tri-tip steak smoked over indirect heat then reverse seared
I’ve heard people label tri-tip as ‘poor man’s tenderloin’, ‘poor man’s eye fillet’ and ‘poor man’s ribeye’. Whilst it is certainly cheaper in price (about half the price or less) it definitely deserves a lot more credit than it price tag warrants.
Tri-tip is triangular in shape (who would’ve guessed!) and is cut from the bottom sirloin. Despite being quite lean it is extremely juicy and is best cooked at a low temperature and finished with a reverse sear over high heat to medium rare.
- tri-tip steak
- your favourite beef rub or a simple mix of kosher salt and coarse black pepper
- Dry brine 3 hours before cooking (if you have the time) at the rate of 1/2 tsp per pound.
- Season the meat with your choice of rub and fire up your cooker aiming for somewhere between 225f to 250f.
- When the temperature of the cooker is stable place one wood chunk about half the size of your fist on to the coals.
- Position the steak over indirect heat* (away from the coals) and cook until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 125f, approximately 45 minutes.
- Reverse sear** the steak, flipping every 30 seconds until the meat temperature reaches 135f (medium rare). Obviously you can adjust this to suit depending on how you like your steak.
- Slice the meat against the grain and retain the juices to pour over the meat once you have plated.
*Indirect heat simply means cooking the meat away from the coals or flame. If you have a 4 burner barbecue for example, turn on 2 of the burners and cook your meat over the other 2. If you are using charcoal then have the coals on one side of the cooker, meat on the other.
**For an in depth discussion on the science behind ‘the reverse sear’ you can read The Food Lab’s article here.
There are many options when it comes to serving Tri-Tip. We served ours with a mac n cheese loaf and pico de gallo. The next day I sliced it up, chucked a few slices on some sourdough and topped with red cheddar, caramelised onions and espresso BBQ sauce.