Friday, February 5, 2016

DINNER: Smoked Tri Tip Roast

Texas has it's saucy version of barbecue, Memphis has its rubs, and Kansas City it's smoke.  All three are hard to get good versions of here in California but we do have an ace up our sleeve.

My home of the Golden State has its own style of barbecue, smoked tri tip.  

It's a part of the cow that used to be ground up, or even just thrown away sometimes, until a butcher at the Von's in Santa Maria came up with this triangular cut.  It's a bit tough to start but cooks on the Central Coast figured out that smoking it came up with a tenderizing and tasty way to serve it.

You can now find tri tip being served up in every corner of the state on weekends at fairs, farmers markets, church group fund raisers, and on almost every corner of Santa Maria.

This is a meal I reserve for special occasions. It takes quite a bit more to prepare and cook than the other recipes you'll find on this blog but it is well worth the results and you can have very good leftovers for days.

2 or 3 tri tip roasts - minimum grade of USDA Choice, Prime if you can swing it.
1 tablespoon Kosher salt 
1 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
16 oz pineapple juice
16 oz orange juice
1/2 pound hardwood chips (hickory, oak, or mesquite)


The day before, put the roasts in a sealable plastic bowl and fill with a 50/50 mix of orange and pineapple juice. Seal and put in the refrigerator overnight.

Put the wood chips in a bucket and fill with water, let sit overnight.


Mix the cayenne, paprika, mustard, and onion powder together.


Drain the pineapple and orange juice into a small sauce pan. Simmer on low for about an hour. This can be used as a glaze when the meat is done.

Sprinkle the salt and pepper over all surfaces of the meat.

Apply the rub thoroughly on all surfaces of the meat.

Drain the water from the chip bucket so that you only have soaked chips left in it. In a smoker or a charcoal grill, put a ring of charcoal around the edge. Don't make a full circle but leave about a quarter of the circumference empty. It should resemble a Greek omega symbol - Ω

Put a layer of wet wood chips on top of the charcoal.

Light each end of the ring. I put about ten briquettes in a starter chimney and and then put about half of the burning charcoal on each end of the ring.  This will burn slowly around the ring but give enough of the temperature to cook (you're shooting for 250 degrees F).

The wood will also help regulate the temperature along with providing the smoke needed for flavor.

The meat all goes in the center, with no direct heat underneath them.

It's a slow process, maybe two hours for one roast and an hour for each roast you add to that. A meat thermometer will help you monitor the progress. Keep the smoker or grill covered, check once an hour or so. Remember that each time you remove the lid, you'll be adding 15 minutes to cooking time so do this sparingly.

You're looking for an internal temperature of 140 - 150 degrees F for medium rare. Once done, remove to a platter, cover with foil for 10 minutes before serving.

We like to serve it as a sandwich with my wife's homemade sourdough bread with a little jack cheese...

...or as an entry, as shown above.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved.

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