Coffee-Rubbed Tri-tip




Introduction: Coffee-Rubbed Tri-tip

For my inaugural Instructable, I've combined two of my loves, COFFEE and MEAT.  I've taken my custom coffee-based meat rub, and applied it to a whole tri-tip roast.  To take it over the top and to ensure thorough coffee flavor and perfect medium-rare meat, I prepared the tri-tip sous vide, and BOY WAS IT GOOD! 

I've prepared tri-tip in this way before without cooking it sous-vide and it was perfectly delicious, so if you don't have an immersion circulator, I've included cooking instruction using a large cast-iron skillet instead.

Step 1: Preparing the Rub

To prepare this simple meat rub, you will need paprika, finely ground garlic powder, ground black pepper, sea salt and some high quality ground coffee.  I like Weaver's which is a company local to me.  A finer grind setting (like espresso) seems to work best in terms of the texture of the rub.

Simply measure into a bowl, and mix:
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1.5 tsp sea salt (I prefer coarse ground, especially if the meat is going to be grilled)
2 tsp ground coffee

I made this amount of rub anticipating using it all to season a tri-tip that was a little under two pounds.

Step 2: Preparing the Meat for It's Hot Tub Bath

Tri-tip is one of my favorite cuts of beef.  It's relatively lean and if cooked and sliced properly is tender and flavorful.

I like to trim all of the fat that I can off the outside of the roast.  This is an especially important step since I'm preparing my meat sous vide, so the fat won't render the same way it would in a pan.

Once your meat is trimmed, pat it dry with a paper towel and apply the rub using your hands.  Cover the entire roast using all of the rub, pressing it into the meat.

Step 3: Marinate

I don't actually have a vacuum-sealer, so I just put my roast in a Ziploc and squeeze out all of the air I can, seal it up and throw it in the fridge.  As long as you get out almost all of the air, a piece of meat this large will submerge nicely in the machine.  I recommend marinating for at least a few hours if not overnight.  The flavor of the rub will penetrate the meat overnight, and the salt will help to keep the meat juicy as it cooks, sort of like a brine.

Step 4: Give That Sucker a Bath

If you don't have a sous vide machine, skip to Step 5 for cooking instructions.

Preheat your immersion circulator to 135F for perfectly medium rare meat.  Once it's hot, drop in your tri-tip and set your timer for 90 minutes (for a two pound roast).  The beauty of this cooking method is that the meat will never overcook.  However, I would not recommend cooking the roast for more than three hours because the connective tissue in the meat begins to break down and become a bit mushy.

Step 5: Sear the Roast

Take the roast out of the sous vide after the 90 minutes have elapsed.  There will be a little moisture expelled from the meat as it cooks, but the rub should have formed a nice crust around the roast nonetheless.  Discard the bag and get a cast-iron skillet screaming hot.  I like to let my meat rest for a moment on a wooden cutting board while the skillet heats up so that the meat is dry enough that it wont splatter when it goes in the skillet.

Once your skillet is very hot, pour in a tablespoon of oil (I prefer evoo) and immediately put the tri tip in the hot pan.  Let it sear for two minutes or until it is nice and brown on each side.  You should hear a lot of sizzling and crackling.  If you don't your pan isn't hot enough.  The meat is already cooked before it goes in the pan, so this step is just to ensure a nice crust and to bring out some more of the flavor in the rub.

NOTE:  If you aren't cooking sous vide, simply place your raw roast (marinated) in the hot pan with oil and sear on one side for four minutes.  Flip the roast over and put it in an oven pre-heated to 375F and cook until it reaches an internal temp of 135F with a meat thermometer.  This can take anywhere from 20-30 minutes.  Insert the meat thermometer at the thickest part of the roast for accurate temp.  The rest of the steps are the same.

Step 6: Let the Meat Rest, Slice, and Serve

Pull the roast out of the pan and let it rest for a few minutes on the cutting board.  If you didn't cook your meat sous vide then you will need to let it rest for about ten minutes. 

Make sure your knife is very sharp.  Slice the meat against the grain into thin strips and serve immediately.

Step 7: Enjoy!

I had my tri-tip with truffle mac and cheese ( and braised swiss chard with red onions.  And leftover steak sammies of course!

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    6 years ago

    soo charming


    10 years ago on Introduction

    This looks sooooo good. I think I'll have to make this for my boyfriend soon. :D


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    just be prepared for him to fall even more deeply in love with you