RECIPE: Brazilian Roasted Beef Tri-Tip With Sweet Corn And Aliums By Ash Heeger


A few weeks ago, I attended the launch of the new artisanal Robertsons Rubs held at the Cooks Playground  It was colourful, captivating with so much detail and spices to explore.  I particularly enjoyed the three demonstrations by Jason Whitehead, Lorna Maseko and Ash Heeger – they demonstrated dishes using the new Robertsons Rubs, as displayed on the featured image.

The Demonstrations

Jason Whitehead showed attendees how to season  Cajun Creole Crusted Hake served with Green Basmati, Fried Black Beans and Prawn Cream – this dish is bursting with flavour, it’s one of the dishes I would like to try at home for my family.   The second dish was demonstrated by the host of the evening, mogherl, Lorna Maseko.  She did a great job hosting the event, getting everyone fired up and excited about the new rubs and the food.  Lorna demonstrated a Moroccan Stuffed Chicken Couscous, Honey Glazed Carrots, Rocket and Fennel Salad.  I LOVE the spicy Moroccan rub (I’m actually using it right now) it makes any meal so delicious – this dish would be perfect for Sunday lunch or when hosting a group of friends.

Last but not least, Ash Heeger demonstrated the dish that I am sharing on this post.  Why?  Because it really stood out for me in terms of flavour.  One of the components of the dish is the spiced popcorn which gives the dish an interesting crunch and it is seasoned for the gods, hunny!  I also loved the charred sweetcorn component of the dish.

About Chef Ash Heeger

Ash Heeger was born in Mthatha and raised in Cape Town.  Ash knew she wanted to be a professional chef by the time she was ten years old.  No other career was ever an option for her.  After completing school at Hershel’s Girls’ School, she jumped straight into the culinary arts at Silwood School of Cookery.  Ash was there for three years and then served as an apprentice for Luke Dale-Roberts, first at La Colombe then later at The Test Kitchen.

She then spread her wings and travelled to London.  After a stint at The Ledbury restaurant in Notting Hill, she moved to Dinner by Heston Blumenthal where she spent two years learning from the best, sharpening her skills and working her way up the ranks.

At 26, Ash decided it was time to come home and open a restaurant of her very own – and the rest is history.

Hope you get the Robertsons Brazilian Smokehouse Rub and try out the recipe.  It will be worth your while.  Enjoy!




Serves: 4


1kg beef tri-tip (substitute: beef rump or sirlon)

45ml grapeseed oil

40g Robertsons Brazilian Smokehouse Rub



12 whole sweetcorn

80g butter

25g mascarpone

Salt and pepper



4 ears of sweetcorn

40ml grapeseed oil

40g Robertsons Brazilian Smokehouse Rub

2 limes zested and juiced



2 brown onions peeled and halved

1 bunch of spring onions sliced lengthways

25ml canola oil

40g Robertsons Brazilian Smokehouse Rub



100g popcorn kernels

25ml canola oil

25g Robertsons Brazilian Smokehouse Rub


ROASTED BEEF TRI-TIP: Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees. Rub the tri-tip with grapeseed oil and dust liberally with the Robertsons Brazilian Smokehouse Rub. Set the tri-tip aside to soak up the rub (for about 45 minutes) and prepare the rest of the dish in the meantime. Fire up the griddle over a high heat and sear each side of your tri-tip steak. You’re looking for even caramelisation all over. Pop the steak and the griddle into the pre-heated oven and let it roast for 8 minutes before flipping over and repeating. In the last 5 minutes of cooking time, reheat the spring onions, onion shells and polenta. Set the tritip aside to rest for a further 5 minutes before slicing and serving with the garnishes.

POLENTA MADE FROM FRESH SWEETCORN: Peel the sweetcorn, but keep the corn silk aside for later. Grate each sweetcorn on a coarse grater and reserve all pulp and juices. Gather all in a medium heavy-based saucepan and place on a very low heat. Stir to a simmer and keep stirring about every 5 minutes as the polenta reduces. This should take about 45 minutes. Once the polenta reaches a porridge consistency, whisk in butter and mascarpone. Check seasoning and adjust accordingly. Serve immediately.

CHARRED SWEETCORN: Get a griddle or large frying pan super-hot over a high heat. A little smoke is ideal here. Peel the sweetcorn and rub liberally with grape seed oil followed by the Robertsons Brazilian Smokehouse Rub. Throw the corn onto the griddle and char until dark, turning occasionally. Once the corn is sufficiently charred, remove from heat and slice. Season with lime juice and zest as needed and serve immediately.

ROASTED SPRING ONION & SMOKED ONION SHELLS: While the griddle is still hot, rub the onions and spring onions with canola oil and the Robertsons Brazilian Smokehouse Rub. Place the onions face down on the grill and char until blackened. Flip and roast on the skin side until scorched through. Set aside to cool. While the onions are cooling, char the spring onions until crisp and set aside. Peel away the charred layers of onion and reserve the roasted inner shells to serve.

SPICED POPCORN: Heat oil over a medium heat in a heavy-based saucepan. Have a lid ready, add popcorn to the pan along with the Robertsons Brazilian Smokehouse Rub and quickly place the lid on the pot. Shake pot until all the kernels have popped. Decant and set aside until needed.

GARNISH: Slice chives as thinly as possible to garnish the plate.

Author Info


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

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