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Had an idea but want to make sure its safe

kevin james

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I had an idea for cooking tri-tips, then vac sealing whole and freezing, then reheating in the oven at a later date. The problem is I don't know if it's technically safe or not.

I started thinking about this as I'm wanting to start cooking extra when I smoke and "squirrel away" some good Q in the freezer for those times where for whatever reason firing up the smoker is not possible. And, I also have a few friends that are bugging the living sh*t out of me to smoke some meat for them (not doing any get togethers with this covid stuff going on). Brisket, pulled pork, and ribs I'm not worried about as for all of those the original cook is to somewhere north of 200 and the reheat is to at least 165. And I see a ton of big name restaurants doing exactly this type of thing to ship those meats on Goldbelly (at ridiculous prices I might add) so clearly it must not be an issue with them. But tri-tip is an absolute favorite, and it's got to be no more then medium rare, or not worth doing at all and therein lies the potential problem. I also don't see anyone doing pre-cooked tri-tip on Goldbelly which is another thing that has me thinking maybe it's just not considered safe because of the medium rare target finish temp.

Basically my process would be as follows:
1. Smoke the tri-tip to an IT temp of about 115.
2. Reverse sear to finish it to about 125, noting that carryover should bring it to somewhere between 130-135.
3. Allow the tri-tip to rest and cool for about 30 minutes.
4. Vac Seal the tri-tip whole and allow it to fully cool in the refrigerator before putting it in the freezer (thinking putting it directly in the freezer may shock it?)

Then the reheat process would be as follows:
1. Place the tri-tip in the refrigerator for 24 hours or until completely thawed.
2. Preheat oven to 250.
3. Wrap the tri-tip in foil with a little beef broth for moisture.
4. Cook to an IT temp of 125, noting carryover should again bring it to 130-135.

I will say that I did attempt it once before I even realized it might be considered unsafe, and I had no ill effects whatsoever, but that could have just been luck. As it was my first attempt I underestimated the carryover and the final product ended up closer to medium than medium rare, so IF this is not deemed unsafe I would adjust my process to keep it to medium rare.

Please keep in mind that I'm recognizing that I am not an expert when it comes to food safety, but I do recognize that there is a potential this could be considered unsafe because it's a reheat of pre-cooked meat with a medium rare target for serving vs taking it to 165, and in an effort to be safe, I'm consulting those with more knowledge than myself. Obviously there is no issue with medium rare when it is first cooked, but I have no idea if reheating whole after being frozen and then thawed changes that in any way. Better safe than sorry.

Any thoughts or advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!
 

DanMcG

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Technically, I think it would need to be heated to 165° to be safe. Sous vide might be an option....
Just my opinion, I'd like to see the responses too.
 

Brokenhandle

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The tri tip would be considered whole muscle so it would be safe to cook to medium rare and the same for reheating. I believe the 165 temp would be for ground meat like burger. In my opinion a sous vide would be best to reheat without as much chance of going over target temp. But under foil with broth would work also.

Ryan
 

thirdeye

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I've done a lot of cook ahead items and I prefer an ice water slurry in a cooler. Give your tr-tip a few minutes to drop in temp and place in a zipper bag. Use the water displacement method: place the bag into the cooler and the pressure will force the air out as it's lowered.... when the zipper is close to the water line, close it.

You goal is to get the roast below 40° as fast as you can. Let the roast stay in the slurry about 40 minutes. If you plan on an oven reheat, wrap the tri-tip in a triple layer of foil, you can add some liquid, then move to the freezer.
 

mike243

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Probably would be perfectly safe but use the SV on it to reheat, no broth or anything needed that way
 

kevin james

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Thanks everyone. I'd love to do the reheat using SV method, but I don't have a SV unit (yet) and I'd need a bigger than usual SV container to fit a whole packaged tri-tip I'd think.
 

chef jimmyj

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These guys got you covered. Just don't Inject anything and you are good to freeze and reheat Med/Rare Beef...JJ
 

SmokinAl

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If you don’t have a SV, just put it in a pot of simmering water for about 30-45 minutes if it is still frozen & you won’t be able to tell it didn’t just come off the smoker!
Al
 

thirdeye

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Thanks everyone. I'd love to do the reheat using SV method, but I don't have a SV unit (yet) and I'd need a bigger than usual SV container to fit a whole packaged tri-tip I'd think.
I have a square Rubbermaid 12 Qt sous vide container I use when I sous vide tri-tip, they are about $15, and if you do buy a circulator, you can use about anything like a food safe bucket. People that finish their smoked sausage with sous vide will use a meat lug or bus tub.

These guys got you covered. Just don't Inject anything and you are good to freeze and reheat Med/Rare Beef...JJ
Many years ago, a few of us on the old Big Green Egg forum experimented with a 'late injection' which was normally done when brisket or butt hit the stall. But in the case of cooked ahead and reheated meats like these tri-tip roasts, couldn't you wait until the internal is 90° or 100° and inject a warm beefy broth? By this time, the surface of the meat would be >140° and any surface bacteria would be dead so the needle would not contaminate the inside.

If you don’t have a SV, just put it in a pot of simmering water for about 30-45 minutes if it is still frozen & you won’t be able to tell it didn’t just come off the smoker!
Al
Before I even knew what sous vide was, we reheated bagged BBQ meats in a Nesco table top roaster filled with hot water. The low setting is ~170° so we went by time, but they worked great.
 

chef jimmyj

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_
Many years ago, a few of us on the old Big Green Egg forum experimented with a 'late injection' which was normally done when brisket or butt hit the stall. But in the case of cooked ahead and reheated meats like these tri-tip roasts, couldn't you wait until the internal is 90° or 100° and inject a warm beefy broth? By this time, the surface of the meat would be >140° and any surface bacteria would be dead so the needle would not contaminate the inside
Yes, that would work just fine...JJ
 

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