Smoked Tri Tip Tacos
Eating healthier can be a challenge. We want to put nutrients into our body, but we also want to feel satisfied and eat foods that taste good. As someone who loves to cook and loves to eat, I really care about what my food tastes like. I am also someone who is struggling to let go of the vanity I possessed in the earlier years of my life and super mad at myself for hating by body 10 years ago when it was actually amazing. The challenges of feeding kids, eating food that tastes good and that is good for you as well as balancing work and home to do lists does not allow much time to hunt down drool worthy recipes that are good for you, but do not necessarily taste like it.
If you are a new reader to the magazine or my articles, I used to be on the Food Network what seems like a million years (or multiple duty assignments) ago. We had a challenge where we were put head to head with another contestant on Food Network Star with a new show concept/idea. The theme I was given was “Cheat Eats”. I could have gone the traditional route and given the judges something filled with gooey cheeses or lots of butter and decadent sweets, but I took it a different direction. I wanted to introduce foods that felt like “Cheat Eats” but were really pretty good for you; foods like tacos and pastas. Unfortunately for me, although the flavor of my food was praised my competitor went the traditional cheat eats route and beat me out in that round. Luckily for you, since I do not have my husband’s metabolism, I have mastered flavorful food that isn’t going to tip the scale.
Everyone loves tacos. We also do what I call Basic-B tacos at my home, but I also like to do things a little bit more elevated from time to time. These Tri Tip Tacos are full of flavor and will completely satisfy your adult taco cravings without the need to hunt down a taco truck. We smoked our tri tip, but you could also grill yours if you do not have a smoker at home.
For the Beef:
3 lbs tri tip beef
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp black pepper
2 tbsp smoked paprika
Simply mix the spices together and generously cover your tri tip. We like to do this the night before we smoke it, but make sure you give it at least a few hours so that it can dry brine and lock in flavor.
If you are going to smoke your tri tip, make sure you have a dual read thermometer (one with a meat probe and one with a smoker probe). You are going to smoke the tri tip around 200 degrees. The goal is to get the internal temperature of the tri tip to 130-135 degrees for the ideal medium-rare cook. This took us about 3 hours. Allow the meat to rest and then slice and serve.
If you are looking to grill your tri-tip it will take about 30-50 minutes, the internal temperature should still read 130-135 for a medium rare cook.
For the Guacamole:
1/2 - 3/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves
1/4 – ½ cup diced pickled jalapenos (the pickled flavor adds to the guac for sure)
2-3 limes, juice and zest
1/4 tsp salt, more to taste
1/4 tsp pepper, more to taste
Open and finely cube the avocadoes, emptying them into a lidded bowl.
Add all the other ingredients and smoosh together with a fork until well incorporated.
Save the avocado pits and put them in your guacamole to keep it from browning quickly.
Store in the refrigerator in a lidded container until ready to serve.
For the Chimichurri:
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 red wine vinegar
1/2 cup cilantro 1/2 cup parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1. This is a tough one guys. Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until all of the herbs are in little flecks.
Tortillas- I like to use corn tortillas, but you can use either. If your grocery store has “raw” tortillas that you can cook on the stove top (look in the refrigerated section, normally by cinnamon rolls and biscuits) those have the best flavors.
Roasted Red Peppers- I char mine on my gas stove top. If you do not have a gas stove you can broil them or purchase them from the store.
Putting it all Together:
This is pretty self explanatory, but first you take your tortilla, then you add the tri tip, guac, chimichurri and roasted red peppers. I like to squeeze more lime and add cotija and radishes to mine as well. Enjoy!