TAHOE/TRUCKEE — I remember asking my dad, when I was very young and Father’s Day was approaching, “when is kids’ day?” He looked up from under my mini bike he was fixing and said. “Every day is kids day.”
Well, he is always going to be the dad, meaning you are always going to be the kid, so you will probably never be able to even the score there. But what you can do this Father’s Day is go the extra mile to make it truly memorable — in a good way.
First of all, we all know from experience Pop is not the bed-in-breakfast type. Even blowing out his knee during your soccer practice couldn’t get him to sleep in past 5:30. It’s like dads still think they are the regions’ early settlers and have to get up to tend the livestock, even if it is only a 12-year-old Jack Russell Terrier (to be fair, Sparky can be handful).
So this year why not play into that rugged, Marlboro Man delusion and treat dad to a dinner straight from the prairie? That’s right — a home where the buffalo roam. I have had buffalo tri-tip three times in the past two months while my friend Rick Rucker has been perfecting it. Yes, Rick is the GM at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Truckee, but don’t get all excited and think they will be serving it at their free breakfast buffet. Guests only! You know who you are.
This was a personal goal he took on to ... well, I don’t know why. You’d have to ask him. The point is, Rick has succeeded and his buffalo tri-tip is one of the best dining experiences I have had the pleasure of featuring in this column. It is lean, but succulent, juicy and loaded with flavor. It is so Father’s Day worthy I had to dress up the plate with a neck tie in honor of the day celebrating our bread winning patriarchs.
I know, this is Truckee-Tahoe and I could have used, like, a tool belt. Who wears a tie among us besides, maybe, the D.A.? How do I know that? No reason, Pop, no reason! (Such a long story, really.) Whatever your father’s occupational adornments, this is one dinner that says “I love you!” or “I’m sorry” in any lingo.
Buffalo Tri-Tip in Maker’s Mark Marinade
Buffalo tri-tip can only be purchased locally at Village Meats in Incline Village (775-831-6243) who will have them available, ordered specially for this Father’s Day weekend. Otherwise, securing one does require a drive to Whole Foods in Reno. If neither of those options work out, you can substitute a nice beef trip tip using the same rub/marinade and grilling in your preferred style.
11⁄4-13⁄4 pound buffalo tri-tip
4 tbls. chili powder
2 tbls. paprika
6 tbls. golden brown sugar
2 tbls. kosher salt
2 tsp. ground back pepper
2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. ground cumin
4 tbls. Maker’s Mark bourbon
1 cup canola oil
Combine chili powder, paprika, brown sugar, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, bourbon and oil. Rub liberally onto the tri-tip. Place on plate, cover and refrigerate about four hours. To grill the buffalo is pretty much the same process as grilling a beef tri-tip. Use a medium-high, indirect heat on the grill. For rare, your internal temperature should be 140ºF (about 35 minutes); medium rare, 160ºF (35-40 minutes); medium, 170ºF (40 minutes); well done — you are on your own.
This coleslaw/salad packs a punch that gets your glands watering more than a Sour Skittle (those things are brutal.) It is time consuming to make and requires a variety of spices, but this is a special occasion. If the tri-tip marinade proved to be your budgetary swan song, then you can fore-go the Chow-Chow and serve a nice green salad with a light balsamic dressing instead.
3 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
3 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
2 cups bite sized pieces of cauliflower
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1⁄4 cup thinly sliced onion
1⁄2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1⁄2 cup thinly sliced green bell pepper
3 tbls. kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 pint cider vinegar
2 tsp. celery seed
2 tsp. dry mustard
3⁄4 tsp. mustard seed
1⁄4 tsp. turmeric
1⁄2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
2 quart sized mason jars, or similar heat-proof containers
Combine the vegetables in large bowl; sprinkle with tablespoon of salt and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for about four hours. Remove from refrigerator and transfer the mixture to a colander in the sink. Rinse and drain vegetables twice. Place drained vegetables on a sheet pan lined with several layers of paper towels; blot dry with more paper towels. Place the vegetables into the two clean quart-sized Mason jars. Combine the sugar, vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons salt and the spices in a non-aluminum pot; bring to boil, remove from heat and immediately pour into the jars, making sure vegetables are fully covered. Let the jars cool slightly; cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.