Tri-Tip Sandwiches with Cabernet Cabbage & Blue Cheese Dressing
For this tri-tip recipe we partnered with Chef Justin Wangler, renowned chef and author of the recently-released Season cookbook.
Photo Credit: Alexander Rubin
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.
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.
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 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 lb
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
4 brioche rolls, split, or 8 thick slices country-style bread
1 cup baby arugula
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 with the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Place on the grill over high heat for 4 minutes, flip, 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°F 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.
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.
Pair with Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and enjoy!