Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Cautionary Tale: Bourbon Braised Tri-Tip and Sweet Vinegar Coleslaw

This post is as much a what-not-to-do as it is a how-to. There are some basic facts that I am completely aware of, but somehow let totally escape my mind. They are: Bourbon is alcohol; when alcohol cooks, it gives off a flammable gas; when a flammable gas comes in contact with a heat source, it explodes!

Do you see where I'm going with this?

As one does when braising meat, I seared my tri-tip in a dutch oven, added my marinade as a braising liquid and happily placed it in the oven. A short time later, as I'm making the coleslaw... WHOOSH! Oven door flies open, fireball flies out, I smell singed hair and quickly realize how stupid I had just been.

After putting out the alcohol that was still burning, I pulled the Dutch oven out and put it back on the stove. With the lid off, I used a fireplace lighter to burn off the remaining alcohol.

Afterward, we all laughed at my stupidity, but it could have been much worse. I will not be making that mistake again.

A little more explanation, I had originally planned to use the marinade with tri-tip steaks, which were supposed to be on sale at our local market. All they had was the roast and my brain just didn't put it all together when I decided to braise instead of grill.

All this said, whether braising or grilling, tri-tip takes some care. It is very lean and can dry out if over-cooked. Thus my decision to braise. The roast still got a little more done than I would have liked, but the bourbon marinade and braise gave it a wonderful flavor. The light sweetness of the slaw was a wonderful counterpoint. I served it with fresh sweet corn.

A 4-ounce serving of tri-tip is 216 calories with 9 grams of fat and no fiber. A serving of slaw works out to 90 calories with 7 grams of fat and 2 of fiber.

Let's eat!

Bourbon Braised Tri-Tip 
Makes 8 servings
Ingredients :
1 2-1/2 pound tri-tip roast
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon tarragon
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup bourbon
1/2 cup apple cider
1 teaspoon canola oil

Tub meat with salt and tarragon. Combine garlic, bourbon and cider in a zippered plastic bag. Add meat and let marinade about 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 425F. Remove roast and reserve marinade. In a dutch over, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sear all sides of roast, about 3 minutes each. Add marinade and, using a torch or fireplace lighter, light bourbon on fire until all the alcohol burns off. Cover and place in the oven. Cook until internal temperature reaches 130F. Remove and let rest 10 minutes, internal temperature will increase to about 145, or medium rare.

Sweet Vinegar Coleslaw
Makes 8 servings
1 16-ounce bag coleslaw mix (feel free to shred a combination of cabbage and carrots)
1 medium onion, fine diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 tablespoon sugar

In a large bowl, combine slaw, onion and celery.

In a small pot, over medium heat, combine vinegar, oil, salt and sugar, bring to a boil. Pour over cabbage mixture, mix well, cover and refrigerate.

Deal of the Day: It is time to get back out to the grill with new tools.

Beef Tri-Tip on FoodistaBeef Tri-Tip

Sweet Vinegar Coleslaw on FoodistaSweet Vinegar Coleslaw


JillyAn said...

Oh Wow...that SO sounds like something I would do! Hopefully it didn't singe much but a couple of hairs and maybe the ego..LOL. Luckily it didn't blow the oven door right off the hinges! That aside, the recipe sounds great and I will have to make this my husband...maybe this weekend.

Isabelle said...

Oh my... I guess making dinner and Michael Bay movies do have something in common after all! :) Glad your roast turned out well after its little adventure.
Tri-tip is really hard to find in Canada (apparently, it's a very American sort of cut), but I might try this with an eye of round or some other lean beef roast... the combination of flavours in the braising liquid sounds absolutely delicious.

Susan at One Less Thing said...

That is a frightening story. Thank God no injuries or damages. And thanks for reminding us to always burn off alcohol when cooking. Good Grief!

DailyChef said...

Whew - glad you are okay! I've never created a fireball before, but definitely have set things on fire...

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

This sounds great! Thanks for sharing your recipe . I cook a lot with wine but I'm definitely interested in cooking more with bourbon!

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