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La Caja China Tri-tip Sliders

Posted by Chef Perry Perkins on

La Caja China Tri-tip Sliders

~Chef Perry Perkins~

The Menu

Tri-tip Sliders w/ Sweet Balsamic Onions
Carolina Pork Ribs*
Sweet & Savory Bacon Wrapped Dates*
Simply Awesome Green Beans*
Kale Bacon Slaw*
Sangue Rosso Sangria*

*Full menu from La Caja China Party!


Perfect Tri-Tip Sliders

The tri-tip is a cut of beef from the bottom sirloin primal cut. It's a small triangular muscle, usually
1.5 to 2.5 lbs.

In the US, this cut was typically used for ground beef or sliced into steaks until the late 1950s, when
Otto Schaefer marketed it in Oakland, California.

Shortly thereafter, it became a local specialty in Santa Maria, California, rubbed with salt, pepper, garlic salt, and other seasonings, grilled over red oak wood, roasted whole on a rotisserie, smoked in a pit, baked in an oven, grilled, or braised by putting a pot on top of a grill.

The tri-tip is still often labeled the "Santa Maria steak".

Most popular in the Central Coast and Central Valley regions of California, it has begun to enjoy increasing popularity elsewhere for its full flavor, lower fat content, and comparatively lower cost.

When grilled properly, pink and tender, tri-tip might just be my all-time favorite cut of beef.

The Recipe

2 (3-pound) tri-tips, trimmed
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbs. coarse black pepper
4 Balsamic Grilled Onions (below)
16 slider rolls, toasted
2 cups sweet balsamic onions (recipe below)

½ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup fine sea salt
24 slider rolls
Oak wood chunks
1 cup Queso (Mexican Cheese Sauce)

Pat meat dry and place in 1 or 2 gallon resealable plastic bag. Sprinkle in the spices, oil, and lime juice. Seal bag and massage until meat is well rubbed and spices are evenly coating.

Refrigerate overnight (8-12 hours minimum) then allow to rest at room temp 2 hours before grilling.

Build a 2-zone fire on your top grill, adding oak chunks to smoke.

Place tri-tips on the grill, over direct heat. Grill 3-5 minutes per side (there are 5 sides to a tri-tip).

Reove from heat now, for rare tri-tip, or move meat to “warm” end of the fire and cook another 10-15 minutes, tented in foil, or until cooked to desired "doneness."

Personally I like them rare (pulling off the grill at around 125F)

Remove the tri-tips from the grill and let rest on a warm plate, 10-15 minutes before slicing thinly across the grain.

This resting time might be the most important ingredient to a perfectly grilled piece of meat.

If you cut into your tri-tip without resting...it will suck, trust me.

Slice thinly across the grain, and serve immediately on slider rolls with balsamic onions and queso.

Serves 10-12

Sweet Balsamic Onions

4 large sweet onions
2 tsp Favorite bbq seasoning/rub
Olive oil cooking spray

1 cup quality balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoon crushed garlic
Salt & ground black pepper

Lay out 4 sheets of double thick foil, and spray the top of each with oil. Cut ends off onions, and peel.

Quarter each onion and wrap in foil (keeping the quarters together), leaving the tops open.

Sprinkle each ½ tsp of bbq seasonings, 1 tsp of garlic over the top of each, ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and seal the tops.

Place these over the coals 15-20 minutes before the tri-tips go on (coals can still be ashing over), turning occasionally, over the hot end of the fire.

When the tri-tips go on, move onions to the “warm end” and continue to turn a few times while the meat cooks.

When the meat is done, pull off the onions and (carefully) open the top of the foil to let excess steam escape. Stir onions and allow to rest alongside the tri-tip.


Chef Perry P. Perkins comes from a long line of professional cooks.

As a third generation chef, he focuses his love of cooking on barbeque, traditional southern fare, and fresh
Northwest cuisine. Perry runs a non-profit organization. MY KITCHEN Outreach Program, which teaches nutrition, shopping, and hands on cooking classes or at risk youth.

His cookbooks include La Caja China Cooking, La Caja China World, La Caja China Party, and La Caja China Grill.

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