The deliciousness continues! You could call this portion of the sandwich the “secret,” because most people don’t even notice it’s there… until it’s not there. It gives the sandwich such a distinct flavor and nearly MAKES the sandwich as awesome as it is. Leave it out and your sammy becomes plain and ordinary.
What sandwich am I talking about? Only the best bbq tri-tip sandwich ever! Catch-up with the tri-tip here, then come back here and join us for the secret ingredient!
This is the easiest of all the recipes and absolutely vital to the success of your guest-wowing sandwich. Do not try to skip this recipe and put together an amazing tri-tip sandwich with plain butter. It’s simply won’t qualify for amazing-status. I’m sure it’ll be good, but we aiming for amazing. Also don’t skimp on the amount of garlic because you’re tired of peeling it. Persevere through the monotony! If you start this recipe right after the buns, the garlic will has time to permeate the butter. Oh yeah…
Living close to the garlic capital of the world (and using it OFTEN in my kitchen) makes me fairly fluent in garlic-ese, but I know that many people do not have that much experience with garlic, so here’s some background.
Garlic is a bulb and comes from the onion family. This is what a head of garlic looks like:
You know how you have to peel that paper-like stuff from an onion? Well you have to do the same for garlic. Peel it all off and this is what you see.
Those are cloves of garlic. Each clove is also wrapped in that paper-stuff. You need to peel it off in order to get to edible portion of garlic.
There are two basic methods in peeling cloves of garlic. One is to smash it with the flat side of a large knife, a la Rachel Ray. I personally don’t do that because of a fear of cutting myself.
Yes, I know I’m hitting the side of the blade, not the blade itself. Call it a mental block.
The second basic method is to crack the garlic in your hand, creating a break in the “paper” and then peeling the paper off. You know how you crack those glow sticks and shake them up so that they glow in the dark? It’s kinda like that. You don’t want to break the garlic in half (because all you’ve done is doubled your work), but just gently crack the paper. I choose this method because a) I don’t want to cut myself, and b) I find it therapeutic. It’s slightly time consuming, but you do get better and faster with practice. Here’s what peeled cloves look like.
Now you can slice it, chop it, grate it… whatever your recipes call for. You can also do this in large quantities and put the peeled (or chopped, or sliced, etc.) garlic in a container and into the fridge for future recipes. It’ll last for WEEKS (maybe months). I’ve never timed it, but I know it lasts a while, and you’ll save yourself prep-time later.
Need some stress-therapy? Skip the massage and be productive – peel garlic!
Anyway, now that you’re schooled in garlic-ese, here’s the recipe!
1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter
All cloves from one head of garlic, peeled and chopped finely
In a large bowl (or even the final storage container), melt butter in the microwave. Add the garlic and mix well. Allow butter to solidify slowly by coming to room temperature, stirring every 30-45 minutes or so. Butter should be solid but soft when spreading on buns. Store unused butter (if you have any) in the fridge for future use.
If you’ve never seen heads of garlic before or don’t need therapy, you can buy chopped garlic or even garlic paste in the store. Check the condiment isle or the produce section. I’ve never bought it myself (I need therapy), but I know it’s out there!
Since we calculated the per-serving cost of the tri-tip ($1 per person), let’s do the same for the garlic butter. The average head of garlic contains 10 cloves and costs around $.50 each (although probably cheaper if bought in bulk). Like the garlic, I buy butter in bulk at Costco for $1.87/lb. One head of garlic and half a pound of butter (ones stick) puts us at $.99 for the recipe of garlic butter.
Each one of us slathered our buns generously and when the night was over, we still had about 1/4 of the butter left. Since we “ate” 3/4 of the butter (75 cents worth) for 12 sandwiches, each sandwich had .06 cents worth of garlic butter. Our running total for the whole sandwich is up to $1.06 each.
PS – I feel the need to mention that this butter is POTENT and is excellent for garlic bread, but if you ever want to use it on dinner rolls or straight up on plain sliced bread, be sure to have breath mints handy for your loved ones. I do not recommend making this for a first-date.