Califonia Bountiful
Main Dish

Barbecued top block

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5 lbs. top block, 3 inches thick (whole top sirloin)
Salt, pepper and garlic salt, to taste


Just before you light the fire, remove the meat from the refrigerator to allow it to rise to near room temperature. Trim excess fat from meat, leaving about 1/4 inch. Sprinkle both sides of meat with seasonings and set aside. Light the fire and let it burn down to the coals. While red oak is used in authentic Santa Maria-style barbecue, hardwoods indigenous to your area may be substituted for similar results.

Quickly sear the meat, fat side down, to seal in the juices, then cook it slowly for about 1 hour, turning occasionally. The Righettis suggest cooking the meat to medium rare. (The government defines medium rare as an internal temperature of 145 degrees, but many chefs prefer 125 to 135 degrees.) Slice meat 1/4 inch thick. Serve immediately and have plenty of salsa and fixings on hand.

Barbecue tips and tricks:

  • Prime and Choice grades of beef are the best.
  • Beef aged for at least a month will be the most tender.
  • Keep leaner cuts moist by basting them with olive oil, butter and seasonings.
  • The hotter the fire, the less smoke created.

Serves 6 to 8

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