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  • Writer's pictureBig Rick Stuart


a story from a few years back

When my friend Jeff calls and asks me to cook for one of his parties I quickly say yes. He always has great parties and fun friends and I don't mind cooking for a group like that.

He really likes BBQ which is good because that's about the best thing that I can make for anyone.

His Christmas party was really fun this past weekend. He asked people to bring food and being Napa Valley everybody brought great kicked up food and excellent bottles of wine.

He asked me to make 4 tri-tip roasts for him. That would be no problem the question was how would I cook them?

If it was summertime certainly cooking outside would be a possibility but because it was December and there was a chance of rain and it was cold I had to cook them indoors.

It was time to break out my SousVide Supreme to make a sous-vide tri-tip and then char it on my grill Outdoors when they were done.

The sous-vide method means I get to make a tri-tip that will be perfectly tender and perfectly cooked. It would just take a little bit of prep and lots and lots of time.

I decided to set my sous-vide temperature at about 138 degrees for a crowd pleasing medium tri-tip.

The cooking time for the tri-tip in my SousVide Supreme was 6 hours. I know cooking a roast for 6 hours sounds crazy but the sous-vide method means you cook it at very low temperature and that means you have to cook for a very long time.

The result is you end up with some great tri-tip that is never going to be over cooked beyond the temperature that you set.

Of course because they are in a water bath and inside of some vacuum seal bags that means I can't add any spices or base them so prep beforehand is important.

I'm looking for some spices that will add a lot of flavor and do their job at a low temperature. For this I went to one of my favorite spice companies, CRC BBQ. They're based out of Texas and you might have to buy their spices mail order but it's absolutely worth it. I've used a lot of their different rubs for different things this time I went with their Riley's Smokey and Bold and it worked out great.

After 6 hours I took the tri-tip out of the SousVide Supreme, opened the packages, patted them dry, and put them on a charcoal grill with some oak wood at about 500 degrees I let both sides get a lot of color and char on them and they looked and smelled incredible.

It didn't take long to get them finished so I took the roast off and let them sit inside of a cooler that looks like a Yeti but is actually sold by Monoprice at a significantly lower price.

The tri-tip tall got wrapped in foil and set in the cooler while I made a sauce

I call it my capital OMG sauce. The main flavor ingredients are avocado, lime juice, green onions. I've also got some dill in the mix and a few more things. it's cool and creamy and is a great compliment to the beefy flavors of the the tri-tip.

When I got to the party at Jeff's house he liked the look of them so much he decided to take one complete roast and hide it away in his fridge. That was probably a good idea! I sliced up the rest and served them on the table and watched it all disappear.

The tri-tip all came from Costco and I have to say they were awesome they didn't have a lot of fat to trim and looked great, tasted great, and had lots of flavor. I did not use the pre marinated tri-tip. I like to get them just plain and add all the flavors myself.

It was a fun party thanks Jeff for having me there and I look forward to the party in the spring with some live music in his backyard. It's a great kickoff to summer time in Napa Valley!


The tri-tip is a famous cut of beef that most people associate with Central California however there is a case to be made that tri-tip got its start in Oakland California - check out the link.

Otto started talking to their retail customers and marketed the steak as “Tri-tip” because of its shape. He said once people tasted the tri-tip, its popularity started to spread. It was an instant success. The Schaefer’s also began cooking tri-tip at East Bay rodeos where the Santa Maria guys would show up. They liked the idea too. Butch estimates that happened around the early 1950’s. He said the Santa Maria Elks Club folks definitely popularized tri-tip but his father was the one that discovered tri-tip. It was delicious and marketable if you cooked it right (medium rare) and sliced it thinly against the grain.

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