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Memorial Day Tri Tips on the Pit Boss pellet cooker

reformedvegan

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Folks,

I want to check in and share the results of my first cook of the season. I did two untrimmed tri tips on the Pit Boss 700S. As I mentioned last summer, I am very new to this and only cooked twice on the cooker after getting it last summer. This is my third cook.

One tri tip was about 3.5 pounds and I used Trader Joe's coffee and garlic rub on it. The other was about 2.5 pounds, and for this I put together my own rub of kosher salt, applewood smoked salt, brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, onion powder, ancho chili, cayenne, and Worcestershire sauce.

I filled the hopper with Cabela's competition blend pellets and my 12 inch AMZN tube half full. I lit the tube, put both steaks on the cooker fat cap down at the smoke setting, placed my thermo probe in the thickest part of the smaller steak. I placed the probe to monitor the cooker temp in the back corner on the opposite side of from the cooker's own temp probe.

Interestingly, the temp seemed to hover around 160-180 F on the cooker's display, but my remotely monitored probe registered between 180 and 235 F during the cook. This seems like quite a discrepancy! Why, do you think?

When the internal steak temp got to 120, I increased the cooker temp to 450 F. I pulled the first steak at 135 and wrapped it. I placed the probe into the larger steak, which only registered 113, but it was near the side of the cooker that was reading cooler (near the cooker's own temp probe). I pulled and wrapped the larger steak at 130.

Here is a picture of the aftermath of dinner. We were too hungry to pause for pictures before, and we had guests (we have started hosing very small, socially-distant backyard gatherings).

Overall, reviews were good, and consensus was that my rub was better than Trader Joe's, but the meat was a bit overcooked. I'm open to comments and suggestions!

‐ Jon
20200524_210030.jpg
 

D.W.

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Fellow NorCal person here. I cook tri-tip at least once a week when it's not raining. Put the tri-tip on the counter to bring to room temp before putting in the cooker (imperative). I do my tri-tip on the stick burner and cook at a temp like yours between 200-225. Usually it takes about 45minutes-1hr. When I hit IT of 113-115, I reverse sear directly over the coals for about 2 minutes a side. This is pretty fail safe, but all are diferent. I press test while searing to see where it's at. DO NOT wrap when it comes off, a pat of butter on top, or not, lightly tent with foil while it rest in the pan 15-20 minutes. It should be money. Also, simple seasoning goes a long with with it for the rub - SPG and SPOG are perfect, even brisket style SP is great. Lastly, make sure you cut the pieces where the grains meet, and then slice across the grains. Follw this and you should get juicy tender tri-tip like this:

20190603_182555.jpg 20200330_183030.jpg
 
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Brokenhandle

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It looks good! But like you say a bit more on medium side than medium rare. I would pull them sooner and let rest, tented under foil if need be. If pulled at 125 you should get 130 or so carry over while resting. Depending on how you all like your steaks. With probes in thicker parts the thinner parts will get more done. Can always cook a bit more if not done enough but can't undo over cooked. Have you checked your probes in boiling water and ice water to make sure they are accurate? Also different smokers have hot spots and cooler spots, it takes time with accurate probes to see where they are. Keep smokin and you'll learn how your smoker likes to run.

I'd call it a success for just your third smoke
Ryan
 

reformedvegan

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D.W. D.W. Well, of course, there has to be another Californian on here telling me I seasoned my tri-tip wrong! LOL. Just kidding - I did my last one in a more traditional style, but wanted to do a California meets Texas sorta Memorial Day cook this time around as a nod to multiple parts of the country. I am thinking my next attempt will be SPOG. Unfortunately, that may be a while as my parter has decided that she doesn't want to eat beef for the sake of the environment. We are working on a compromise where we will have beef occasionally, but buy the "greenest" beef possible, which means grass-fed, pasture raised, college educated beef, I'm assuming. I wonder how much a brisket of that will cost, but I digress.

I find it interesting that you recommend letting it come up to room temperature first. I had read another thread here where people recommended cooking straight for the fridge, as I did, or even partially freezing it to give it more time in the smoke. I have to say, even with the AMZN tube and a two-hour cook, the smoke flavor was mild (but good), and I did have a thin smoke ring (hard to tell in the picture).

I think I will pull it just a bit earlier next time and tent it as both you and B Brokenhandle suggest. This was actually very good tri-tip, and everyone was pleased with the results, but I would prefer it just a bit more tender. Even though it was not quite as tender as I had hoped, it was very juicy. I have been having fantastic sandwiches for lunch with my homemade sourdough bread.

B Brokenhandle you said "Can always cook a bit more if not done enough but can't undo over cooked", which should be so painfully obvious that it hurts. I'll keep this in mind next time - just like "measure twice, cut once". I have tested my probes and they are spot-on. The difference in temperature between the two sides of the cooker surprised me l, even though I think I recall reading other owners of Pit Boss cookers accounts of the side opposite the hopper and fan being hotter.

Thanks for the feedback and encouragement!

- Jon
 
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smokin peachey

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Unfortunately, that may be a while as my parter has decided that she doesn't want to eat beef for the sake of the environment. We are working on a compromise where we will have beef occasionally, but buy the "greenest" beef possible, which means grass-fed, pasture raised, college educated beef, I'm assuming. I wonder how much a brisket of that will cost, but I digress.
Can you give us more details on what the thought process is on this?
If people are paying top dollar for college educated beef let me know so I can get my herd enrolled in college. I guess since colleges are closed they are looking at new ways to pay the bills by enrolling cattle maybe.
 

mike243

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If you like it more rare in center bring it straight from the fridge to the grill, then cook the outside to your desired preference, it will take longer to get the center temp up so more room for error. warming the meat 30-40 degree on the counter will cause the center to cook quicker so a shorter window to get outside sear/color temp . Looks fine to me, the wife kicks back when she see's red in her steak lol
 

D.W.

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Joined Jul 13, 2018
D.W. D.W. Well, of course, there has to be another Californian on here telling me I seasoned my tri-tip wrong! LOL. Just kidding - I did my last one in a more traditional style, but wanted to do a California meets Texas sorta Memorial Day cook this time around as a nod to multiple parts of the country. I am thinking my next attempt will be SPOG. Unfortunately, that may be a while as my parter has decided that she doesn't want to eat beef for the sake of the environment. We are working on a compromise where we will have beef occasionally, but buy the "greenest" beef possible, which means grass-fed, pasture raised, college educated beef, I'm assuming. I wonder how much a brisket of that will cost, but I digress.

I find it interesting that you recommend letting it come up to room temperature first. I had read another thread here where people recommended cooking straight for the fridge, as I did, or even partially freezing it to give it more time in the smoke. I have to say, even with the AMZN tube and a two-hour cook, the smoke flavor was mild (but good), and I did have a thin smoke ring (hard to tell in the picture).

I think I will pull it just a bit earlier next time and tent it as both you and B Brokenhandle suggest. This was actually very good tri-tip, and everyone was pleased with the results, but I would prefer it just a bit more tender. Even though it was not quite as tender as I had hoped, it was very juicy. I have been having fantastic sandwiches for lunch with my homemade sourdough bread.

B Brokenhandle you said "Can always cook a bit more if not done enough but can't undo over cooked", which should be so painfully obvious that it hurts. I'll keep this in mind next time - just like "measure twice, cut once". I have tested my probes and they are spot-on. The difference in temperature between the two sides of the cooker surprised me l, even though I think I recall reading other owners of Pit Boss cookers accounts of the side opposite the hopper and fan being hotter.

Thanks for the feedback and encouragement!

- Jon
Sorry to hear it might not be on the memu often. Regarding the tenderness aspect that you want, I've really found there are two things that play a vital role - just in my experience. First being letting the meat rest out of the fridge before putting it in the cooker. If you're uncomfortable, just do 2hrs before cooking. I've had mistakes where it gets to medium, but it was still very tender. Second, how you slice it as mentioned above. Those have been the primary contributors to tenderness, of course if you cook the meat until it's boot leather, which you didn't by any means at all, it won't be tender. Hope this helps, I honestly cook about 50 of these a year.... just did 3 over the weekend.

Edit- one thing I forgot to mention. I've found that if you smoke at too low of a temp 150-175ish, it can make the exterior pretty tough as well.
 
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reformedvegan

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Joined May 28, 2019
Can you give us more details on what the thought process is on this?
If people are paying top dollar for college educated beef let me know so I can get my herd enrolled in college. I guess since colleges are closed they are looking at new ways to pay the bills by enrolling cattle maybe.
smokin peachey smokin peachey , I'm no expert, but I think you have to look at the cost/benefit of this. College is expensive, and if your heard don't qualify for scholarships, you may find no return on your investment.

One of my partner's big concerns (her biggest, probably) is water conservation. She heard about how much water is used to grow all the feed to finish a steer and now she is fixated on that.

Regarding the tenderness aspect that you want, I've really found there are two things that play a vital role - just in my experience. First being letting the meat rest out of the fridge before putting it in the cooker. If you're uncomfortable, just do 2hrs before cooking. I've had mistakes where it gets to medium, but it was still very tender. Second, how you slice it as mentioned above.
This is interesting. I may have to experiment with this a bit to find the right balance between tenderness and length of time it is able to bathe in the smoke. One benefit of leaving the fat cap on that I discovered (after fiddling around trying to find the grain by slicing off portions) is that you can slice away the fat cap a bit after cooking, and it will clearly reveal the grain direction underneath.

- Jon
 
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