Tri-Tip Sandwiches with Cabernet Cabbage & Blue Cheese Dressing
If steaks and burgers are the champions of summer grilling, roasts like tri-tip, cooked slowly on the grill, are a great alternative for fall and winter. Santa Maria tri-tip is as close as California gets to a regional barbecue style. It’s a staple of the Central Coast, made with meaty slabs of dry-rubbed sirloin smoked over oak in a covered grill and served up with beans and salsa. We’re obsessed with Snake River Farms American Wagyu tri-tip, and we love it thinly sliced in sandwiches. It’s so flavorful you can skip the dry rub and just season it with salt and pepper.
For the blue cheese dressing:
1⁄4 lb. creamy cow’s milk blue cheese (such as Point Reyes Farmstead Original Blue), crumbled
1⁄4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1⁄2 cup buttermilk
1⁄2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
2 tablespoons minced green onions, white and green parts
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Cabernet cabbage:
1 tablespoon rendered bacon fat or extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 red onion, julienned
1⁄2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 lb. red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf, 4 juniper berries, and 3 black peppercorns, tied in a sachet
1 cup dry red wine (such as Cabernet Sauvignon)
1⁄3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons sugar
1 fresh rosemary sprig
For the tri-tip:
1 beef tri-tip, 2 to 21⁄2 lbs.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
4 brioche rolls, split, or 8 thick slices
1 cup baby arugula Justin had never heard of tri-tip until he moved to California. Early in his career, he worked at a place that served a fantastic sandwich made with duck, braised cabbage, and blue cheese dressing. The minute he discovered meaty grill-smoked tri-tip, he knew he had to give it that same treatment, and he’s been serving this sandwich ever since.
To make the blue cheese dressing: In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir to mix well. You should have about 11/4 cups. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. The dressing is best made the day before using and refrigerated overnight.
To braise the cabbage: In a large pot, heat the bacon fat over medium heat. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes, until soft but not browned.
Add the cabbage and the sachet to the pot and stir for about 4 minutes, until the cabbage wilts slightly. Add the wine, vinegar, pomegranate molasses, sugar, and rosemary, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, until the liquid reduces almost completely. Remove and discard the sachet and rosemary. Set the cabbage aside while you cook the tri-tip.
To grill the tri-tip: Remove the tri-tip from the refrigerator about 1 hour before grilling. Meanwhile, prepare a gas or charcoal grill for indirect cooking over high heat. Brush the cooking grate clean.
Pat the tri-tip dry with paper towels. Rub the tri-tip with the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Place on the grill over high heat for 4 minutes, flip the tri-tip, and cook for 4 minutes longer. Move the tri- tip to a medium-low heat area and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 125 degrees Fahrenheit for medium-rare. Transfer the tri-tip to a cutting board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing against the grain.
To assemble: Grill or toast the rolls. Spoon the cabbage on the bottom half of each roll, then top with slices of tri-tip, some arugula, and some dressing. Close with the roll tops and serve at once.