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Santa Maria-style barbecue is native to the Santa Maria Valley in California’s Santa Barbara County, and is known for a particular cut of steak known as the tri-tip, a triangular cut of beef from the sirloin that isn’t necessarily well-known outside the state. Heirloom bean company Rancho Gordo’s founder Steve Sando calls this style of barbecue over oak distinctly Californian — especially because the grilled steak is traditionally served with a side of pinquito beans, a cross between a pink bean and a white bean.
Rancho Gordo’s Santa Maria-Style Pinquitos & Tri-Tip Steak
For the beans:
- 1 pound
Santa Maria Pinquitos beans
medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon
English-style dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon
smoked Spanish paprika
- 1 tablespoon
Freshly ground black pepper
For the steak and serving:
- 2 to 2 1/2 pounds
tri-tip steak (depending on appetites and desires for leftovers)
large cloves garlic, pounded in a mortar with a pestle until it turns into a paste
- 2 teaspoons
(or to taste) coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon
(or to taste) freshly ground black pepper
Salsa, for serving
Place the beans in a large kettle or bean pot, add enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Add the onion, garlic, mustard, paprika, and tomato paste, and season with salt and pepper. Continue to simmer until the beans are tender.
30 minutes before you’re ready to eat, heat an outdoor grill for medium heat, using hardwood if you can. Meanwhile, season the meat generously with the garlic paste and plenty of salt and pepper, rubbing the meat with the mixture so it adheres.
Place the tri-tip on the grill and grill, turning it occasionally, until lightly charred all over, fragrant, and cooked to the desired doneness. Use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the tri-tip to judge doneness, rare is 130°F or medium-rare about 145ºF. The thin part will be cooked more well done for the folks who like it that way.
Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing it thinly across the grain. Serve with the beans and salsa.
Make ahead: The beans can be made 1 day ahead, then cooled and refrigerated in their broth.
Recipe courtesy of Steve Sando, Rancho Gordo.
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