Monday, August 30, 2010

Hickory Smoked Pepper Crusted Tri-Tip

It takes patience to use a smoker. You can't get in a hurry with it or let the
fire get too high or low. If you don't pay attention your whole meal could end up dried out and chewy.  It doesn't matter if its a $50 smoker or $5000 smoker, once you figure it out and know how to work it you will be hooked.  Nothing makes a tough cut of meat taste better than a smoke with low steady heat and a few sticks of wood. Nothing makes the neighborhood smell better either.

When I lived in Southern California Tri-tip was already a very popular cut of meat out there. Finding it here in North Texas was, at first, difficult at best.  It is slowly starting to show up all over the place now. You can get it at Costco in a 2 pack, Market Street has it but you'll have to ask for it because its not in the display case.  Central Market has recently started carrying it as well. 

Tri-tip, or Triangle Roast, comes from the bottom of the sirloin.  It is a very tender piece of meat with a low fat content. You really need to watch the internal temperature when you smoke a Tri-tip roast or it will dry out and get tough on you. 


     2 Tri-tip roasts
     1/2 cup course ground pepper
     2 teaspoons kosher salt
     1 tablespoon garlic powder
     1 tablespoon olive oil


     Light a charcoal/lump fire in your smoker. Once the coals are glowing
     white, spread them out and place a split hickory log across the middle
     of them.  Once the white smoke subsides adjust your vents to maintain
     a temperature of 225 degrees but not hotter than 250. 

     Combine the pepper, salt and garlic powder in a bowl. Rub the roasts
     with olive oil then coat them all over with the mixture.  Insert an instant
     read/digital thermometer into the thickest part being sure that the end
     of the probe is in the center of the meat.


     Place the roasts in the middle section of your smoker.  Close the door
     and let the smoke and heat do its magic.  You are looking for an internal
     temperature of about 155-165 degrees (Medium Well). If you go much
     higher than that you are going to dry it out and turn it into leather.  You
     can pull it at 145 degrees if you like it a little more rare but any pockets
     of fat may not render out completely.  Pull the meat and let it rest for 15
     minutes before you cut into it.  With a long, sharp knife cut thin slices
     across the grain for maximum tenderness.

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