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Prime Tri Tip what went wrong?

Nefarious

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I had friends coming over for dinner and I wanted to smoke something for them. The friend of the female persuasion didn't like the taste of hickory so I decided to go with mesquite. Never used it before, so why not. Did everything as I have done before, standard rub, PGs, I used about a teaspoon of salt on each tri tip, but lots of pepper and more garlic. Probably got carried away, but I love garlic. I put in the garage refrigerator for several hours before the smoke.

Upon entry into smoker:
PXL_20220116_235915738.jpg


Smoke took 2hrs 15min to get to IT = 132*. After the smoke.
PXL_20220117_021949618.jpg


Dinner was over an hour away so I put them in the oven on warm at 140* thanks to civilsmoker civilsmoker and went on with the rest of the meal production. Sorry I don't have plate pics. When it was time to begin eating, about 1hr 15mins later I cut the tri tips according to Jess Pryless, How can you go wrong with the Hardcore Carnivore. I made the mistake of cutting wrong last time, so I just wanted to be sure.

-7086563084893868202.jpg

Looks and tasted delicious. Problem is, it was hard to eat, almost like leather.

What could I have done to ruin a prime tri tip and make it so tough to eat?
 

civilsmoker

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Not sure, but the only thing I would suggest is maybe taking it to a IT of 145 - 150 ish, I personally prefer TT to a little higher IT temp (you can still hold it at 140). TT's go through textural change that starts at 142-145 ish and then another change starting at 150+.... At 135 TT is usually still held together....

Other than that sometimes its the actual piece of meat....even prime can be tough....
 

chopsaw

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Did you make the turn where the grain changes direction ? Looks like a few slices might be with the grain .

That being said , I just did a sirloin tip that I took to 135 . Some of the slices were perfect some were tough . Like Civil suggests , I think a bit higher temp would have been a good thing for me .
 

Nefarious

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Not sure, but the only thing I would suggest is maybe taking it to a IT of 145 - 150 ish, I personally prefer TT to a little higher IT temp (you can still hold it at 140). TT's go through textural change that starts at 142-145 ish and then another change starting at 150+.... At 135 TT is usually still held together....

Other than that sometimes its the actual piece of meat....even prime can be tough....
My wife wants to blame it on the meat. I only cut one of the pieces last night so this morning I will see what the other one looks/tastes like. I have done this at least 4 times, same IT same everything. I will take it higher next time just to see. This one did look more rare then the others.
 

thirdeye

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Yes, it does look good. Most of the time the slicing is the culprit, but you said you double checked that. But just to confirm:
fjx6ngp-jpg-jpg.jpg

You mentioned your 'smoker' and tri-tip is more of a grilled meat, like hot and fast. What was your pit temp, and was your set-up indirect or direct? Or maybe that hour of holding tightened up the meat?
 

Nefarious

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Yes, it does look good. Most of the time the slicing is the culprit, but you said you double checked that. But just to confirm:
View attachment 522582

You mentioned your 'smoker' and tri-tip is more of a grilled meat, like hot and fast. What was your pit temp, and was your set-up indirect or direct? Or maybe that hour of holding tightened up the meat?
Maybe you are right, more then likely, about the smoke vs grill. I have done this the same way and it has always been good, or at least I cold find my mistake. Last time it was chewy but not tough.

I haven't done my mailbox mod yet, I am impatiently waiting on parts so I can't smoke too high or the wood just burns up way to fast. The smoke is best between 215* and 225*.

I have a gas smoker and the flame is directly under the pan that holds the wood chips. So, indirect heat.
 

sandyut

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Odd for sure. Slicing is usually the issue with toughness (as already mentioned). I like my TT's sous vide, then cooled to 38 and smoked to 130-135 and seared with a torch temp is depending on the company. i like them bloody as hell, wife does not, some fam do not. Never had a tough one with that process.
 

schlotz

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Gotta go with thirdeye thirdeye , Tri-Tip is more of a grilled meat, famous from the Santa Maria area that uses a type of grill with a grate that can be lowered and raised above the coals. Usually rubbed with Garlic-salt-pepper in a 2-1-1 ratio. Mesquite is a very strong flavored wood. Have done a number of them and if on the rare occasion I use the smoker, it's with very light flavored wood in order to preserve the meat flavor profile, but that's just me.
 

thirdeye

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Maybe you are right, more then likely, about the smoke vs grill. I have done this the same way and it has always been good, or at least I cold find my mistake. Last time it was chewy but not tough.
I usually cook mine open top for most of the cook. And judging from the looks of the coals I would guess 500° at the grate.

tMupJvb.jpg
 

Buckeye1

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I agree with thirdeye, scholtz, and SandyUT With grilling .

I will smoke at 225 until IT is at 115, then crank the Bullseye up to 400 and sear on backside of grill grates until IT of around 130. Its by far our favorite beef cut now.
 

forktender

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Slow cooking a T.T. is where you went wrong.
T.T. is best cooked over a super hot bed of wood coals, and I mean white hot Oak wood or lump mesquite coals, HOT and FAST, flipping the roasts every minute or two until the desired I.T. temp, rest and slice.
I cook T.T. to 140* as I don't care for the texture of really rare meat or waterfowl.
A touch less than Med Rare is what I shoot for. I've destroyed many TT roasts by smoking them at a low temp. But never destroyed one, by cooking them hot and fast over wood coals, even if I over shot my internal temp they were 5X better than any smoked TT that I've ever had.

There is nothing better than thinly sliced TT served on a sourdough hard roll with a fire grilled split Italian sausage with grilled peppers and onions and homemade horseradish beer mustard smothering it.

Here's the H.R. mustard recipe I use.
 

jcam222

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Yes, it does look good. Most of the time the slicing is the culprit, but you said you double checked that. But just to confirm:
View attachment 522582

You mentioned your 'smoker' and tri-tip is more of a grilled meat, like hot and fast. What was your pit temp, and was your set-up indirect or direct? Or maybe that hour of holding tightened up the meat?
I probably am looking at it wrong but done the pics on the left vs right contradict the slicing direction?
 

TNJAKE

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I probably am looking at it wrong but done the pics on the left vs right contradict the slicing direction?
Nevermind used my brain and eyes this time. Left pic the lines represent the grain. Right pic lines represent the cut. He clearly marked the difference. We are just dummies lol
 

Nefarious

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Didn't i say I watched the pryless video before i cut it, i got it wrong last time, why would I make the same mistake again? What am I missing?

I didn't cut the second piece last night, so I cut it this afternoon and ate it cold. It wasn't as bad so I think civilsmoker civilsmoker has it correct. I Should have smoked it to a higher IT. I've done this now 6 times in the past two months, once I used the grill to reverse sear to get higher IT.
 

forktender

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Do me a favor and grill the next one like I described in my above post, You will never slow cook a TT ever again.
 

Nefarious

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Do me a favor and grill the next one like I described in my above post, You will never slow cook a TT ever again.
I have grilled many tri tip's. Next time I grill one I will give your technique a go. I have been grilling for many years, but only smoking for a few months. I'm just trying to understand the boundaries. I do appreciate your help, thank you.
 

kit s

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Looks like you cut it with the grain. On tips found across grain makes for better chewing.
 

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