Tri Tip with Smoked Paprika Mayonnaise

When we first got married, we had monthly budget meetings. This was in fact fun for me, as I enjoy saving money and setting goals—luckily, Colin does as well! I spend $100-150 a month on groceries, and I have a $100 per month clothing budget. It may seem limiting at first, but it is actually so much fun to see what I can get each month and stay within my budget. It’s like a game for me. I get most of my groceries at Trader Joe’s, and I buy most of my clothes online—because who has the time to shop?!

The original recipe of this dish from epicurious called for beef tenderloin. Do you know how expensive that is? I asked the butcher for a 3.5 lb one and when he brought it out and handed it to me all packaged and price-stamped, I felt silly and incredibly cheap all at the same time. I contemplated sneakily putting it with the other packaged meat and letting someone much richer than I purchase it, but that didn’t seem right. So I called Colin and asked him what he thought I should do with this $56.00 cut of meat, which is a 1/3 of my weekly grocery budget. In his usual carefree way, he told me to bring it home and try it out, cut our losses. Was it good? Yes. It was damn good. Will I buy that cut of meat again? No. It would be great for a fancy dinner party, but not on a normal weeknight—unless we start rolling in money soon and only shopping at Whole Foods {my happy place}.

So, I decided to try the recipe out with a cheaper, but still yummy, cut of meat and it was fantastic. All the flavor is still there, and that is all that matters.

Tri Tip with Smoked Paprika Mayonnaise

Serves 4-6


1 3.5-4 pound tri tip

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon olive oil

*2 garlic cloves

1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1 cup organic mayonnaise

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons meat juices from beef, or to taste

*If you have IBS and are going through the elimination period of the low FODMAPs diet, leave the garlic out. I didn’t use it and the meat was still fantastic!


Preheat your oven to 500F with a rack in the middle.

If you are using the garlic, mash it into a paste with 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Stir in paprika, cumin, oil, and 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper.

Pat the tri tip dry and place it in a roasting pan. Rub the spice mixture all over the meat, and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted diagonally 2 inches into the center of the meat registers 120F, 25-35 minutes for medium rare. I cooked mine about 35 minutes.

Transfer the meat to a platter, and cover loosely with foil for at least 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, take about 2 tablespoons of the meat juices, and stir that into the mayo ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.

This would be great served with mashed potatoes and/or roasted veggies. I served mine over arugula to make it a bit lighter. It was delicious!

photo (37)

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