Category Archives: Food

Single Guy Chef: Barbecue Tri-tip Roast

Since there was a request for the BBQ version of the tri-tip oven roast, here it is. (It might help you to read that recipe first.)

First, prepare the BBQ rub. I like this Carolina BBQ rub that I originally made for pulled pork. I found it works well on beef, too. The only change I made was using pure ancho chile powder instead of your garden variety chili powder. This was suggested by a couple chefs and I think it turned out well, but if you already have the regular stuff then use it. You are nothing if not practical. And lazy.

Trim the roast, and then sprinkle on the rub liberally and rub it in. Let it marry in the fridge overnight. Don’t worry, this is an acceptable union under the current law; it’s not like a man marrying a box turtle. Take the roast out half an hour before grilling so it comes to room temp.

For cooking times, follow the recommendations in your manual, esp. if it’s a Weber. My Weber manual was quite accurate, definitely more than the one for my Viking range. Like all roasts, it will be medium indirect, and it will benefit from smoke. Try mesquite. Avoid tobacco. And don’t flip it while grilling.

One problem I had while taking its temperature is that heat from the grill messed with my digital thermometer. I had to remove it from the grill while checking the temp. Of course, use a meat thermometer, not an oral or rectal one. In fact, if using either of those is even possible, your butcher has executed an elaborate ruse at your expense. Always remember: a tri-tip roast has neither a mouth nor an anus. Words to live by.

Single Guy Chef: Tri-tip Burritos

I saw that tri-tip is about $2/lb. so I thought I’d try my hand at that. Turns out it’s very easy. I’d made it on the grill before and the oven is about the same, minus the good smokey flavor and slightly easier cleanup.

First, get a 3-4 lb. tri-tip roast. Remove the fat. If you’re lazy or short on time you can buy pre-trimmed roasts, but at double the price. $4 a pound??? We’re not Trump here. Once again, the fat removed was about the size of my fist.

Next, preheat the oven to 325. My oven has Bake and Convection Bake settings, but you preheat a lot faster if you start with Bake.

While the oven is preheating you season the meat, which is ridiculously easy. Get yourself some Old World Steak seasoning, which is made by Fire Roasted Creations. OK, it’s not always easy to find. I got mine at Barbeques Galore and you can order it online here. Yes, it’s definitely worth the effort of tracking it down. If you absolutely don’t have time to obtain it, you can substitute McCormick’s Montreal Steak seasoning. It’s more peppery and the flavor is less complex, but it will do in a pinch. Just sprinkle it over the meat, then tap it in with the back of the tongs or a metal spoon. Flip it and repeat. Do this about 10 minutes before baking.

Place the roast on that broiler pan that came with your oven. It might be in that drawer underneath that you never knew existed. You can use a roasting pan, but only if you’re NOT convection baking. Convection baking, which cooks food faster and seals in juices better, requires a very shallow pan so the air can circulate better.

Since this is a roast, you’re shooting for medium, or 145F. Since roasts continue to cook after you’ve removed the heat, you stop when your meat thermometer reads about 140F. To obtain this ideal temperature, put the roast in the oven and set the timer to some random number. I say this because my Viking manual says a 3-4 lb. roast should be done in 30 minutes on convection bake or 35 minutes on bake, and that wasn’t even close. After 30 minutes it read 121F, or mooooo. Another 10 minutes brought it to 131, and another 15 after that brought it to 150. This is at the thickest part of the roast, so it was between medium and medium well, which is a little more done than I’d like it, but good enough.

OK, so the timer should be set for 40 minutes if convection baking and 50 for normal baking, assuming you’re using my oven.

When the desired temperature is reached let the roast sit for 20 minutes. Again, the temperature continues to rise 5-10 degrees while the juices move from the center outward, resulting in more uniformly juicy slices. Slice it thin.

Since meat alone isn’t very filling, I made simple burritos with Spanish rice. All you need to pick up is a box of Zatarains Spanish Rice mix, a 14.5oz can of crushed tomatoes, and some “I Can’t Believe This Shit Ain’t Butter!” or any butter-like substance that isn’t found in your bathroom. Follow the directions on the box – it’s dead simple.

Pick up a pack of Guerrero-brand burrito tortillas or whatever your local tortilleria sells. Before filling, preheat a large skillet to medium, then heat one side for 15 seconds and the other for 10. Fill with the rice and meat and roll like the Mexican ladies at Chipotle. If the meat is on the dry side (or even if it isn’t), you can add sour cream and/or shredded cheese.

Once again, you’ve got dinner for the week! Just remember that the tortillas have to be refrigerated, too.

Single Guy Chef: Italian Beef

Single guys like eating, but generally don’t like cooking. If they do cook, it’s usually on the grill where cleanup is as easy as turning the grill on high and brushing off the cinders. Unfortunately at my new place the grill sucks, and since I quit my job I’m cooking more. So I’m going to share some of the wisdom and experience I get in this new venture. You’ll find the directions are explicit, made for other single guys who have zero cooking experience. Of course, this means the recipes will be much longer than usual, so don’t be scared. The prep and cleanup are easy.

Italian Beef
My friend Jonathan turned me on to Portillo’s, a Chicago chain originally famous for hot dogs. I asked him what to get and he suggested the combo sandwich, which is a combination of Italian beef and sausage. I’ve since gone back many times and never wavered from this selection – just don’t forget to add cheese fries.

So I found a recipe on (which appears to be the best recipe site out there) for Italian beef, citing a certain Chicago chain as the inspiration. Was this, perhaps, Portillo’s??? No. Not even close. Don’t get your hopes up. But it is a damn good beef sandwich, an Italian version of the French dip, and it’s dead simple to make. It requires a crock pot, but I’m finding this is an essential single guy kitchen appliance. So get one if you don’t have one – they’re cheap.
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Fixing Stinky Ice

A couple days ago I dumped all my ice because it smelled like, oh, garlic-flavored ball sweat. This is neither the flavor nor aroma I want in my beverages. So I made a new batch a few days ago and guess what? It stinks, too.

I know, I need one of those boxes of baking soda for the freezer (there’s one in the refrigerator and most of my frozen food is in sealed bags), but that doesn’t help me right now. Then I thought about how fresh ice doesn’t taste bad, as it doesn’t have time to absorb the odors. Maybe a little while freezing, but ice freezes from the outside in.

So I tried a simple experiment: I threw in 2-3 times the ice I needed in a colander and ran it under water until it shrunk to about half volume. Amazingly, it worked! You can actually wash the stink off of ice. Now my iced tea tastes like tea and not Shaq’s jock after a trip to The Stinking Rose and a playoff game. Huzzah!

I know this seems completely obvious, but I’ve never witnessed anyone doing this or talking about it, so I thought I’d throw it out there.

Weber Spirit 310: The Best Cheap Gas Grill You Can Buy

Update 6/30/2009: Thanks to my new roommate, I now have some serious hands-on experience with this grill. I still stand by my recommendation (and more importantly, everyone has remained happy with their purchase), but I’m amending some of my statements. See the additional text in italics.

A couple friends have asked me what cheap gas grills I recommend. This is not familiar territory, as I’m usually off dreaming about the Weber Summit. [ Weber ] [ Amazon ]

Weber Summit S-650

It’s the only grill I know of with a pull-out smoker box with it’s own burner. When you’re doing traditional slow and low barbecue and have to add wood chips every 1/2 hour, it’s a dream come true. But it’s also around $1,500 – not cheap.

If you want a cheap (around $400) gas grill that’s also high quality, you only have one choice: the Weber Spirit E-310. [ Weber ] [ Amazon ]

Weber Spirit E-310

IMHO, everything else is a poor investment. Here’s why.
Continue reading Weber Spirit 310: The Best Cheap Gas Grill You Can Buy

Crank Is Bad For Your Tank

This summer, when you fill your empty propane tank with anhydrous ammonia to make a delicious batch of methamphetamine, you could be damaging your tank! Smart meth-heads are using tanks they get from tank exchange programs like Blue Rhino. If you see a blue/green residue on your tank’s fittings, it’s time to turn it into your local tank exchange – whether it be in Riverside County or San Bernadino County – so it can blow up in some other asshole’s face. Remember, a smoldering trailer is a sad trailer. If you don’t believe me, take it from Hank Hill.

Free WiFi at Starbucks

Starbucks is now giving away 2 hours of free wifi per day. Yeah, there’s a catch. From USA Today:

The Wi-Fi freebie will be available starting Tuesday to customers who purchase a minimum $5 reloadable Starbucks Card, register online for the Starbucks Rewards Card program, and use the card at least once a month. The two hours must be consecutive. New members also receive a voucher for a free drink.

Also, if you register your gift card, you get perks:

Rewards program members who register online already receive free syrup and milk options with drinks as well as free refills of hot and iced brewed coffees and a free drink when they buy a pound of coffee beans.

Full article here.

Coolio’s Business Philosophy

Coolio was on Kevin and Bean this morning, promoting Cookin’ With Coolio. They asked him if he’d do weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc. and Coolio said yes. When they were surprised at this, Coolio clarified: “Everything is for sale, it’s just not on sale.” I dig it. He’s no different from Jay-Z, Sir Elton John, and every other superstar who accepts ridiculous fees to do private parties. It’s just a matter of negotiating the price.


For the Simpsons movie, several 7-11s have been converted to Kwik-E-Marts. Finally, a reason to go to Burbank! And there’s one in LA, too. They’ve got all sorts of cool Simpsons products, like Frosted Krusty-Os, Squishees, Buzz Cola, and doughnuts with pink frosting and sprinkles. If they have half a brain, they’ll stay like that forever. The page for the photo set lists several other locations, so cross your fingers, maybe there’s one in your area of the country.