As is common for most people who grew up or have lived in California, Tri Tip (click here for Wikipedia description) is a favorite grilling meat of mine. Traditionally this sirloin cut of meat is seasoned with either a dry rub or marinate, then slowly cooked to perfection on the grill. But for as much as I enjoy this particular cut of meat, one of my best friends is slightly obsessed with it and freely labels any delicious Tri Tip he samples as “Outstanding.”
Hence the last time I crashed at his house, I decided to prepare Tri Tip for dinner…a Tri Tip like he had never had before.
My gluttonous mind had presented me with the slightly out of bounds idea of using ground Tri Tip to make hamburgers, though there was a serious concern that since the meat is usually leanly cut there wouldn’t be enough fat to create a balanced burger. A short conversation with the local butcher alleviated my apprehension and I had him grind up healthy sized Tri Tip from the case.
I wanted simple flavors for this burger, so that nothing would impede our taste buds from enjoying the uniqueness of the meat in hamburger patty form. Therefore, I settled on the combination of beer caramelized onions, the delicious flavor of Black Forest bacon from Whole Foods, and Swiss cheese, served on brioche buns. The meat itself was only seasoned with salt and pepper.
As it turned out the burgers were up to snuff and proclaimed beyond “Outstanding.” The combination of flavors was absolutely perfect and no additional condiments were needed to satisfy one’s palate.
Note: When preparing the burgers please be sure to follow the steps provide below, which includes quickly freezing the patties to insure the meat is properly cooked.
- 1.5-2 lbs of freshly ground Tri Tip (makes 3-4 patties)
- 1 large yellow onion (thinly sliced)
- 6-8 slices of Black Forest Bacon from Whole Foods (or whatever is available)
- Brioche hamburger buns
- Swiss cheese slices
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- 1/3-1/2 bottle of Lagunitas “The Censored” Rich Copper Ale (click here for Thirsty Thursday review)
- Pour one tablespoon or so of olive oil into a frying pan over medium-low heat. Toss in the onions, season with salt and pepper.
- Caramelizing onions take upwards of 30-45 minutes and a ton of TLC. Continually stir the onions every few minutes and gradually add small amounts of beer, allowing the beer to cook off before adding the next dose.
- The onions are done cooking when they look similar to above and of course pass your taste test. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Cook up your bacon over medium heat in a frying pan to the desired doneness. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Turn your attention to the lean ground tri tip. Toss the meat in a bowl, generously season with salt and pepper, and thoroughly mix with your hands.
- Form the desired sized patties…I made 4 from 1.78 pounds of meat. Plate the patties and place into the freezer for at least 10 but no longer than 15 minutes.
- While the patties are in the freezer, set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. Lightly oil the grill grate with a paper towel or cloth.
- Remove the patties from the freezer and toss em directly on the grill.
- Do Not leave these burgers unattended. Cooking times will vary depending on burger thickness, but they cook quickly. A rough guideline is 4 minutes per side, with a quarter rotation half way through to get your grill marks.
- If you like, be sure to slice and toast the brioche buns on the grill and of course top each patty with a slice of cheese during the final minutes of cooking.
- Slip a cheese covered patty into a bun, top with a healthy helping of caramelized onions, two strips of bacon and you’re good to go. And remember condiments are not needed on this burger and will probably do more harm than good. Enjoy!
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