Grilled Tri-Tip Steaks With Acorn Squash & Garlic Butter
by Kevin Shinn, Chef , Bread & Cup, Lincoln, Neb.
The key to grilling a thick piece of meat like tri-tip is to utilize a two-stage heat process. This ensures that the meat is not burned on the outside and still raw on the inside and is a common technique in restaurant cooking that’s easy to apply at home. The main elements of this dish are both crafted on the grill, which lends a smoky flavor that nicely complements both the squash and beef.
- 1 (32-ounce) Certified Piedmontese tri-tip roast, cut into 6 steaks
- 3 small acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
- 2 disposable foil pans
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon allspice
Combine all ingredients and set aside.
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 head garlic, ¼-inch of top cut off to expose the cloves, then wrapped in foil
Begin by setting up the grill. If using a charcoal grill, stack the charcoal on the far left side of the grill and ignite. This side will be the direct heat, while the right side will be indirect heat. If using a gas grill, light the burner on one side of the grill: This side will be direct heat, while the other side will be indirect heat.
Sprinkle a little salt, pepper, and cinnamon on the cut surface of each half of the acorn squash. Place cut-side down in a foil pan on the indirect side of the grill along with the foil-wrapped head of garlic, then close the lid. The squash should take around 25 to 30 minutes to cook, depending on how hot the grill gets. Check for doneness by piercing the skin with a fork: The fork will insert easily when the squash is done. Remove both squash and garlic from grill.
Next, dust each piece of tri tip with the spice rub and place on the grill over direct heat. Grill about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, then move to indirect heat until the steaks register an internal temperature of 140° F on a meat thermometer. Remove from heat and let the meat rest.
Meanwhile, prepare the garlic butter. Squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins and place in a bowl with softened butter. Mash cloves and butter together with a fork.
After the meat has rested, slice each steak and serve with acorn squash and a dollop of garlic butter.
Pairing: The richness of the meat and spice needs a big, hearty red like a Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah.