Cathie Campbell

For tri-tip fans

Years ago, I was convinced that I did not like tri-tip roasts. But that was before I had them cooked the right way. (I say right way only to indicate my own personal preferences, which is moist and rare on the inside and slightly charred and well seasoned on the outside.) Tri-tips can be sliced into steaks, cubed for skewering or stewing, slow-cooked, roasted, grilled, sauteed or even cut into slabs and dried for homemade jerky. Let’s check out some recipes for those of us who appreciate a good tri-tip meal.

Rosemary garlic tri-tip

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed (I prefer to use lots of fresh rosemary)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper (I like to use a grinder of peppercorns and dried garlic)

1 beef tri-tip roast, about 2 to 3 pounds

4 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

12 small red potatoes, quartered

2 medium sweet yellow peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large sweet onion, cut into 1-inch pieces

1. Preheat oven to 425. Combine the garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper; set aside 4 teaspoons. Rub the remaining mixture over roast; place in a greased shallow roasting pan.

2. In a small bowl, whisk reserved mixture with oil. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the potatoes, yellow peppers and onion chunks; add oil mixture. Seal bag and toss to coat. Arrange vegetables around roast.

3. Bake the roast and vegetables, uncovered, in preheated oven for 30 to 60 minutes or until the meat reaches desired temperature (for medium-rare, a meat thermometer should read 145; medium, 160; well-done, 170).

4. Transfer roast and peppers to a warm serving platter. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Meanwhile, return potatoes and onion to the oven; bake 10 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender. Makes 6 servings.

* Favorite tri-tip marinade

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup water, divided

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon onion salt or garlic salt

2 tablespoons parsley flakes

1/4 cup malt vinegar

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 tablespoons finely minced garlic

A nice piece of trip-tip, anywhere from 1.5 to 4 lbs.

1. In a saucepan, mix together 1/4 cup of the sugar and 1/4 cup of the water and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. When the sugar caramelizes, add the salt, pepper, onion or garlic salt and parsley, then stir well. Bring back to a boil for a minute, and then add the vinegar, the other 1/4 cup of water, the soy sauce, and the fish sauce. Mix well and taste. If you feel like it needs more "balance," add a little more salt. Add the garlic and the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bring back to a boil, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Let cool.

2. Place the tri-tip roast in a shallow baking dish or a resealable plastic bag and pour the cooled marinade over. Place in refrigerator and let marinate for a hour or overnight. (Overnight is best.)

3. The meat can be cooked on a grill or roasted in the oven. If roasting in the oven, set temperature at 425 degrees and stick a meat thermometer in. When it reaches an internal temperature of 128 to 130 degrees (for rare), remove from the oven and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.

Santa Maria grilled tri-tip, with beans

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons granulated garlic (or powder)

1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 beef tri-tip roast, about 2 1/2 pounds

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup canola oil

4 cloves garlic, pressed

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1. Stir salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, rosemary, and cayenne pepper together in a small bowl. Place beef in a glass baking dish and coat beef on all sides with spice mixture. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

2. In a container that you can seal, combine vinegar, canola oil, garlic and mustard. Cover and shake to blend all ingredients.

3. Remove roast from refrigerator, uncover and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat a grill for high heat and oil the grill.

4. Place meat on preheated grill and brush with garlic-vinegar mixture. Cook meat for 4 minutes, flip, and baste. Repeat the flip and baste process every 4 minutes until beef starts to firm and is reddish-pink and juicy in the center, 25 to 30 minutes total. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read about 130 degrees. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

* Santa Maria beans

3 broiler roasted tomatoes (see directions)

8 cloves garlic, minced or pressed, divided

1 strip smoked bacon

1 medium yellow onion, diced finely, divided

1 tablespoon dry mustard

2 smoked ham hocks

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 pound pinquito beans (small pink beans or pintos if you cannot find pinquito beans)

1 cup diced ham

1. Rinse, stem and quarter the tomatoes. Lay them cut side up on a lipped baking sheet and broil them for 10 minutes, until starting to pick up some color. Set aside. Tip: do not discard any liquid that comes from the tomatoes.

2. Dice the bacon finely and saute it in a 6-quart Dutch oven until soft, but not crisp. Add 3 minced or pressed cloves of garlic and saute for 30 seconds more.

3. Add half of the diced onions and continue cooking until the onions are translucent, about three more minutes. Add the dry mustard, ham hocks, and 7 cups of water to the pot and bring it to a boil. Tip: The ham hocks have a thick layer of skin around them. Use a knife to cut the skin open in several places so the cooking liquid can get to the cartilage within.

4. Skin the tomatoes and chop them up a bit and add them and any released liquids to the pot. Cover the pot and turn the heat to low. Simmer for three to four hours. Add water if necessary, you want about 4 cups of broth left when you are done.

5. Cool the stock and transfer it to a lidded container. Refrigerate for at least one hour, or overnight, and clean the Dutch oven. Reserve any bits of meat. Ham hocks have very little actual lean meat on them, but they do have a little. Remove the ham hock bits while the broth is still warm. As the broth cools it will turn into a thick jelly. Skim most of the fat from the broth, but reserve at least one tablespoon if you can for cooking the remaining onions.

6. Sort and rinse the beans. Put the reserved pork fat in the bean pot and cook the onions until they are starting to turn golden. Add the tomato paste to the pot and continue cooking until the tomato paste has darkened. Add the stock and cider vinegar to the pot and bring it to a boil.

7. Add the beans and return the pot to a boil. Cover and simmer on low for 1 1/2 hours. Stir in the diced ham and continue cooking until the beans are to your preferred tenderness, about 30 minutes. If the bean broth seems too thin you can crush a few beans to thicken it. If the broth seems too thick, add a bit more pork broth, if you have it, or water.