It was a bit like opening a gift you didn’t expect. Unraveling that butcher paper, my eyes stared at that package like a zombie eyeballin’ a slow moving protein. What I expected to be a nice piece of tri-tip turned into a set of twin hunks o’ beef, presenting themselves to me as if to wildly wave their tiny hands, if they had any, saying, “pick me, pick me!”
Pick them I did, for what better choice is there than to not have to make a decision regarding the flavor and seasoning to use for this meat. No, because of the dual tri-tips, there shall be dual flavors, resulting in dual tastings, and dual layers of satisfaction. So let’s get after it. Twice, hehe.
Both tri-tips were allowed to have a soak in olive oil, a bit of Worcestershire sauce and thinly sliced fresh garlic.
The spice rubs had to be different, but I knew one thing. And I knew that one thing for sure. One of those rubs had to be coffee and cocoa based, and the best coffee and cocoa rub I have had is from Steven Raichlen’s Barbecue Bible. You’ll find it here. It’s a beautiful, dark and deep mix of brown sugar, espresso coffee, cocoa powder, paprika, and salt. For the second piece of meat, a more standard mix of salt, pepper, garlic, mustard seed, and white pepper is thoroughly mixed and at the ready.
You know what to do from here. Rub those tri-tips like they were paying you to do it, getting the flavors ground into the meat. Keep them separate, because these two profiles are miles apart in flavor, and will rattle the full spectrum of taste buds once grilled.
Tri-tip is a dense piece of meat, so the proper thing to do is to throw it on a blazing hot grill, directly over the flames to sear it before moving it over to indirect or lower heat for finishing up.
Searing will get you that nice crusty bark on the outside to complement the delicious, juicy beef on the inside. The meat is still pretty rare on the inside at this point, so we can now move the twin tri-tips farther away from the flames or lower the fire intensity to finish the meat to our liking, in this case, about 130, or medium rare.
The beef will continue to cook after removing, especially if you tent it with a bit of aluminum foil, so keep that in mind when deciding when to remove the meat from the grill. Because after all, what we want with these dueling tri-tips are juicy pieces of beef to slice on the bias, have a gentle pull, and give us that caramelized satisfaction of taste and texture, with whatever flavor profile you choose.
Because Life Is Better Wood Fired