For true Fred lovers, this is about 1 serving… but figure the serving sizes based on your normal meat allocations! (the truth is probably somewhere in between) …And hope to hear about your experiences!

Schaub’s in Palo Alto has a marinated tritip called a Fred (named after the store owner’s father who invented the recipe and kept it secret for many years). It is indeed tasty, but significantly pricier than a nice piece of tritip. I have seen and tried a few recipes trying to deconstruct a Fred and in my opinion they are pretty far off. Freds have a very earthy set of flavors with no very bright or sweet notes. Salt and garlic are prominent. After a couple of experiments, I created this one that was preferred by the test diners in a blind comparison tasting.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: about 1/2 hour
  • Active: low but constant activity, chopping or watching for critical states…

Ingredients (11)

  • 1 packet squid ink (optional) but use it for the truly coal black experience… more for color than for taste I think. But it’s pricey to ship and hard to find.
  • 1 T cocoa (I think this is optional, too). Could be toasted with the chipotle below
  • 2 heaping T black bean sauce (get good rich black stuff — this is key)
  • 6-10 cloves garlic chopped very fine (critical to Fredness)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 T tamarind paste (or water)… not essential to Fredness, but adds complexity
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder (also not essential, but adds complexity)
  • 1-2 T very strong coffee (or water)
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1.5 – 2 lb tritip (essential!)


  1. Put the garlic and sugar in the oil and cook slowly until a deep caramel color.
  2. While garlic is carmelizing, If you’re using them, mix the cocoa and chipotle together and scorch them in a heavy bottom pan. You’ll know when this happens when the color darkens and it starts to smell wonderful.
  3. When garlic is carmelized, mix with the other ingredients you’re using: black bean sauce, is essential; optional items are: squid ink, cocoa + chipotle, salt, tamarind paste, coffee. You can strain out the garlic pieces if you like, but I like leaving them in.
  4. Consistency should be a little viscous.. runnier than molasses, but thicker than coffee. If too thick, add more coffee or water.
  5. Put the resulting mixture with the tritip into a ziplock bag and mush it around. Let it repose in the refrigerator for 3 days. Turn it over and mush it around every once in awhile.
  6. Cook your tritip however you normally do… on the grill or in the oven. The salt content essentially brines the meat, making it juicier