Tri-Tip Tacos

Monday, January 16th, 2012 | click here to comment

One of my favorite foods has to be tacos.  I've been spoiled ever since visiting the Bay area, and find myself longing for the delicious, simple tacos you can find at almost any taqueria in the Mission.  I think for me, it's all about the salsa verde.  I don't know what kind of juju they put into it, but it's some seriously addictive and awesome stuff.  I could eat it by the vat and have been known to ask for a tub of it to keep in my fridge, but that's another story.

What do you do when you crave delicious tacos from the West coast, but you're only options for authentic tacos exist in taco trucks that are few and far between, or only come around at odd hours?  You make them at home, of course!  I'm in no way insinuating that the particular tacos I'm talking about here are authentic, they are far from, but they are incredibly flavorful and surprisingly filling.   Plus, they are gluten free - bonus. The hubby has lived all over the U.S., but spent most of his time in Cali, so I defer to him on the taco front.  I just tell him the meat I want, and he goes to town. 

We have been on a tri-tip kick, since trying it one day for chili.  What an incredibly under-promoted piece of meat!  The marbling, the flavor, the ease of cooking - it's crazy you can't find it in more supermarkets.  The only place I've seen good tri-tip, is at Trader Joe's.  We picked some up with the intention to make Beef & Broccoli, but they turned into tacos and I could not have been happier.

You know a sign of a good meal is when you start picking at it before it even hits your dinner plate, the steak came out juicy, and perfectly cooked.  I convinced the boy to share his "recipe" with me so I could share it here.  Keep in mind that the amounts listed are not an exact science, we operate on the "season to taste" method here.  So without further ado, behold!

Tri-Tip Steak Tacos

For meat:

  • 1 lb tri-tip
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup minced cilantro
  • garlic powder, cayenne, salt/pepper, cumin, mexican chili powder (to taste)
  • 1 tblsp Tapatio
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced

For toppings:

  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced,
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • cilantro, minced
  • limes, quartered
  • Optional: 1 can refried beans (Amy's or other gluten free brand), warmed through

For salsa:

  • 1 lb ripe tomatoes (Campari, Vine, or pretty much any tomato will work)
  • 2 to 3 fresh jalapeño chiles (1 to 1 1/2 ounces), stemmed
  • 1 yellow onion, halved
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, loosely packed
  • 1 generous teaspoon salt


Marinate meat with all ingredients for a half hour.  Grill meat until medium (test with fingers).  When cooked, cut meat into cubes and squeeze some lime juice over the meat.  Meanwhile, heat corn tortillas in aluminum foil for 15 minutes, or until heated through and soft (they should be pliable).  Dice toppings. Assemble tacos (beans, meat, veggies, salsa, squirt of lime).  Enjoy!


Heat the broiler. Lay the whole tomatoes, onion, garlic & jalapeños out on a broiler pan or baking sheet (hide garlic underneath pieces of onion to avoid burning). Roast until veggies are just charred. Allow to cool. In a food processor, pulse the veggies until moderately finely chopped, scraping everything down with a spatula as needed to keep it all moving around. Add water and vinegar to give the salsa an easily spoonable consistency. Add cilantro and pulse again until combined. Taste and season with salt, pepper (and vinegar, if needed) until you have the perfect tang and spice you enjoy. 


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