Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

Meat Lust: Tri-Tip on the Weber Kettle Grill

In all the years we’ve been into BBQ, and all the smoking projects to come and go across the pit, one of the most elusive has been the venerable Tri Tip. It’s not for lack of trying. It’s just that up here in Minnesota, and many other places across the country, Tri Tip roasts are rather hard to locate. Sort of like a kindly old grandma at a heavy metal concert, it just doesn’t happen. Indeed, I’ve searched this county high and low, and nary a Tri Tip to be found. And then last week, on a casual bacon foray at my local butcher counter, I cast first glance upon my meaty betrothed.

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She was beautiful. So shapely and raw. Three points of beef, and decidedly marbled. She laid under the glass like a super model, next to the T-Bones and the rump roasts. My, but I was smitten for this cut of meat. I was ready to drop to my knee right there, and dig out my wallet when a voice bellowed from behind the counter.

Can I help you with something?” asked the butcher in the white shirt.

Where have you been all my life!“, I belched through a long-standing gaze, wiping my drool off my chin.

The butcher man just shook his head in shades of pity. I pointed to my quarry beneath the glassy pane.

“Oh, we’ve carried Tri-Tips for years“, he croaked. “You just have to keep an eye out for them, as they do come and go“.

Conversation was squelched by my giddiness, no time to chew the fat, well, at least metaphorically speaking, and before long I had my beloved swaddled in butcher paper and tucked under my wing like an NFL half back, as I darted hither and yon through the crowded grocery store. Putting a spin move on a mother of four. Lowering my shoulder to the door. Back to the Pond Side Pit I went. Back to my caloric destiny! And I knew precisely what must transpire next.

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Whilst the coals came to maturation on the old kettle grill, we seasoned up the tri tip with same goodness we used on our 4th of July brisket a while back. Maynards Memphis BBQ Rub, from the good people at Miners Mix. Absolutely love this rub. It has been fantastic on ribs and butts, and likewise we were keen to discover it performs well on beef too. Said so on the back of the bottle. Said it was recommended for Tri Tips, and well, that’s all we needed to know. So we coated the roast liberally with it. Then, as a second layer of flavor, and just because, we sprinkled on a fair coating of Montreal Steak Seasoning. If you have none of this, the old stand-by of salt and pepper is nothing to hang your head about. Add a little garlic and onion powder to that, and you have yourself a time-tested, and most worthy spice rub.

*You can season Tri Tips liberally because you are going to slice it later into thin 1/4 inch pieces, like a brisket. So let the seasonings fly.

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It wasn’t long before my meat bounty lay prostrate next to a fiery bed of coals. It sizzled accordingly when it hit the hot Craycort grates, a sound well-loved by many a pit jockey in good form. The sound of that first sizzle sort of signifies to yourself, and those who may be looking on, that the games have indeed begun. That for a while, man and meat will dance, and the fires will be hot. I love it. And to hold with Santa Maria Tri Tip culture, we tossed some oak chips onto the coals. Red Oak is the most poetically correct wood to use. That’s what the Californians would say. But if you’re a rebel, use what you want. I hear pecan wood is no slouch for competent tri tip. We’d caution against green treated wood, however, from your deck. Don’t do it people.

The Poor Man’s Prime Rib

What do you get when a brisket and a sirloin steak get married and have a baby? I think it’s

tri tip

Santa Maria Style Grill

Tri Tip. It reminds me quite a bit of working with a brisket. But it tastes something like a steak. Tri Tips are harvested from the sirloin, we’ve heard, so that is part of it I’m sure. Some folks like to think of the Tri Tip as the poor man’s prime rib. I like that sound of that too. But it is an exquisite cut of meat, and quite fun to cook. Out in California, they do it all over an open Santa Maria style grill. If I’m ever out in Santa Maria, I must check out their Tri Tip prowess. Those open grills look like too much for a patron of the pit.

Reverse Sear

As meats go, Tri Tip is an easy cut to cook. Ours was done in about an hour flat, courtesy ofIMG_6525 the Weber kettle grill. The little lady is not so much fond of rare red meat, so we brought the internal temperature to 150 or so, all on indirect heat,  opposite the hot coals, and then plated the beast up and let it rest for 15 minutes or so. During the rest, the meat will reallocate its savory juices in adequate fashion. Then, and only then, we brought it back out to the pit once more, and seared it over direct heat this time. The reverse sear, as it called. Meaning to sear at the end of the cook versus the beginning. This, the one last glorious finale to the grilling process, produces a pleasurable crust, and sort of locks in the rested juices. Searing it at the end of the cook like this also means you do not have to rest it again. In point of fact, serve it immediately to your guests, and watch their eyeballs pop open with delight. The meat burst with succulence. And note the accolades which befall the chosen pit master. Man, can you smell it! Tip your hat, draw a lovely beverage, and thus tarry now in the wake of deeds well done. Indeed, where man and meat hath danced as one. Amen.

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*When you slice your Tri Tip, do so as you would a brisket. Cut on the bias, or across the grain for a tender chew. It makes a remarkable difference. 

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Oak Smoked Kettle Grilled Tri Tip. Come on people now, it don’t get much better than this!

 

 

 

 

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8 responses

  1. Good golly, Miss Molly does that sound good. Another beautiful bit of prose in honor of sacred protein. I haven’t come across the tri-tip roast, but I am on the look out. This sets my hunter instincts on fire. Thank you for the heavy metal reference. While there can be found the occasional geezer at metal shows (said the geezer), I have not seen a kindly grandma. Oh, and the reverse sear…another lesson learned from you, my sensei. Cheers.

    August 17, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    • Thanks, Todd. Yup, a fun cut of meat to grill, and delicious too. Reminiscent of a giant steak! I don’t know why they have to be so hard to find. I hear they’re gaining popularity tho, and working their way across the country. If I can find one, you can too. It’s there..somewhere. Unlike little old ladies at metal concerts. Yeah, that line was for you.

      So that’s how you spell sensei. Hmm. Nice. Now you can wax my car!

      August 18, 2016 at 7:18 am

  2. Pingback: Meat Lust: Tri-Tip on the Weber Kettle Grill | My Meals are on Wheels

  3. Never realized that different parts of the country have “shortages” – in California, Tri-Tip is never in short supply – especially in the summer. Now Flank Steak or Flat Iron, that’s another story.

    August 20, 2016 at 9:49 am

    • Well if you live in California, you’re spoiled Tri Tip wise! From what I understand, Tri Tips are California’s contribution to the betterment of BBQ. Sounds like that’s where it was started. So, yes, enjoy your prolific quantities of tri tip and try not to rub it in too much!

      August 22, 2016 at 8:56 am

      • Wow what a wonderful article! I recently wrote about tri-tip roasts on my blog as well! We just did an overview of where it came from. We recently tried cooking it and we would have to agree it behaves very similar to Brisket. Thanks for all of the tips and education! Feel free to check us out as well! 🙂

        October 19, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      • Very cool. I look forward to perusing your blog as well. Thank you kindly for checking in!

        October 19, 2016 at 3:44 pm

  4. Pingback: A Year In BBQ: The Best of 2016 | Patrons of the Pit

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