Traveling Circus: Cooking Dinner for Six – Proteins

Magneto and I brought up a rack of baby back ribs from Los Angeles, knowing that between six people, we’d best have two proteins to make sure everyone would have their fill without running out of anything.

Because our house had a big grill out back, we decided to have two meats: ribs and tri tip. The tri tip came from Five Dot Ranch, their butcher shop at the Oxbow Public Market being one of our favorite meat locations. My dad brought up a tasty rub in preparation for the meat, his own concoction of ground coffee, chiles, salt, and a secret ingredient he whispered and I missed. Alas, I must have had wine in my ears…

I took a couple tablespoons of that rub, added smoked paprika and Italian seasoning, and created my own rub for the ribs. I wanted to make sure that the two meats were different but had a cohesive flavor profile between them. We rubbed both meats down about an hour before grilling to allow the spices to kick in without becoming overpowering. First, we put the ribs on, wrapped in foil for the first hour.

Medium on the tips, almost medium-rare in the middle, this tri tip was one of the best we’ve made that didn’t come from my dad’s smoker.

Then, we removed the foil, placed them on the top rack, and added the tri tip. The grill was seasoned enough that we could put the meat straight on without oil, leading to a really lovely crust on the outside. We also added some bacon-wrapped hot dogs, since Magneto found some all-beef uncured hot dogs at Five Dot and couldn’t resist.

We finished cooking the meats at 325F, allowing a nice little pink ring to form around the tri tip, and the ribs to get some delicious crunchy char on the tips. I brushed on a thin coating of sauce made from ketchup, brown deli mustard, strawberry jam, and Worcestershire sauce about 20 minutes before pulling from the heat to create a classic BBQ glaze on the ribs.

Bacon-wrapped hot dogs, ribs, tri tip…and a bottle of 2001 Rubicon from Inglenook from my dad’s personal collection. Perfection.

The proteins were certainly the star of the show, and our moms couldn’t have been prouder of the dads and us for pulling together a tasty meal.

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