Today Smoking Tri-Tips

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by brickguy221, Aug 2, 2015.

  1. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    I used the Mesquite Pellets in the 5 x 8 Maze and all went well with the meat having just the right amount of smoke. I tried something different in that I didn't preheat the Smoker. I lit the pellets 20-25 minutes ahead and got them smoking really good and then put them in the cold Smoker.

    I then put the Tri-Tips in and set Smoker @ 235*. Also put two Charcoal Briquettes in the wood chip box and pulled it out 1" but used no wood chips, so I didn't get a smoke ring not that it matters as the smoke ring offers nothing to the taste anyhow, only the looks. I just wanted to see what happens. I took the chip loader completely out and turned the smoker on. Surprisingly, it was up to 235* in 19 minutes. I then put chip loader back in with dump side turned down and out 2".

    Smoker over rode the 235* to 246*, then dropped to 229*, then up to 243*, down to 231*. From then on it would go 6* over and 6* under 235*, thus cycling great.

    I put a portable thermometer on each side of shelf and the left side averaged approx 10*+ less than the right side, so I may make a baffle later for the right side like some of you do, to even out the temperatue.

    The whole process took 2 1/2 hrs from the time I turned Smoker on until the meat reached 150* internal temperature. From 120* on, it moved slow, way too slow almost like a stall. I began raising temp 5* at a time the last 45 minutes to get the temp rising inside the meat, and ending the set temperature at 265* as I had to get the meat internal temp up.. My goal was 225* to 230* shelf temperature and I didn't watch it like I meant to and I unknowlingly let it slip to 210* -215* a few times, which took it longer to get done than it should have.

    Next time, I will start smoker at 240* and when it makes it's first over run, raise it to 245* and go from there with final adjustments. Also next time, I will leave the Charcoal Briquettes out and see if it has any effect or not compared to this time. Also with the success I had with the smoke and smoke taste today, I will continue to experiment with not pre-heating the Smoker like I have always done in the past and simply turning it on after the meat is put in and also pulling the chip loader completely out until temp gets to the set point, then put it back in with dump side down and out 2".

    The bottom line of all of this is that the Tri-Tips were PERFECT in Smoke Taste, Pappys Taste (dry rub) , and tenderness. This has to be the best Tri-Tip I have ever done. I don't mean to brag , but I will have to give it a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. My wife thought it was perfect too. It was really tender and juicy.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2015
  2. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    What a great feeling when it all works. Mesquite is the perfect wood for tri-tips.

    I always pre-heat the smoker. I don't understand why you'd want to put meat in a cold smoker. Also with my MES 30 Gen 1 there's no need to do anything to the wood chip loader other than leave it in place in either the dump or load position (forget where I leave it). My AMNPS worked just fine, as always.

    As I've told you privately I never use charcoal briquettes because I've got no interest in experimenting to get a smoke ring. It's more than enough to just get good Q in an electric smoker which I think I've gotten very good at. I had decided to stick with 225° as my set point but after smoking a brisket yesterday I'm returning to using 235°. I think 225° is just too low in an electric smoker when you're smoking meat for dinner and you don't want to get up at the crack of dawn to finish it in time.
  3. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    Yes I agree!  Even though your averaging 225*F in the MES,  I prefer a constant temp in charcoal smokers than an average = an oven.  So my MES low is 225*F to average 235*F min.(on the MAV)  on any smoke.  I'm draping bacon starting from the center of the second rack in the MES going to the outside of the rack evenly.  Only six rungs left and right of center (14 strips of bacon) to keep fat drippings into the foiled water pan.  My ABT's sit on the same rack for a one rack cook.  I snap off a piece of crunchy bacon the length of the pepper.  Then hold it along the side of the pepper for a multi-textured heat infused experience.  I don't like bacon wrapped fillets, fatties and ABT's etc. I tried to like it but said F it because no matter how I pre cooked Bacon I found I need to cook it by itself.  Why should anyone abuse bacon by eating it in a rubber band state?   

  4. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Snore! Where's the pictures! If I see tri tip in the tag line I want Q VIEW!!!!
  5. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would like to see tasty pic's of TT as well!
  6. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    I would post pictures if we had the right type phone camera to do so, but unfortunately we don't.
  7. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    Rick, the purpose of my experimenting with putting cold meat into a cold Smoker and then turning it on is that my belief is that the meat will absorb more smoke before geting sealed over. I have been told that when the out side of meat reaches the 160-170 degree range, that it will absorb no more smoke and that any smoke after that is a waste. True or not, I have no idea, just quoting what I have heard, so i had to try it one time, and it appears that it may have been successful enough for me to try again.

    My results with the AMPS in the past with Jack Daniels and Pit Master Choice pellets wasn't all that successful with the AMPS (although the TUBE was slightly better than the AMPS on those pellets), but doing it on cold meat and cold smoker this time was an overly success with the AMPS. The smoke taste was both great and PERFECT. I will try this "cold thing" on ribs the next time I smoke some as well as some 1 1/2 #  center cut Pork Loins I have in my freezer and then go from there on deciding on future smokes. 
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2015
  8. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    With smaller cuts of meat like tri tip, or bottom round roast,etc, I do a similar thing. Since I primarily use charcoal smokers I set the temp as low as I can get it to stay. Typically this is in the 180°-185° range. At that temp a typical tri tip takes approx. 2-3 hours(not including the 30-45 minute rest).

    Another thing that I will do is actually cold smoke (smoker temp at or below 40°) for up to 2 hours, then hot smoke the meat. This works god for pork chops, steaks, smaller roasts. For the pork chops and steaks I will even vac pac and freeze after the cold smoke to cook at a later date.
  9. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Details, please. Are you smoking uncured bacon? 14 strips total? Are you using apple or hickory? If you don't like bacon-wrapped stuff how do you use your smoked bacon? How long do you smoke it?
  10. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Brickguy, when you place cold food in a cold oven or smoker, no cooking is being done at all. You're also exposing the meat to greater time in the Danger Zone. As far as smoke absorption, no pro BBQ pitmaster or anyone knowledgeable of smoking I've interacted with or read about place their meats in a cold cooking vessel--unless they're cold smoking salmon or something similar. I know you're older than I am but I've been home cooking from scratch for over 40 years, I've been grilling for about 35 years, and I've been smoking for 3.5 years and I'm pretty good at all of it. I know that you preheat before you put food in. As for meat not absorbing smoke after the pellicle forms at about 160°, the SMF jury decided last year (when I raised this issue) that that theory is full of bunk. Otherwise why would BBQ pitmasters talk about cooking a full packer brisket over wood smoke for 12-16 hours. Most guys who cook brisket wrap it in foil between 160-170° because that's when it stalls.

    A better example of cooking meat over wood smoke way past 160° is pork shoulder/butt. I don't foil mine and many other cooks don't. I cook it to about 200° IT over wood pellets. The only time I wrap anything in foil is either to get it through the stall or to stop smoke absorption if past experience has taught me that a particular cut of meat gets oversmoked if exposed to smoke over 4 hours.

    Jack Daniels pellets don't provide smoke flavor. They're made from the charcoal used to mellow the whiskey during the aging process. Pitmaster's Choice has never let me down for smoke flavor. It's hickory, cherry, and maple, among the best flavor woods out there. I use my AMNPS for all smokes. I've also discovered that if you wrap smoked meat in foil and place it in a cooler with a towel or newspaper (or even nothing but the foiled meat) for an hour or more the smoke flavor will further permeate that meat. I've noticed many times that when reheating cold, leftover smoked meat the flavors are more intense than when I first had them for dinner.
  11. dvuong

    dvuong Smoke Blower

    Have you tried a mix of charcoal pellets with Pitmaster's Choice?  

    Also, does wrapping smoked meat and putting it in a cooler further cook the meat? Or will it just hold it at the temperature? 
  12. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I don't use any charcoal in my MES 30. It's an electric smoker and Masterbuilt recommends that charcoal briquettes not be used.

    Yes, placing foiled smoked meat like a beef brisket inside a cooler with a towel over it will serve to further cook parts of the meat that weren't quite done, allow the juices to be redistributed back into the meat, and keep it safely warm for hours. I've seen recommendations of 2 hours up to 6 hours in a cooler. I just cooked a brisket but didn't have time to place it in the cooler before dinner. Next time I hope I can. I did place a smoked chuck roast in a cooler for a couple of hours after it finished smoking and the results were outstanding.
  13. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    Rick, it appears that you and I are going to have to agree to disagree with what you said here. 

    1. Yes, I know that placing cold food in a cold oven or smoker, no cooking is being done at all, but the moment you push the on button, it begins to cook.

    2. The only way you would expose the meat to greater time in the Danger Zone is if you put it into the cold Smoker and left it there for a length of time before starting the Smoker.

    3. In the case of your having interacted with "Pros" that don't put cold meat into a cold smoker unless it is Salmon, it still doesn't mean it is wrong to do so. If you can cold smoke             Salmon, you can cold smoke meat. It is a matter of choice.

    4. In the case of ... "As for where you said that meat not absorbing smoke after the pellicle forms at about 160°, the SMF jury decided last year (when I raised this issue) that that theory is full of   bunk" ... And I have been told by others that the meat won't absorb more smoke after 160*, so who is right and who is wrong, I have no idea, so I will stay neutral here and do it how I see best.
    You said that ..."Jack Daniels pellets don't provide smoke flavor" ... I know from my own personal use that Jack Daniels Pellets do provide a bit of smoke flavor but not enough. I am fully aware that they are made from charcoal used to mellow the whiskey during the aging process as I  am the one who investigated this a while back and reported it here in this forum, so I am aware of that.

    I have used Pitmasters Choice one time and they did let me down with not enough smoke flavor. However, with my unexperience at the time with using the AMPS, it didn't provide enough smoke, but since that time I have learned from Todd how to increase the smoke, so the next time, they may provide enough smoke for me.

    I have never tried nor knew that placing the meat in a cooler with a towel or newspaper (or even nothing but the foiled meat) for an hour or more will make the smoke flavor further permeate the meat ... Thanks for that tip Rick  ... I will try it sometime, especially when I use Jack Daniel Pellets.

    I do agree with you that reheating cold, left over meat, the flavors are more intense than they were when I ate them off the griill or out of the smoker. Especially something like hamburgers as when I cook them on my charcoal grill, I always use Mesquite wood chips. Then when eating them off the grill they taste good, but when I refrigerate them (I also freeze some as I usually make extras when grilling), and reheat them, the Mesquite taste is stronger and sometimes too strong if I accidently used more chips than I should have when grilling them.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2015
  14. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think while each of us follows tips and recipes we all have our individual smoking methods. I can't really talk about Jack Daniels pellets because I've never used them; just talked to Todd and to one or two other guys who've used them. I have used Pitmaster's Choice many times and got the amount of smoke I wanted every time. I've had great results with all the wood pellets I've bought from Todd.

    I've gotten to the point where I know my MES 30 and the AMNPS well enough so that I get pretty consistent results with each smoke.
  15. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    One pkg. of store bought bacon is about 12-14 strips (the bacon in the pics below is thick cut so it came to 12 strips.)  I have six pkgs. of my belly bacon with Pop's wet cure in the freezer that I substituted Vermont Maple syrup instead of cane sugar in his recipe.  I bought the Maple pellets from Todd for my bacon but used it for this store bought bacon smoke in the pics below .  I prefer a lower salt flavor, not because I have to, but the store brands are too salty.  The belly/back bacon thread I made is my favorite so far on saltiness.  If I do a fatty, the weave will cook separately and I'll put the chub on it and roll it, then bring it inside the house to rest.  In this ABT smoke the store bought cured bacon averaged 230*F for three hours in the MES with Todd's Maple pellets.  This has been my favorite way to cook bacon if I have the time.

    Before smoking:

    After smoking:

    Snap off a piece of bacon the length of the peeper and lay the pepper on the bacon.  Bite the end that is stuffed so nothing can fall out the other end.  The tip (the last bite) will be the hottest since the Jalapeno juice collects at the tip with the rack shown.  I know you don't eat hot stuff.   Smoked stuffed green pepper would be great.

  16. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    I agree with both of you.  Todd was cold smoking burgers on one of his AMN Facebook posts and I said to myself, self, why am I not doing that?  The 40 to140*F in 4 hrs. gives 2-2.5 hrs. of cold smoke before grilling/BBQing burgers, chxn pieces etc.  Get out the AMNTS!  That's what it's designed for.  The AMNPS is great for it too!  I cold smoke then grill as much as I hot smoke with my AMNTS  in the MES.  Then there's cold smoking only with AMNPS/TS in the Spring/Fall for cheese, hardboiled eggs, belly bacon, Kosher salt, paprika, red ripe Jalapeno peppers to make Chipotle the list is endless. 

    When you strategically place your smokers and grills between you and your neighbors view, so you can walk around your deck in only your underwear (when your not having company), you (I) may have a smoker addiction.  And I don't need an intervention! LOL

  17. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    I'm thinking that vacuuming/freezing and finishing later lets the smoke penetrate like with cheese.   

  18. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hey--I eat the hot stuff...if it's not too hot. OK, I can only handle one chipotle pepper in adobo sauce at a time. I can handle sniffing one habanero chile...from a few feet away. But give me a bushel of poblanos and I'll eat them raw and whole like the man I am!

    Just curious, Kurt. Do you think you're able to taste the difference between maple wood smoke and, let's say, oak or hickory? This is an honest question and I'm not claiming you can't. I just watched a Ray "Dr. BBQ" Lampe video on smoking a brisket and he says use whatever you have available because "they're all about the same". I also took a BBQ class where the instructor issued a rhetorical challenge to taste meats smoked over different types of wood pellets and try to tell the difference. He claimed we couldn't. What I do know is that no matter what wood pellets I smoke with, the smoke coming from my MES 30 smells the same. Also, I'm not claiming to have the most sensitive pallet but I'm not sure if I can tell the difference between the smoky taste from different wood pellets either.
  19. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    IF you're going to do it do it all the way: set up the smoker and grill and go full bore nekkid! It's your property after all so anyone looking at you is visually TRESPASSING. You can have them arrested!

    I only cold smoke cheeses and the occasional salmon filet. Since I don't own either an AMN or an AMNTS I don't know why they would be better suited to cold smoking than my beloved and much cherished AMNPS. I can see why Todd would cold smoke burgers before slapping them down on a grill but I'm lazy. No, check that; I'm downright lazy and using both my MES and my Weber at the same time means I have to get them both out of the garage and then clean them both up afterwards. Life is short and double cleaning just makes it shorter. I've only used both at the same time twice: one when I held my fabulous Ribfest when I smoked two racks of baby backs in my MES and grilled (over charcoal and cherry wood chips) two racks of St. Louis ribs in my Weber. The other was this past Father's Day when I first smoked four boneless ribeye steaks in my MES 30 over hickory wood pellets and then finished them off in my Weber kettle charcoal grill. They were truly glorious. Both cooking events were worth the double clean up.
  20. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It works really good. Of course the only time I can do it is during the winter months when the temp are low enough. I think it does let the smoke permeate into the meat more, and you end up with a nice mellow not over powering smoke flavor. I like to do this with Ahi tuna also. Smoke the seat, good stuff!

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