5 Things Every Man In Virginia Should Know About Smoking Tri-Tip
Ashburn, VA: You’re about to learn 5 tips that will help you be great at smoking one of the simplest and most satisfying cuts of meat. Using these 3 tips, we had a celebrity Pitmaster tell us our Tri-Tip is the best he’s had. More importantly, my wife and daughter told me they would rather have medium-rare tri-tip than a perfectly smoked brisket……every time. Here is how you can make some of the best Tri-Tip in Virginia
Slicing is the last step. However, it may be the most important. I’ve seen Tri-Tip sliced incorrectly even by popular YouTube Pitmasters. When you slice Tri-Tip incorrectly, you end up with beef bubble gum. Your Tri-Tip will be very chewy and will take away from the flavor and work you put into it. You must slice Tri-Tip against the grain. The grain runs two different ways on Tri-Tip so to make this very easy, below is a video of how to slice Tri-Tip courtesy of the “ThermoWorks” YouTube Channel.
This is another important step that often gets overlooked. In most cases when you buy your Tri-Tip, one side will have a hard fat cap. You must trim the fat cap as well as any other large chunks of fat or membrane. Here is why. When you smoke large cuts like Brisket, you do it low & slow. This low and slow process works magic on muscles, and connective tissue and allows fat to render. Tri-Tip cooks fast so the fat doesn’t have time to render. So if you leave the fat on your Tri-Tip, the Tri-Tip will have chewy or hard chunks of fat that will ruin the perfect bite. Here is a short video on trimming the fat cap courtesy of the “Cooking Outdoors” YouTube channel.
A lot of people worry about the temperature when smoking Tri-Tip. They are missing the main point. The main thing is to make sure this cut gets enough smoke on it because it will not be in the smoker long. I get the smoker anywhere from 200-225˚. The lower the better for me because I want the Tri-Tip to have enough time to get optimal smoke. Once the Tri-Tip reaches 110˚-115˚I remove it.
When you pull your Tri-Tip off around 110-115˚ you will notice it will not look pretty. Here is how we fix that and get it to medium-rare. Get your grill or skillet as hot as you can. If you are using a skillet, be sure to add butter before searing the steak. Butter adds flavor but is also perfect for searing because the milk proteins brown the meat. Once your grill or skillet is hot enough, place your Tri-Tip on it. Depending on how hot your grill or skillet is, you should sear your Tri-Tip for 30-60 seconds on each side. Use a meat thermometer while doing this because you don’t want the internal temperature to get past 130-135˚ (medium-rare). Once it reaches the desired temperature, pull it and let it rest on the cutting board.
I went to a BBQ competition in Texas and I got to talk with a celebrity Pit Master. I let him try my Tri-Tip and he said it was some of the best he’d ever had. The compliment overwhelmed me. My heart was beating out of my chest, my armpits got sweaty and I was at a loss for words. I finally got my sh*t together and calmly said “Thank you sir” as if I was used to getting compliments from Pitmasters like him. I usually use a standard SPG mixture (salt, pepper, garlic) but the seasoning I used that day (and still use today) was Bald Buck. I used their flavor called “Bold Taste”. When I smoke Tri-Tip for my wife and daughter I use Bald Buck’s other flavor, “Slow Burn”. It’s got a great flavor with just the right touch of heat. Use whatever seasoning you want but I highly recommend you look at Bald Buck. It’s fantastic on smoked chicken, smoked shrimp, Dino Ribs, Tri-Tip, eggs french fries, you name it. My wife even puts it in her bloody marys. Here is one tip. If you are sensitive to salt, don’t dump too much Bald Buck on your meat or it may be too salty. I learned this the hard way.
If you want to know more about Bald Buck there are tons of videos on YouTube but below is one from my favorite YouTube Pitmaster. Enjoy!