Friday, October 2, 2009

A Santa Maria Tri Tip Lesson with Paul Righetti (because Barbecuing Season is Never Over)

This is another one of the videos I shot while down in Santa Maria, when we were guests of Paul and Susie Righetti. You've already seen Susie make the famous Santa Maria salsa in a previously posted video, so here's her husband Paul showing us the real method used to barbecued the beef with which the salsa is always paired.

I got a comment the other day asking when I was posting this
video since outdoor cooking season was coming to an end. I beg to differ. What better weather to cook over an open fire than cold and damp? Unless you're talking about a blizzard or life-threatening thunderstorm, there is no such thing as a bad time to barbecue.

By the way, save your "that's not really barbecue because…" comments and emails. They call it barbecue, so I call it barbecue. You can argue all day about what is or is not "really" barbecue, but for me, if it's cooked over or near a wood fire, it's barbecue. So, put that in your pit and smoke it.

In the video you'll see Paul use a pre-made mix of salt, black pepper, garlic and parsley to season the tri tip. This is one of the many Santa Maria barbecue products that Susie sells on her website.

The site is called Susie Q's Brand, and she offers a large variety of local Santa Maria products, including the magical red oak wood chips. Here's the link in case you want to check out the selection. I'm working on getting a special discount code for you foodwishers to enter on the site, so check back for that! Enjoy.

Righetti just let me know that any orders placed using the promo code FOODWISHES2009 will recieve a 20% discount until 11/01/09!


Anonymous said...

Yummy! Send me some. (First One)

Susanne said...

Hi I'd just like to say that me and my brother loves your videos. I have a little food wish. Could you make a video on how to make Naan bread please.

Greetings from Sweden

Anonymous said...

Did Paul use that "pig tail" meat flipper that Chef John mocked a while ago at the food convention in Las Vegas?

Joe Bob said...

May I extend your "anything near a wood fire is barbecue" logic? Then obviously, a sweat and a saute are the same thing - after all, anything cooked near a stove must be the same, right?

And you might just as well whip that egg-white foam into your other ingredients, because that's pretty much the same as folding it in. It's all just "stirring".

It puzzles me that good chefs who are otherwise precise with their terminology and technique, throw that to the wind when it comes to cooking outside the kitchen.

I'm sure this is a very nice grilled tri-tip - but it's whole different technique, and a different product from a barbecued tri-tip.

Chef John said...

Listen Joe Bob (if that's even your real name), I said I called it bbq, because that's what they call it. If I go to someone's home to do a blog post, and they make me something called "boiled beef," but it's technically braised, I still call it "boiled beef" when I write about the meal. If only out of respect for their terminology.

This style's been called bbq in CA's central coast since the early Spanish settlers. The common denominator being a wood fire... if they were cooking the legs or head it would be long and slow (like your precious definition), however if they were cooking a slab of top sirloin or rib steak (the original Santa Maria bbq),they did it more quickly over the hottest part of the fire...because it was better that way. Regardless of which cut, or how long it took, this was all just called bbq. I'm assuming they were too busy trying not to die to think up another name for the quicker preparations.

Besides, "barbacoa" from which you get your barbecue term is technically steaming anyway. The animal was wrapped in wet leaves and steamed over the fire. So, if wet leaves aren't used is it still bbq?

For these reasons, my personal definition (and that's all it is, and to each his own), is "anything cooked over or near a wood fire is barbecue."

Every summer when millions of American's are shopping, and they grab a package of chicken legs and say "hey, let's barbecue!" you can say they are technically wrong, but you can't say they are wrong.

I rest my case.

tut said...

Joe Bobs just angry his sister wasn't cooking his bologna,after taking the summer off work I am to tired to cook so buy a roast an cut portions off an put them into cast iron pan when it smokes i turn it then plate an take meat an bag of chips an dip to livingroom an watch T.V an put cut up meat parts an chips an dip in my mouth an chew,um is that eating Chef?

Chef John said...

have another drink.

tut said...

lol ok ,this is the first I have heard about people feuding over whats barbecue and whats not. in canada the barbecue is what we cook on outside,doesn't matter what its fueled with,wood coal gas, if theres no sauce you might say humm looks kinda dry lol,butif your cooking on it your barbecuing,um is this a mason/dixon line thing Chef?

tut said...

oops all that technical barbeque stuf made me forget my question,are the canned green chilies in the salsa recipe very hot Chef? Thx

Chef John said...

No, not at all.

Chef John said...

no so much a mason/dixon line thing, as a drinking out of a mason jar thing! ;-)

tut said...

Thx Chef,that combination of sweet onion and green with hint of garlic looked like a winner was wondering about the heat though,I really like it but my stomach doesn't :( so sads

Luatica said...

I'm so impressed about the "this is not barbecue rant", but failed to explain what barbecue is then.

For me barbecue as cooking technique is defined by the flavor of cooking on coals/wood.

Then, does it really have to be cooked on the item known as barbecue? No clue. Not that it bothers much anyway, because in super awesome France, you can only make BBQ in a few places though it depends on then town it seems, and in mine is super very forbidden :(

Laura said...

Chiming in on the use of "bbq". I was raised in the midwest, where we referred to outdoor/open flame cooking as "grilling" or "cooked on the grill". The apparatus is "a (charcoal/gas/propane/wood) grill". My DH is a native Californian (born & raised in the San Fernado Valley). Just like Tut in Canada, he refers to the grill, itself, as "the barbecue". Outdoor/open flame cooking is "barbecuing, using his vocabulary." Also, he calls the grocery store, "the market". LOL, the market could mean Wall Street to a lot of people!
So, it's not quite a Mason-Dixon line phenomenon, but indeed a regional difference.

But in a restaurant, meat described with the adjective "barbecued" would mean it is prepared by the stricter definition of BBQ, with the exception of Santa Maria BBQ. I'm not sure you can even get tri-tip back in Ohio, unless you request it from a butcher.
If you've ever eaten at Korean restaurant, barbecue means something entirely different from American-style.
Like Chef John explains, all these methods are different from the original barbacoa-style, we adopted the term from.
Wow! This is the first argument on a cooking blog I've seen. Then again, I've only been on female cooking sites.

Laura said...

LOL, I forgot my question, too!
The written transcript calls for parsley in the rub. But doesn't the video call for paprika?
I'm cooking mine today. Paprika makes more sense to me, so that's what I'll use unless by some miracle my question is answered in the next few hours.
Thanks a ton for the actual instructions: hot flame, turn q 3-4 min, then baste. My California boy DH, likes to just throw the meat on and come back just once to turn it.

Chef John said...

no, his rub did have dried parsley in the rub mix. But really paprika works, as almost anything does.

Laura said...

Sorry I didn't get back sooner, but I have to say "Thank YOU, Chef John!"
My tri-tip turned out terrific! I followed your video instructions (turn, then baste). My only problem was it got a little too well done for my preference. It took me about 10 min too long to discover my thermometer was stuck at 110 degrees.
I'm excited to make another one. The rub with paprika, along with your recipe for baste, is the best!