From Justin Wangler – Kendall Jackson Winery
Some of the best barbecue cooks in the country gathered in Sonoma County this summer for the second annual Wine Country Big Q.
This is the only event in California wine country sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society , an organization made of trained judges, and serious teams competing for cash and bragging rights.
It was a gorgeous day on the athletic fields of the Sonoma Academy where crowds were lured by live music, smoky, delicious smells, great wine and the fun spirit of the BBQ teams.
Among the food and wine tents was Kendall Jackson Winery and its executive chef of eight years, Justin Wangler, who won the People’s Choice Award for the Winery Big Beef Challenge. This is a side competition where wineries grilled tri-tip and paired it with some of their best barbecue-friendly wines.
Wangler’s “Tom Young” Kobe tri-tip sandwich with Cabernet-braised red cabbage and blue cheese buttermilk dressing was served with 2005 Kendall-Jackson Highland Estates Hawkeye Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon . Wangler named the sandwich in honor of Chef Tom Young , a Southern chef, mentor, and one of the first chefs he worked for. Young taught Wangler about food, wine, and barbecue.
Competing in the Winery Big Beef Challenge gave Wangler a chance to check out the professional barbecue teams up close, and now his team has the bug. They’re already starting work on a barbecue “rig” and are considering competing with the pros next year.
Wangler offers some advice for those who like to grill in the comfort of our own backyards:
- Clean and oil your grill before and after cooking.
- Make sure to give the grill adequate time to heat to proper temperature.
- Allow your foods to come to room temperature before grilling.
- Make sure to have ready: salt, pepper, tongs, a clean resting platter for cooked foods and, of course, a proper grilling beverage in hand.
Kobe Tri-Tip Sandwiches with Cabernet Braised Red Cabbage and Blue Cheese & Buttermilk Dressing
Serve with Kendall-Jackson Hawkeye Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Wangler’s favorite tri-tip comes from Snake River Farms in Boise, Idaho. They use American Wagyu beef, often called American Kobe beef. The richness of the Kobe beef pairs wonderfully with the tangy Cabernet braised red cabbage and funky blue cheese in these sandwiches.
For the tri-tip:
1 (2½ to 3 lb.) tri-tip
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
Remove tri-tip from refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Preheat grill to high heat. Pat the tri-tip dry with paper towels.
Rub the tri-tip with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on grill over high heat for 4 minutes, flip the tri-tip and cook for 4 minutes more. Move the tri-tip to a medium-low heat area on your grill and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 134⁰F.
Remove from grill, loosely tent with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes before slicing against the grain.
For the braised red cabbage:
1 Tbsp. bacon fat (or olive oil)
½ red onion, julienne
½ Tbsp. kosher salt
1 lb. red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 sachet containing: 1 bay leaf, 4 juniper berries, 3 black peppercorns
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
1/8 cup pomegranate molasses
1/8 cup sugar
1 sprig fresh rosemary
In a large pot over medium heat, add the bacon fat, onion and salt. Sauté until soft, without browning, approximately 4 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Add the cabbage and sachet to the pot, stir and wilt cabbage slightly, approximately 4 minutes. Add the red wine vinegar, wine, pomegranate molasses and sugar. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for approximately 30 minutes or until liquid reduces almost completely. Discard sachet and rosemary sprig.
For the blue cheese dressing:
1 lb. crumbled blue cheese, such as Point Reyes Original Blue
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
2 cups buttermilk
2 tsp. garlic, chopped
¼ cup chives, minced
½ cup scallions (including green), minced
¼ cup shallot, minced
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients. This dressing is best made the day before and refrigerated overnight.
Toast or grill some hearty bread, such as ciabatta rolls. Spoon the cabbage on the bottom slice of bread, layer with tri-tip and top with blue cheese dressing and remaining slice of bread.