Tri-Tips, at last!!! Q-View (finished)

Discussion in 'Beef' started by forluvofsmoke, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hey all! I've been seeing tri-rip threads on SMF for over 5 years, with rave reviews from even the simplest of preparations and cooking methods, and I kept putting it on the back burner due to having so many things I wanted to smoke, and so many methods I wanted to explore further, not to mention all the fun experiments with dry rub recipes. On our last trip to Sam's Club, we caught them at a bad time and there weren't a lot of choices at the meat counter for some of the cuts I wanted to grab for the ride home due to the flooding in CO at the time...trucks were running late, if at all, so stock was low. Anyway, while I looked over what they did have, I began to ponder getting off the beaten path and cooking something I haven't done at all, or very little. I grabbed a little beef and pork alike, but what really caught my eye was this 4lb pack of tri-tips. Off to the 150qt cooler and into ice they went, and promptly frozen upon arriving home.

    They were still partially frozen around noon today after a 6-hr bagged thaw in the original tray package 2 days ago, and 42 hours in my fridge, but that's cool with me...more time for more smoke to collect on the meat, I say...won't hurt the beef to smoke it with frost inside, so that's exactly what I'm doing today, and I might add, it's about time I got to find out what these nice looking cuts are all about.

    I decided to keep the seasoning and smoke simple, just so I don't get too much going on the first time around. So, freshly cracked black peppercorn, sea salt, and hickory over charcoal fire is my game plan. Nothing special, nothing that will detract from what looks to be a finely marbled piece of tender beef.

    I haven't decided just yet whether to do a reverse sear on these or not, as one appears to be about 1.75lb while the larger is close to 2.25lb...I'll wait and see, but I may have enough hot coals in the smoker to transfer into a grill and let 'er rip for a couple minutes when I get close to the 130* range. Of course, the smaller one will be a bit more done than the other, but I could shoot for med with it and med-rare with the larger. I figured just a simple free-hand thin slice to plate them up after a little plan yet on sides, so we'll see what happens when the smoke clears this evening.

    A decent random application of S & P on both sides and I let it set in the pan for about 10 minutes while the charcoal was finishing getting happy:

    Into the Gourmet while it's still getting up to temp, but generating some good heavy smoke with chunk hickory...tossed 'em in @ 2:00 pm MT:

    I stuck a probe in from the side about 4" under the top grate and was around 180* and range of 205-215* at that position gives me close to 10* higher at grate level above it, so that's my temp for now. Oh, wet water pan for good smoke reaction. I'll plug a probe into the meat in a couple hours and see what's what and go from there. I may pull them out earlier than target I/T if I need to push them harder on timing for dinner and drop them over a good hot coal bed in the grill.

    Ah, at last, I get to knock another cut of beef off the ol' "must do" list and find out just how good these really are!!!

    Time to add some hot coals and keep the Gourmet happy!!! LOL!!!

    Thanks for peekin'!! See ya on the rebound with the finish and slices!!!

    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  2. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks sweet.  [​IMG]
  3. webowabo

    webowabo Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Your gonna love it... I buy them up when I find them here niw. .whether I can afford to or not..
    Reverse sear wont let ya down... ..

    Cant wait to see the final results ;)
  4. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have to have a conversation with my Sam's Club butcher. Looks like your tri-tip is going to be going to be good!
  5. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks guys!!! Webowabo, you were 100% correct...yeah, prices were a little high @ 5.88lb, but it was a treat for us to eat (and for me to smoke), so I splurged a bit on them. The wife loved it, too, but she said the smoke was a little on the strong side...she's intolerant of smoke at times so I have to watch for that, and hickory is not very forgiving in that respect.

    The finish, as promised...

    I did used one small and one medium chunk of hickory to start with, then added one more medium chunk after an hour, or so...the third chunk might have been pushing it a bit. Smoke was coming on for at least 3.5 hours for a 5 hour low & slow cook. I thought it was a good smoke, but then I was exposed to smoke off and on for the better part of 5 hours until these came out for a sear, so I may be just a little bit desensitized by now.

    I let the fire drop off a couple times due to needing to slow things down to be sure I could get them out when I wanted. and I/T in the one I was monitoring dropped form 129* to 124*, and slowly climbed back up and hit 130* after the wife got home from errands, so, out came the fire into the grill to preheat the grate for about 3-4 minutes until the tri-tips went on for about 2 min/side. I figured the grate temp was close to 700* just judging by palming the fire with an open hand (learned over time after using analog temp gauges years ago to compare). Anyway, searing went nice and dinner was rather tasty!!! Nice, light char on bottom side with some crispy bark, light browning on the top side...nice smoke ring and a little rainbow effect in the coloring of the cross-section, but I don't mind...the flavor and texture was GREAT!!! Fork tender slices, btw.

    Time to come out for a sear @ 130* I/T:

    Just hit the grates over the remaining coals from the smoker...about 1/3 of a full chimney worth:

    Only one flip:

    Gave 'em about 10 minutes to relax a bit:

    I had some trouble finding the right flash/lighting to give a good representation of the true color for some strange reason, but they were a nice med-rare when carry-over was all said and done...don't tell the wife...she likes med to med-well (I've slowly but surely been working her and the kids into the med-rare range of beef when I can...LOL!!!) But she didn't say a thing, other than "are these supposed to be this red???" Yup, I's the only way to go with tri-tips (talking like a pro smoke & grill chef would, with great confidence, of course)...she accepted my explanation without further question and savored her meal...gotta love it...HA-HA-HA!!!

    Sliced it right where it laid with a fine-edge knife, about 3/16" thickness when I could:

    My portion, about 1/2lb or so:

    W/O flash...:

    It was a long time coming, but well worth the wait. I'd smoke these over anything but a bone-in rib eye, given the choice, but after a few more, tri-tip may become my favorite. I just love the fact that the grain runs length-wise the meat instead of up and down...makes for a nice way to plate up a thin sliced meat with a tender chew and great eye-candy to get the stomach into chow-mode...mmm-mmm-mmm!!!

    It's been fun, and now, I'm done!!!

    Great smokes to all, and to all a good night!!!

    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  6. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    Looks Awesome Eric!!!
    Sure wish I could get tri-tips around here!
  7. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks Dave!!!

    Hey, if either of you need some help explaining what exactly the tri-tip is (some butchers haven't done that type of sub-primal cutting...if there's no demand, they just don't do it), check this thread for the link to a good consumer's beef buying guide from Pops...pork can be found there as well, btw...find the page explaining what cut you want and where it comes from, then print it to take with you to the butcher (or pull it up on your phone to show them)...some pages have pics, and the bottom sirloin, where the tri-tip is cut from, also has a on beef, sirloin, then scroll down to the tri-tip:

    Hope you can get some'll be glad to have one come off the smoker/grill...REALLY nice treat, and a great change from brisket ,top/bottom/eye round, top/bottom sirloin or any standard steak cuts. Little to no toughness in these at all, from what I could tell, and to be able to slice long, thin pieces across the grain for plating...oh, I really like the tri-tip!!! Would be great for fajitas, just as an example.

    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  8. webowabo

    webowabo Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Nice work Eric! Great looking TT.. reverse wont do ya wrong. You will for ever look at every grocery store or meat market you go to for now on for tips. Check Mexican markets (fiesta if expecially if they are in your area) I have found two markets in my area that sell them for $2.99lb every other week. I dont think they know what they got... but I do :)

    Anyways. . Great looking tri tip. ..
    Happy Friday!
  9. looks great!! cant go wrong with a tri tip. i find them here and make it a point to find them when they go on last day sales...i can usually nab a few(normally no more than 3 or 4) 1.75-2.00lber's for $3.99-$4.99/ each..... run them str8 home and into the its my go to steak. plus one tip can feed my small family of 3 easily.
  10. Eric those look wonderful! Gotta love them huh? I bought several when they were on sale her for $3.99 lb a few months ago and they haven't been on sale since.
  11. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    Nice looking Tri-tip!!! My favorite cut of beef to smoke. Makes great leftovers for french dip and open faced hot beef sandweees!! Another good fall/winter time leftover option for tri tip is shepherds pie!!
  12. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Geez, maybe I need to get off my backside and consider doing a tri tip.   Looks wonderful.
  13. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Especially being from the land of Tri tip!!! Ne excuses!
  14. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When the wife quits bringing home fish......[​IMG]

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