Lomo Al Trapo with Colombian Salsa

Lomo Al Trapo with Colombian Salsa

Other Recipes from Episode 409: Extreme Grilling


Lomo Al Trapo with Colombian Salsa

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: Serves: 2 to 3
  • Method: Grilling in the embers (“cavemanning”)


For the meat:

  • 1 center-cut piece of beef tenderloin, meticulously trimmed of all fat and silver skin (about 8 inches long and weighing 1 pound)
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 to 3 cups kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, plus more if needed

For the Colombian Salsa (Aji)

  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, peeled and minced
  • 1 small poblano pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 1 to 2 hot chiles, such as serranos or jalapeños, seeded and minced (for spicier salsa, leave the seeds in)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice (or as needed)
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea)

You’ll also need:

  • Preferably a charcoal fire (lump charcoal); a hoe or grill rake; one square piece of clean cotton cloth, 16 by 16 inches (an old-fashioned cloth—not terry cloth—dish towel or piece of cotton sheet works well); long-handled tongs; butcher’s string; heavy chef’s knife or cleaver; metal plate or platter

Recipe Steps

1: Soak the cloth in the wine in a large bowl.   Wring it out and arrange the cloth on your work surface on the diagonal (like a diamond), so that one corner points towards you.    Spread half the salt in the center of the cloth, then sprinkle with half the oregano. Lay thee tenderloin in the center of the salt and season with the remaining oregano. Top with the remainder of the salt (the goal is to encase the meat in salt).

2: Roll the cloth and salt around the tenderloin, starting in the far corner.    The idea is to make a compact roll.    Now take the points of cloth at each end of the resulting cylinder and fold them together on top of the tenderloin.    The idea is to form a tight cylindrical packet.    You should do this right before your charcoal is ready. Tie the package with four 16-inch lengths of butcher’s string, then trim any loose ends.

3: Charcoal grill method: Light the coals in a chimney starter and rake them out into an even layer at the bottom of the grill.    You will not need a grill grate.    Lay the wrapped tenderloin right on the coals, knot side up.    Grill for exactly 8 minutes.    Using long handled tongs, gently turn the tenderloin package over and grill for another 8 minutes.    Do not be alarmed if the cloth burns—it’s meant to. In fact, the whole shebang should look about as appetizing as a fire-charred log.  

4: Gas grill method:    Preheat your grill as hot as it will go.    You need a “2 Mississippi” fire.    There is no need to oil the grill grate.    Arrange the cloth-wrapped tenderloin on the grate, knot side up.    Grill until the bottom is charred black, about 8 minutes.    (The grill should be covered.)    Turn the package over and grill until the other side is jet black, 8 minutes.

5: Transfer the charred tenderloin to a metal platter and let it rest for 2 minutes.    Lift it with tongs and tap it hard with the back of a large heavy chef’s knife (you may need to tap it several times).    The burnt shell should crack and come off.   Brush off any excess salt.

6: Transfer the tenderloin to a clean platter or plates.   Cut into 2 or 3 pieces and serve at once.

7: Make the salsa: Place the onion, peppers, chile, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, vinegar, and salt in a mixing bowl.    Toss to mix, adding lime juice and salt to taste.    The salsa should be highly seasoned.

Recipe Tips

Our thanks to the sponsors of Project Fire Season 4:

Crowd Cow
Kalamazoo Grill Nomad Grill
Start N Grill Workman Publishing

Steven Raichlen’s Project Fire is a production of Maryland Public Television, Barbacoa, Inc., and Resolution Pictures. © 2022 Barbacoa, Inc. Photos by Chris Bierlein