Thursday, September 23, 2010

Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip and Trapiche Malbec

The nice folks at Trapiche sent over a half case of Malbec to see how well it might pair with BBQ. Knowing that 'cue is normally paired with nothing more expensive than High Life or Big Red, I was anxious to see how it might pair with an Argentine red. Rather than going for brisket or ribs, I decided to try a more refined style of BBQ too. Santa Maria style 'cue has been on my mind for some time, and I was happy for the chance to give it a shot. I picked up a couple of nice looking tri-tips at Central Market, but I had some trouble finding the traditional Red Oak used for Santa Maria BBQ. My answer came at Hirsch's Specialty Meats in Plano. They have the best selection of hard woods for smoking, including red oak, and it's all available in bulk. Also available are freshly smoked ribs. I wasn't there for ribs, but I had to give them try.

Baby backs from Hirsch's

The ribs were definitely done right with a thin layer of subtle sauce. The texture was great and they got some good smoke from their Traeger smoker.

After the smoker was up and running with the charcoal fire, I put on a load of green onions seasoned with salt, pepper and olive oil. They were served with a romesco sauce and some sliced linguisa also from Hirsch's. The sausage was perfectly spiced with a unique flavor. It was time to uncork some Malbec. The wine proved to be good for sipping as well as a good pairing for the spicy sausage.

Now it was time for the main course. While at Hirsch's, I noticed a lone Wagyu tri-tip in the case, and it was simply impossible to leave it behind. I seasoned all three of the tri-tips that I now had in my possession with coarse sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper and plenty of garlic powder. I started them over the charcoal and red oak fire to get a good sear and grill marks, then transferred them to hot side of the smoker which was now at 375 degrees. It took only 15 more minutes to reach a nice medium rare which is pretty much instant gratification if your used to smoking briskets.

More wine was poured at the table, and the sliced meat was served. The subtle beefiness of the choice tri-tips were no match for the intense flavor of the wagyu tri-tip. The marbling was even evident after cooking, and some thought the taste reminiscent of bacon. It was an eye-opening experience for a wagyu virgin. The Malbec provided a good counterpoint to the bold beefiness without overpowering it. It really was a good pairing.

At the end of the feast, the wine was gone, and so was the wagyu. Luckily it was time for homemade ice cream and corn whiskey cocktails.

- BBQ Snob

1 comment:

the_sneeb said...

you've got the life, snob.


Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.