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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 01-13-2012, 03:48 AM   #1
landarc
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Default Tri-tip cooked like brisket

So, as we all know, there was a recent thread in which the question was asked can you cook a tri-tip like a brisket. There was a lot of emotion and a fair amount of getting out of the Brethren spirit, getting called out as egotistical or not helpful is never fun. And BBQ should be fun. Anyway, here is the cook, in it's etirety. Not sure it will make my blog.

The Meat:
I chose to use a standard tri-tip that could be secured, at least in theory, nationwide, I went with Rancher's Reserve tri-tip. It was 2.37 pounds, had about 1/8" fat cap and was fairly moist and fresh (bearing in mind, Rancher's Reserve cryo-ages all their meat). Here is the package and the meat raw from package. As most of you know, I generally use grass finished beef, which this is not, but, I wanted to give as normal a process as possible, and some folks don't like grass-finished beef due to the lean nature of the meat.


Tri-tip in package
Pulled from package
The meat was pretty much ready to go, I did clean up trim the fat a little bit. I also tied the long tail of the tri-tip under to more closely approximate a brisket.

Preparation:
As the stated goal, in response to that thread, was to cook a tri-tip like a brisket, I had a selection of methods to pursue. Since I wanted to make this as brisket like as possible, I chose my contest preparation process, minus my actual rub and such. I trimmed edges and reduced the fat cap, removed any discolored meat of yellowed fat. I then injected with Butchers Injection. This is a full blown meat product that helps retain moisture and provides a more predictable finished product. I would use one of the three major injections, Buchers. Kosmos' or FAB if I was going to compete. I did adjust quantities for the smaller cut of meat.

Injecting the beef

For a home cook I would not inject, for a catered cook, I might. But, I wanted the best product I could produce, that means injection. The meat was injected in a 1/2" square pattern and it was bagged and placed in the refirgerator for 18 hours. I also applied a heavy coating of Dizzy Dust no-salt rub prior to bagging. This was to establish the first layer or flavor and allow the injection to work.

The meat was removed from the bag, coated with a medium coating of The Rub Company Santa Maria Rub and allowed to come to room temperature under a fan for 45 minutes. This creates the pellicle and 'cures' the rub to the meat.

Tri-tip preparing for smoker

The Cook:
I got the UDS up and running at 235F around 5:30 p.m. The tri-tip had been out under the fan for almost an hour and was ready to go. The tri-tip and two 9 pound pork butts went on at that time. The tri-tip would be pulled at 11:30p.m., and sliced at 12:30p.m. after a 1 hour rest, foiled and towelled.

The UDS has a cast iron pizza pan of the lower rack to act as a diffuser and to prevent too much fat from hitting the fire. The two pork butts were added, again to match competition standards and to provide moisture to the cooking chamber that the smaller tri-tip would never adequately provide.

Here are the meats

The tri-tip ran in the cooker for 6 hours, at between 225F and 245F until it was probe tender. I then pulled it and towelled and rested the tri-tip for an hour.

The Slicing:
So, once rested, I unwrapped and the tri-tip smelled and looked terrific. The color was very nice, the meat had tightened up a bit from cooling, but not a big deal. The meat was ready for slicing.
Good texture to the bark

Once sliced, the knife glided through the meat, there was a good color and a smoke ring, the overall feel of the meat was that of slight resistance and a little bit of pull. This tri-tip was cooked as I would cook for a competition and it showed.

Nice color and some visisble moisture

Overall, I would rate this, as a brisket, texture was an 8, flavor as a 6, appearance, maybe an 8. It certainly had the right pull and tooth, it was easily slicedable, yet held the sliced form, had a great looking bark, a nice smoke ring and it was a little salty, which is not surprising. It is definitely edible.

Close-up of slice

Hopefully you can see that there is still moisture and texture to this slice, it is properly sliced and honestly, if it were a piece of a brisket slice, I wouldn't hesitate to turn it in.

Conclusions:
1. This is not a normal tri-tip cook taken longer. It is an experienced cook, using some tricks from his bag to insure a moist product. I did not cook a control tri-tip without the injection, as I chose to cook this like a brisket.

2. It tasted good and was certainly quite edible. It was too salty for me, which is common with injections for competition meats. Still, sliced thin, piled on a roll with some sauce, this would sell quite well.

3. It cost as much as a 3lb brisket flat, it took as long as a 3lb brisket flat, it tastes similar, but, not the same, it is a toss up which I would prefer. I do really like brisket a lot. I also like a nice 130F tri-tip a lot.

4. I still do not fully understand why I would do this, I understand if you cannot find a brisket flat, or feel that tri-tip is just so much better, even when cooked and seasoned just like a brisket, that this makes sense. I love a good smoked brisket, flat or point. This is not quite either.

5. Total preparation time was 1 hour, total cooking time was 6 hours, for a seven hour effort, I have a nice 1.5 pound hunk of meat that tastes a lot like competition brisket. I can and reguarly do this with a 6lb brisket flat and end up with at least twice as much meat, often for the same cost.

6. It does taste good, I could easily sell it, a lot of folks would love it as it is. It is possible to cook a tri-tip like a brisket, in this definition and have a good cook come off. No doubt, although I am not surprised, as I did everything I know to do to make this come out well.
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Unread 01-13-2012, 03:56 AM   #2
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Nice results right there Lando!
Love that last shot!
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Unread 01-13-2012, 04:39 AM   #3
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Well done. Sure would like to have a hoagie roll filled with that!!!!
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Unread 01-13-2012, 05:14 AM   #4
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I would jump all over that! Thanks for setting the record straight.
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Unread 01-13-2012, 06:23 AM   #5
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jk. looks phantastic and thanks for clearing that up.
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Unread 01-13-2012, 06:32 AM   #6
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Bueno! El Bob de Tri Tip grande.
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Unread 01-13-2012, 07:00 AM   #7
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looks like you ruined a fine piece of beef to me. ;)
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Unread 01-13-2012, 07:04 AM   #8
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I'd hit that! It's really good to have some confirmed results, that's for sure.
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Unread 01-13-2012, 07:21 AM   #9
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Outstanding
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Unread 01-13-2012, 07:28 AM   #10
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Nice! And a very detailed post. Thanks for the effort. At the end of the day, I do not know why I would ever do this myself, but it made for an interesting read and hopefully put a certain thread to rest forever more!
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Unread 01-13-2012, 07:34 AM   #11
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Very nice! And we all lived happily ever after.
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Unread 01-13-2012, 07:35 AM   #12
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Excellent, very detailed!
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Unread 01-13-2012, 07:51 AM   #13
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At the end of the whole process, I can't say the record is straight, it can be done, it works, at least with an injection. I actually knew that would be the case going in. A tri-tip does have enough of whatever qualitities are necessary, and I am not really sure what those qualities are, to achieve a good result when cooked like a brisket.

I am not really sure I would do it again, I kind of doubt it, simply because I like brisket and can get it. I suppose if I could not find a brisket, this might be an option I would go for. The other question is whether and what role the Butcher's played. I know it makes a difference in brisket, this tri-tip showed the same textural and flavor enhancement that a brisket would. It remains to be considered.
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Unread 01-13-2012, 07:53 AM   #14
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Nice!!! I have a TT in the freezer now, may have to try that when I smoke next!!
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Unread 01-13-2012, 07:57 AM   #15
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Most Excellent Bob!! But... did you get any sleep? Wasn't cooked like a brisket unless true sleep deprivation is achieved!

I'd hit that for sure though! I'm surprised it looks more sliceable than pullable! Well done sir!

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