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Tri Tip Experiment

My uncle got a free tri tip at Albertsons last week. Buy one get one free is especially awesome on a $15 piece of meat. Typically tri tip is cooked on the BBQ, dry heat, low and slow. Since I’m still in love with my crock pot, I thought I’d give it a go in there. I Googled “tri tip crock pot” and found two things: people saying you shouldn’t do it and recipes with 42 ingredients, mostly spices I don’t have.

So I’m experimenting with things I have in the kitchen (which isn’t much, I need to go grocery shopping) to make tri tip tacos.

Trimming. The cut of beef is pretty well marbled, so I removed as much fat as possible from the outside. If I was going to BBQ I’d leave the fat to moisten the beef as it cooks – but that’s another day.

Seasoning. I found a low sodium taco seasoning packet. I try to use low sodium products as much as possible. I rarely salt my foods. It’s just a flavor preference.

Liquid. I didn’t want to add too much, I don’t want taco stew. I was hoping I’d find a large can of diced tomatoes in the back of my pantry, but no such luck. No tomato paste. So I added a splash of (again, reduced sodium) chicken broth. How much is a splash? I don’t know, maybe 1/3 cup. Ideally when the meat is done I can shred it instead of slicing it. I know vinegar helps break down the muscle fibers so I added a dash of white vinegar. About a tablespoon. I also threw in a generous dash of olive oil.

Vegetables. I had a huge tomato that was still good but too mushy for sandwiches, so I cut it up in big chunks and placed it on top. I’m hoping it breaks down into the liquids. I threw in a sweet onion, also in large chunks.

It’s sitting on my counter right now, on low heat for 8 hours. Fingers crossed. I’ll post a picture and a review tonight.


The verdict: It was good. Not great. The meat pulled apart very easily, it was tender but a little too chewy. It looked like a typical pot roast, but the flavor was bland. I guess taco seasoning belongs on ground turkey. After 8 hours there was a lot of liquid in the pot, the broth was unnecessary. A richer spice rub and reducing the liquid to a thicker sauce before serving would improve the dish. Overall I don’t think the tri tip failed in the crock pot, it just didn’t excel. I’ll stick with the grill for the tri tip in the future (Chelle, send me that recipe!).


Luckily dinner was actually quite delicious thanks to my lovely friend (and one time roommate) Katherine! She pulled a bag of masa harina from her purse and whipped up a yummy alternative to my plain old tortillas. Also in her bag of tricks, heirloom tomato and fennel salad from Whole Foods. Yum! Katherine gets extra kudos for assembling the favors for my sister’s baby shower after dinner. Thank you friend.

P.S. I realize the color distortion on these images is pretty intense. Blame my crappy kitchen lights.


2 responses »

  1. oooooo Seriosuly my favorite thing EVER is my mom’s tri tip! SOOOOO good. I will have to give the recipe sometime – but it does use the grill which I don’t have right now – but we do use the community one every now and then and this is worth it! Good luck! Hope it turns out great!

  2. I am curious how it turns out! Never thought to cook it in a crock pot but would be awesome if it turns out well 🙂 I heart cooking with my crock pot. Seriously a working mom’s friend.


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