Chile Rubbed Sirloin Tip Roast

As with so many good things that have come into my kitchen recently, the initial inspiration for this one comes from Shauna, aka Gluten-Free Girl. She posted to twitter how much she loved Thomas Keller’s new cookbook, Ad Hoc at Home. I mentioned that I had just received my copy and she then convinced me in 140 characters that I needed to make his lentil and sweet potato soup. Which I did. And it is stellar.

Cooking with Thomas Keller requires far more precision than I’m used to. I cook by instinct and impulse, making a mess across the kitchen as I go. Thomas urges you to slow down, prep and cook precisely…this is a meditative practice I can definitely use. Cooking his soup took the better part of a morning, requiring much tending and fussing, but the end product is a composed soup where every element is showcased in each spoonful. It’s an incredible thing. But, this post is not (supposed) to be about soup. I set out here to tell you about the amazing roast you see above.

I had a sirloin tip roast from our farm share that had been thawing in the fridge all week awaiting Sunday dinner. The traditional roast beef is not really my cup of tea, which might seem odd considering my love of beef and lamb stews of all varieties, buy hey – we’re all entitled to our culinary quirks, right?! Knowing how incredible the meat from our farm share is, I did want to do right by the roast, and cook it properly.

Searching around the web, I had a hard time coming up with cooking instructions for this particular type of roast. It’s a very lean cut, so I knew that a slow braise was not going to be the best use of this beauty. Stumped, I gave up and curled up on the couch with Thomas’ mammoth cookbook and set to reading, cup of tea in hand. Turning to the meat section – there it was! Thomas explained what I didn’t know…that a sirloin tip roast is also called a “tri-tip.” He outlined his preferred method of cooking the roast…which is the basis for this recipe, though I’ve streamlined a few steps, changed direction in the flavor profile to a slightly earthy, quasi-Mexican combination and added some aromatics for the basis of a simple pan sauce to spoon over the sliced meat.

The finished roast was a perfect medium-rare, sliced like butter and wonderfully tender. I think Thomas would approve.

Sirloin Tip Roast
Serves: a crowd

2 sprigs rosemary
3 cloves garlic, divided
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
red wine
1 1/2 T ancho chile powder
1 1/2 T smoked paprika
grapeseed oil for searing

1 sprig rosemary
5 thin slices of lemon
1 leek, green ends trimmed off, and sliced in half lengthwise
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 tsp kosher salt

For pan sauce:
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup red wine
1 T butter
fresh ground black pepper
kosher salt

  1. The day before you plan to cook the roast, combine the smoked paprika and ancho chile powder in a small bowl and set aside. Mince 1 sprig of rosemary and 2 cloves of garlic, and set aside.
  2. Remove the roast from the fridge, and pat dry. Look closely at the roast – if you’re using a sirloin tip, there will be a few veins of silverskin throughout the roast. With luck, you should be able to slide your knife in next to the first vein of silverskin and butterfly the roast, opening one flap. Gently pushing your knife underneath the silverskin, trim it out. Look for the next vein of silverskin and again slide your knife under, continuing to open the roast like a book and trim out the silverskin. Continue trimming out the roast until all the silverskin has been removed.
  3. Sprinkle the minced rosemary and garlic on the inside of the roast, then roll the roast up into a tight log. Take your kitchen twine, and tie the roast up, encircling the roast with knotted twine every two inches. Once the roast is tied, take the chile mixture (reserve about a tablespoon of the chile mixture for the next day), and sprinkle it over the roast, patting it into the meat. Wrap the roast tightly in plastic wrap and stash in the fridge overnight.
  4. Cooking the roast: Remove the roast 1 1/2 hours before you plan to cook it so that it comes to room temperature. Remove the plastic wrap and pat it dry with paper towel. Combine the reserved chile mixture with 1 tsp of kosher salt and rub it into the outside of the roast. Let the roast sit for an hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Take out a roasting pan (or quarter sheet pan like I used). Pile the diced aromatics into the middle of the pan – carrots, onion, lemon slices, 1 rosemary sprig, celery and one clove of smashed garlic. Add 1/4 tsp kosher salt sprinkled on top. Take the halved leek, and set it at the ends of the pile of veggies to create a roasting stand for the beef to sit on while it roasts.
  6. Searing the roast: Heat a large stainless steel skillet over medium heat to get it scorching hot. Add some oil to the pan to coat the bottom, then gently place the meat in the pan. Sear for 2 minutes on each side, then place the roast on top of the aromatics and roast in the oven until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees (for a medium-rare roast). Once the roast reaches temperature, remove the roast from the oven and place on a carving board and loosely cover with aluminum foil. Let the meat rest for 25 minutes before carving.
  7. While the meat rests, make the pan sauce. Place the sheet pan with the aromatics over a burner turned to medium. Add 1/2 cup of chicken stock and 1/3 cup red wine. Bring to a boil, stirring the aromatics. Reduce the liquids by half, then place a strainer over a small saucepan and pour the pan sauce and aromatics into the strainer. Press on the aromatics with a spoon to get drain all of the liquid into the pan. Place the pan back on the heat and bring to a boil. Add 1 T butter, and stir to melt the butter. Turn the burner off, leaving the pan on the burner until the meat is carved, then spoon the sauce over the sliced meat.