Merlot California

Appetizer

Smoked Tri-Tip Nachos

Smoked Tri-Tip Nachos

Ingredients

For the tri-tip:
1 cup water
⅓ cup unfiltered cider vinegar
1 oz. whole dry chipotle peppers
⅓ cup rice oil or other neutral flavored oil
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp. dry oregano
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2½ - 3 lb. tri-tip roast
4 cups hickory chips, soaked in water for at least 1 hour

For the salsa:
3 jalapeño peppers
8 ripe Roma tomatoes, diced
7 tomatillos, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red onion, minced
20 sprigs fresh cilantro leaves, picked & chopped
⅓ cup unfiltered cider vinegar
⅓ cup red verjus
1 Tbsp., plus 1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 lime, juiced

For the quick guacamole:
3 avocados, cut in half & pits removed
¼ cup sour cream, plus extra for serving
1 tsp. kosher salt

To serve:
2 (12 oz.) bags unsalted corn tortilla chips
1 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 lb. Monterey jack cheese, shredded

Directions

In a small sauce pan, combine the water, vinegar and dry chipotle peppers. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or until the peppers become soft and completely hydrated. Remove from the liquid and cool. Once cool, remove the stems and seeds and place the peppers in a blender. Add oil, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper; puree to a thick paste. Rub the roast completely with the paste and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Remove tri-tip from refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour prior to smoking or grilling.

If using a smoker, try to keep the temperature between 225-250⁰F degrees. This method should achieve a medium-rare temperature (130⁰F) in approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes depending on smoker temperature.

If using a grill, use indirect heat and an aluminum foil package for the wood chips (heating only one side of the grill). To make a smoker out of a grill, simply place 2 cups of the soaked wood chips on a sheet of aluminum foil and roll into a tube. Close off both ends of the roll and poke holes in the top. If using a gas grill, place the rolls on top of the heat shields in the grill. If using charcoal, place the rolls next to the hot coals by the center of the grill.

Preheat grill/smoker and place tri-tip roast on the grate over the unheated side. Close the lid and smoke at 225-250⁰F for 1 hour. Then place the roast over the hot coals and grill each side for 5 to 6 minutes to create a bark from the rub and cook to desired temperature (130⁰F for medium rare). Remove from the grill and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Slice thin against the grain and then cut in to strips for the nachos.

For the salsa:
Roast the jalapeño peppers over an open flame until the skin is charred. Remove the skin, the stems and seeds. Dice the peppers to approximately 1/8-inch. Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Place half of the salsa in a blender to finely cut, being careful not to puree. Combine the blended salsa with the diced salsa. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate. This salsa is best when prepared a day in advance to allow the flavors to develop.

For the quick guacamole:
Scoop out the flesh of the avocados and place in a bowl. Using a fork, combine avocados, ½ cup of reserved salsa, sour cream and salt.

To serve:
Preheat oven to 350⁰F. Place the shredded cheddar and Monterey jack in a large bowl and toss to combine.

Divide the tortilla chips among three half-sheet pans and liberally top with sliced tri-tip. Drizzle with salsa and smother with shredded cheese. Place in oven and bake for 8 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve immediately with salsa, sour cream and guacamole on the side.

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