Chimichurri is a classic Argentine sauce made from parsley, oregano, garlic, and red wine vinegar. We generally see it in it’s green form, chimichurri verde.. Here is a great recipes for chimi’s lesser known cousin chimichurri roja or red chimichurri sauce.
It’s amazing how adding a little paprika and tomato (in this case tomato paste) to essentially the same sauce will change it’s entire character. The sauce becomes much more earthy and robust in flavor… very umami in character. I used a combination of sweet paprika and smoked paprika because I like the idea of a little smoky flavor, but didn’t want it to overpower the other flavors in the sauce. Plus all smoked paprikas are not created equal, so best to give a little taste test adding a little at a time before committing. I also decided to use fresh Fresno chilies in place of dried red pepper flakes for the flavor of the chile rather than just heat.
Don’t be overwhelmed and not make this sauce just because it has a few ingredients. The spices are pretty basic and are most likely already in your pantry. Just measure straight in to the food processor, blitz it a few time and it’s done!
Grilled Tri Tip with Smoky Red Chimichurri
serves six to eight
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pound tri tip roast, timmed
For the chimichurri:
2 cups Italian parsley, packed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Fresno (or red jalapeno) chilies
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons double-concentrated tomato paste (the kind in the tube, not the can)
2 1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika and/or smoked paprika (I used half of each)
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Two-zone direct and indirect
Place tri tip in a shallow baking dish just big enough to hold it or in a resealable plastic bag.
Place all of the ingredients for the chimichurri, except the olive oil, in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the motor running, add oil in a steady stream. Measure out 1 cup of sauce, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve with the tri tip. (The chimichurri will keep in the refrigerator for three to four days.) Pour the remaining sauce over the meat and make sure that all sides are well-coated. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours or as long as overnight.
Remove the meat from the marinade and scrape away excess marinade. Season liberally with salt and pepper and let sit at room temperature for an hour to take the chill off the meat.
Set up grill for both direct grilling over medium-high heat and also a zone for indirect heat. Sear meat fat side up until well-marked and a little charred. Turn and repeat on the other side.
Move to the indirect area, cover grill and and grill until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 125°F to 130°F, about 30 minutes. Tri tip is best served rare to medium rare… medium should be your upper most limit of doneness; overcooking can dry the meat, leaving it tough and unappetizing.
Transfer meat to a cutting board and let rest 15 minutes before slicing. Slice thinly on the bias and across the grain. Serve with reserved chimichurri sauce… and oh, this will make some amazing sandwiches or even a fantastic steak salad!
Cheers and Happy Grilling!