Saturday, May 26, 2007

Tri-Tip roast - 1st attempt

This week's adventure is Tri-Tip Roast. Many people have had the Tri-Tip strips that are thin and resemble a boneless spare rib (at least to me). Costco sells the heck out of them. Those are fine and, I'm sure, produce a great product. But to me it seemed that the roast, if executed well, would outshine the strips 100 times over. Now I could be wrong. Honestly I've never made one of the strips so I could just be another misinformed shmoe talking out know. Nonetheless, for me the roast seemed a good project.

I started with about a 3 lb roast. That's enough to feed my family with left overs. I rubbed it with some garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, and a little cayenne pepper. I didn't make not of the recipe. It wasn't a heavy coat.

I got my fire started with about 36 Kingsford briquets and some left over charcoal and wood from a previous cook. The Smokenator instructions say to use 24 briquets to start but my chimney is huge and 24 doesn't fill it in a way that makes it easy to get them all lit. I'm still working on ways to light them. Currently I prefer the Weber FireStarters.

I started the cook with a few mesquite chunks at about 1:40pm. Grill temp was about 200. Within an hour more fuel must have ignited or the grill had come up to temp because I was soon at 250. I spent the next 4 hours doing the dance. Shift coals around knocking off ash, add water to the pan, add mesquite, add fuel, about every 20-30 minutes.

I think I was a little impatient. About 5 o' clock I took temp of the meat and it was about 120. I was shooting for medium since that seems to be the point that works for my family (I'd prefer medium-rare usually). So I was shooting for about 130-135 internal temp. I figured there would be some carry over cooking so 120 seemed a good point to finish it up.

I wanted to have a little crust on the outside. I removed the Smokenator and spread out the fuel giving me a "direct heat" coal bed. I seared one side of the roast...a little too long. It had a nice crust but it was almost burnt. More importantly the heat had already gained momentum and the overcooking had begun. I didn't know for sure but it seemed likely that I was on my way to medium-well. I turned the meat over to sear the other side anyway. After doing so the meat had reached 150. Doh!

I wrapped it in foil to rest and try to keep as much of the meat's juice close to it as I could. After resting I carved it up. It had a nice smoke ring (sorry no pics on this one) but it was definitely not pink in the middle. Not a good sign. We ate it for dinner and it was certainly edible but far from what I had hoped.

I'm going to have to try this again, soon.