I got some great suggestions from folks, and ended up doing 2 sirloin tips this weekend for my first time out. Wanted to try Cornish Hens first but couldn't get them in my area.
I will start with saying that this first attempt was.....ok. Dinner itself was mediocre at best, but a later fix resulted in a nice product to eat tonight.
I had two small roasts from Costco. 2.5 lb and 2.25 lb. But identical thickness so figured they would cook evenly to temp (and they did).
Seasoned them the night before with a rub from an Alberta company that I'm eager to support. They have wonderful spices. Left them in the fridge overnight.
I can't take all the credit for prepping the roasts. I had some helpers who had LOTS of suggestions.
Next day I started my smoke around 3:30 in the afternoon. Set it to 235 for preheat while I got side dishes ready. Using apple wood for this one.
Now a slightly embarrassing part. I had pre-tested where the roasts would sit, with a pan underneath to catch juices. Potatoes on the top rack, etc. Prepared? Sure I was. But getting the darn things in the smoker was a gong show! Trying to pick up the meat with clumsy silicon gloves, which became instantly gooped all over with rub and such, door kept swinging back on me, temperature probes catching on each other and sides of smoker trying to shove roasts in; rub all over the rack edges, the deck, the probe cords. Bah! Finally got the suckers in there and the door closed. Smoker temp now 120 degrees. Sigh.
Fortunately the temp came back up nicely in a reasonable time. So now its just waiting for an internal temp of 145 to pull them out.
Took about 2.5 hours to get to 145. About perfect mathematically with what folks here said it would be. So took one out to wrap and wrest in a soft cooler with a heat bag and towels. (Was testing a higher temp with second roast).
So after a 30 min rest, I took the roast out of the cooler and used an instant read thermometer, and got 135 degrees. I was surprised after reading how it seems to come up with resting. Perhaps I should not have used a soft side cooler?? But regardless, juices distributed nicely when slicing. So served up dinner. I will say that the color was a little too red for my husband, but he was fine to eat it. Next time we'll take it to medium he says.
Served it with some smoked potatoes and homemade brown beans.
The meat was tasty, but not at all tender. Chewy (not in a good way) and has connective tissue. Edible but very disappointing. Perhaps I could have just used the meat slicer on the rest of this roast and it would have been fine sliced super thin, but that wasn't what we were looking for.
So I foiled it up and popped it back in the smoker with the other roast. At this point we decided to just let them go as long as we could before going to bed. So while we were eating the internal temp was 151. At 6:45 pm. And then a long stall. By 10:00 pm, it had finally climbed to 156. And was 160 at 11:00pm when we called it quits and took everything out.
Let them rest on the counter while we watched a quick show, cleaned up and got ready for bed. Sliced open the second roast and it was about Medium. (Sorry, no pic for that, was too tired to even think of it.) Took a bite of a center slice and it was lovely. Tender and full of flavor. Yay! The first roast that we put back in with foil was even more tender, but a tiny bit less flavor).
So clearly, the sirloin tips(around here) (to be eaten as roast not sliced for sandwiches) need to come to 160 or higher as they need the time to get tender.
So a little disappointment for Saturday, but I have a wonderful meal to come home to tonight!