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.


Don said...

Hi Jason,
I read your Tri-Tip saga. What I can say about your tribulation and confession is:
Start earlier. You have to remember that with a dome temperature of 230 to 240 degrees F that the top grill supporting the Tri-Tip is feeling a 210 degree heat.
Secondly, the creating of a crust is an art. I suggest when you give your self more time to let the pan water evaporate, or push the hot coals to the side of the pan. As less water is being evaporated internal temp will rise!
At this point you have to manage the Kettle temp with the vents to make sure that you get in the region of 275 for starters, this will begin to evaporate the exterior skin of the tri-tip that has no fat. Make sure you have coated it with sufficent rub. When the internal gets to 130 take it off.
I suggest that you experiment with several cut-off internal temperatures. 110 115 120 etc. It takes time.
All the Best!

Jason said...

Excellent tip Don. I'll give that a shot next time. I've got a post on my first boston butt coming soon. I'll be interested in your feedback on that one too!

Roxanna said...

I don't know about you guys, but for me, spare ribs are meant to be grilled using gas and charcoal bbqs. Roasting is just a bit too complicated for me, since I don't have much time on my hands. But I want to know, why did you prefer roasting them? Perhaps a little more effort adds flavor to the meal. Oh well, I'm happy with grilling. Actually, I've made my gas barbecue my best friend. I bought it from a gas barbecues sale.