roast for the first pitch next month.

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"You got everything you need?" I asked 99% Bittersweet following our supply run into old Newman late in the week not too long ago.

"Did you want to stop by Wolfsen's," she replied predicting correctly that mine was a leading question.

"Well, you know, not if it's out of the way," I said, feeling a little guilty.

"Oh stop, let's just go we're out anyway," she laughed at me, "maybe we can grill something later in the weekend."

I stocked up on my normal provisions: jerky, Kentucky bacon and smoked meat sticks.


I picked up a sizable tri-tip roast not knowing exactly how I'd prepare it. That inspiration struck days later, when discussing how to put a twist on steak fries having had batata frita the previous evening along with our bacalhau.

I eyed a bunch of kale growing limp in a plastic jug, "we can definitely kill these greens off for dinner tomorrow, and we can do steak fries."

"Fries again? Better mix it up," suggested 99% Bittersweet.

I perused the spice rack, eying a tin of Madras curry powder, "how do the kids feel about curry?"

"They love it."

I started gathering spices, garlic, a mortar and pestle as a plan came together.


Coffee and Curry Smoked Tri-Tip:
  • 2 1/2 - 3 lbs tri-tip roast.
Dry Oil Rub -
  • 2 tbsp whole cumin seed, toasted and ground.
  • 3 tbsp fresh ground French roast or espresso (medium burr).
  • 1 1/2 tbsp good quality Madras curry powder.
  • 3 tsp whole black peppercorns, toasted and ground.
  • 2 tsp of a hot chile powder.
  • 1 1/2 tbs kosher salt.
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, crushed in a mortar and pestle. 
  • 3-4 good "glugs" of quality olive oil.
Place the rub ingredients in a resealable gallon freezer bag. Seal and mix together, then re-open and place the roast into the bag. Seal, removing as much air as possible, and manipulate the roast so every surface is coated with the rub.

Chill overnight, rotating the roast every 4-6 hours and remove 2 hours prior to cooking.

Hydrate 2 cups of hardwood chips in water.


Start a charcoal fire in an 80" Weber style grill with coals on one side of the grill. Drain wood chips prior to using.

When coals are white hot, sear off the roast for a few minutes on each side (on a tri-tip, all three). Move roast to cold side and cook off any vegetables and set aside (we will reheat these later).

Put 1/2 of chips directly on coals and cover grill with a lid set on half-moon venting.

Rotate vents so that they are above the roast to promote circulation of air and smoke inside the grill.

Flip roast after 20-25 minutes and re-coal if necessary. Cook on the cold side of the grill for another 15-20 minutes or until meat is about a medium-rare to medium (internal temp will be about 135ºF for you cheaters with thermometers and will carry over about 8-10ºF after being removed from the grill).

Reheat your vegetables while your roast rests.

Serve with hot steak fries dusted with Madras curry.


Pommes Frites:
  • 4 small Russet potatoes cut into wedges (halve lengthwise then cut each half into 3-4 radial wedges, again lengthwise).
  • 5% sugar, 5% salt brine.
  • Frying oil or lard.
Brine potatoes for up to 12 hours, then drain.

Blanch potatoes in 325ºF oil until outside of potato starts to turn translucent but not brown, set potatoes aside.

Do something else for 15 minutes while potatoes cool off.

Return frying oil and heat to 380ºF (oil will cool off to about 375ºF when spuds are introduced).

Fry potatoes in batches until GB&D.

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358 South Ave
Gustine, CA 95322
(209) 854-6456