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Advice for a n00b on his first tri-tip? Please?

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    Advice for a n00b on his first tri-tip? Please?

    I picked up a Bear Creek Cattle Company tri-tip Wednesday from a local retailer and it's been trimmed and salted for cooking tomorrow. I made up a batch of Mrs. O'Leary's Cow Crust but I'm having second thoughts about maybe just using a black pepper rub ala Louis Mueller, his pitmaster shared the recipe when I was out there last fall. It's pretty simple, he said think of "9:00 to 1:00", black pepper and salt. I really like traditional Texas style for beef but I'm intrigued by the flavor combination of the Mrs. O'Leary's rub, any comments?

    I'll be doing it reverse-sear, bringing it up to 110-115 at 275 then cranking up to Warp 10 for the finish. Should I add more oil or butter before finishing?

    TIA for your feedback!


    I just posted the trip tip I did on Wednesday in the thread show us what you are cooking. I used the BBBR as my rub. I cooked it at 225 (had a temp spike in the beginning) then blasted it on my Weber beater kettle at almost 1000 degrees, turning every 30 seconds. Got a very nice mahogany crust and the flavor was tremendous. I would go at 225 to make sure you get the edge to edge med rare

    Good luck!


      Traditional Santa Maria-style tri-tip is 2 parts salt to 1 part black pepper and 1 part garlic. a 9-to-1 ratio seems overpowering for a cut like tri-tip, and more appropriate for brisket (though strong for my taste personally). I like the Cow Crust for a more traditional roast. No oil or butter needed in my opinion.


        I'll either use BBBR or McCormick's Montreal Steak rub. When I smoked the tri-tip, I used 225 to an IT of 120, then a reverse sear. However, SWMBO doesn't like it smoked, so now I do it sous vide to 120.


        • boftx
          boftx commented
          Editing a comment
          I have to second the Montreal Steak rub. It is very, very close to how I make mine so I have started using it in most cases (since I am a lazy cuss). I also agree with low and slow til it hits somewhere between 115 and 120 IT, then a fast sear to 125 - 130. Flip *often* and keep the Thermapen handy!

        Take off all the fat and silverskin. I like to dry brine, then a blend of black pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Mostly pepper. I go simple.

        Reverse sear. Take it to 110 then over direct heat as hot as I can, no lid. Turn frequently always to a different hot spot on grill surface. Bring it to 130 then hit it with "beef love". Take it off the direct flame before you do to avoid flare ups.

        Carve properly, pour juices back over carved slices.

        Crusty bread. Fresh pico de Gallo (loads of cilantro and fresh garlic... mmmm). Black beans and rice on the side.

        120 seems a little long for me. If you're smoking or sous vide to 120 you pretty well cooked it through and it won't have much time to get that nice crisp exterior.


          I love cooking Tri-Tip. I only use salt, pepper and garlic powder for my rub. I base my technique off of Meathead's .... In the comments section there you can see some of the Tri-Tip cooks I've done. Here's what I do. I salt marinade the Tri-Tip for at least one hour, could go up to 24 hours, but doesn't have to. When I start up my charcoal, I pull the meat out too. I add pepper and garlic powder in roughly equal parts, coating the meat liberally. I don't worry too much about measuring it, but if you want to measure then I would go with 1 tbsp of each. Again, that's a rough number. I set my grill up for 2 zone cooking and get my indirect zone around 250-275. The Tri-Tip goes on and then I ignore it for 30 minutes. At 30 minutes I start checking temp. At 115-120, depending on how I feel about it, I crank up the direct zone until my grill temp is 800-1000 degrees (I have a Hasty-Bake, this is easy to do). I sear each side for 2 minutes, then I crisscross sear it another 90 seconds per side. If the meat hasn't hit 130-135, I give it 30 more seconds per side until it does. At 135, at the most, I pull it. I have a carving board designed for roasts that I slice the meat on. Cut the meat across the grain, in about 1/4 inch slices. Serve with sides as desired. To be honest, you don't need any rub on Tri-Tip. I sometimes just salt it an hour before I cook. My youngest daughter prefers it that way and it still tastes delicious. Or you could do Mrs. O'Leary's, straight Dalmatian, Big Bad Beef Rub, Montreal Steak Seasoning. I've done all of those. All create a different crust, but it's still Tri-Tip, by god!
          Last edited by ecowper; July 4, 2015, 08:24 AM.


            Thanks for all the tips, everybody!

            The cook went well, I ended up using the Cow Crust(made with fresh rosemary), started it with a dozen coals on one side of the PK, brought it up to around 110-115, dumped almost a full chimney of Comp in and seared it to 135:

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            It came out a little on the medium side but it cut well and was very tender. Did some thick-cut sweet Italian toast with garlic butter and we all had great sandwiches. Here's what went to the table:

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            I learned a little about the PK in the process, it doesn't take a lot of charcoal to get it up to 225-250, I had to remove some coals at the beginning. And that I should have started searing when it hit 110 and pulled it at 125-130. But it tasted great!

            I was very pleased with the cut, it was well marbled and cooked up very tender. I think a friend and I are going to go in on a whole side from them, $ 4.59/lb hanging wt is pretty good pricing for local pasture-raised beef around here. I also got a couple packs ground beef at the same time I bought the roast, it got cooked Friday night and was delicious! Here's their website: Bear Creek Cattle Company

            Thanks again for all the help, never would have had the courage to try something like this without the forum and Meathead's great site!



            • ecowper
              ecowper commented
              Editing a comment
              Looks great! Medium is still good for Tri-Tip. I cook mine to medium deliberately because half my family wants medium-well and the rest of us can handle medium. I give the people who want medium-well the end slices.


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