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Something different with Tri-Tip on a COS

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    Something different with Tri-Tip on a COS

    I picked up a nice hunk of TT today (3.8lbs, wasn't on my budget but at a little over $4/lb I couldn't resist) and plan on cooking it tomorrow or Thursday. It's untrimmed, so I expect it to come in at about 3 - 3 1/4 lbs after trimming. What will make this piece an interesting challenge is the physical shape and size of the muscles in relation to each other.

    One piece is decidedly thicker than the other at the join point, easily over 3", closer to 3 1/2" I would say. The other is about 2" or a little more.

    I'm going to try to take advantage of the temperature differential in my COS along with the "heat shadow" effect and place the hunk in the middle of the grates with the thick end closer to the firebox. I'll keep the meat probe in the "thinner" one at first, then start checking back and forth when it hits about 90 - 95 degrees to get a feel for how much the two sections are apart from each other. I plan on keeping the cooking chamber at no more that 225 at dead center on the grates, and might take it down to 200 - 210 (using lump so this isn't hard.)

    I anticipate that even with the thick end a bit closer, it might well be behind the other section as it approaches 115. If that is not the case then I'll move the whole thing back to my normal cook zone at the far end.

    When it is time to sear (about 120), I'm going to get some flame going in the firebox by using small diameter mesquite kindling. I'll have the lid open at this point on the cook chamber so I can respond quickly to internal temp readings. I'll use the high temp from the flames to sear by rotating the hunk as needed.

    I'll try to get pics of the process along the way.

    Are there any obvious flaws in my thoughts other than this is going to be a royal PITA to control when taking the final temp to 130 in both sections?

    PS - As for the rub, that will be my basic beef rub but a much lighter coating than what I use on brisket. Garlic salt, black pepper, dill weed, mustard powder and celery seed. I may or may not put a pinch (literally) of chipotle pepper in the mix, too.

    You've about hit the nail on the head as far as technique I'd recommend, but here's my $.02

    1) I'd recommend dry brining with salt for several hours. Have you checked out the article on dry brining? Separate the salt from the garlic and apply those separate.
    2) Try the rub in MH's Santa Maria recipe if you haven't already. It's good!
    3) For the sear focus on getting the thick of the meat perfectly seared by keeping the thickest part over the hottest part of your fire. Flip often (every minute) to maximize the wall to wall red.

    Come back with pics!


    • boftx
      boftx commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah, I saw those articles. I usually put the rub on about 2 - 3 hours for London broils and steaks, 12 or more hours in advance for brisket. I figure this is gonna cook more like a (very) thick London broil than anything else except for the thickness differential I have to deal with.

      Gonna stick with my normal flavor profile for now, but I'll probably the SM rub eventually. My oldest step-son, OTOH, reads this site, too, and probably uses that one when he does a TT.

      PS - now that I think about it, I might try using some bacon strips to slow down the thin section if I have to.
      Last edited by boftx; July 14, 2014, 09:27 PM. Reason: Added additional thought about bacon.

    Sounds great boftx. You run your offset how I do mine, taking advantage of the slight differential in heat and view it as an asset rather than a flaw. I love offsets for that purpose. Mine has 2 expanded metal grates that form the cooking chamber grate, and when I'm doing one or two smaller hunks I take one grate out, so that I can slide one back & forth. This allows me to in effect raise and lower my temp slightly by sliding to the hotter/cooler side. Granted it's not much, but 5-10 degrees over time adds up. Hasty Bake grills and Master forge have adjustable charcoal and/or cooking grates to raise lower the heat in relation to meat, and this is how I use that same (sort of) principle. I can never find Tri Tips where I live. Maybe this is a regional thing but I've never even heard of it until reading the reviews here. I should ask my butcher about it, seems to be a popular treat, and I'm anxious to try it. Poor man's prime rib from what I've heard?


    • boftx
      boftx commented
      Editing a comment
      I've got more like a 20 - 30 degree differential on my COS, but yeah, I like to tame the beast and make it do tricks for me.

      If TT are regional, then I would to say they cover the entire Southwest. I'm not sure I would call TT a poor-man's prime rib, but that is certainly a good name. I'm not sure what I would compare TT to. Looks sorta like a brisket, as tender as a rib-eye, and as unforgiving as one of my ex-wives.

    • The Burn
      The Burn commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah, tri-tip is a far southwest thing, i.e., Southern/Central California, with Santa Maria, CA (Santa Barbara County) being where it moved from just being a ground meat in the 50s, and where it makes some of the best sammies you've ever had. It's a bottom sirloin cut and Santa Maria-style is cooked relatively fast on an open pit of red oak. It's not usually a low-and-slow because it's low in connective tissue.

    Bend the tail around and tie it to equalize the thickness. If you look at my recent tri tip post, you can see that I've done that.


    • boftx
      boftx commented
      Editing a comment
      Damn! Back to the store for butcher's string.


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