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Friday, January 26, 2018

Chasing Holiday Beef


We don't eat a lot of beef in our family. Nothing against cows, but we're pork, chicken and seafood people mostly.

And for some reason Jana wanted Tri-Tip for Christmas. Who am I to blow against the wind, right Paul Simon?

Besides, so many of our Legion of Dragon Knuckle buddies cook a lot of Tri-Tip and do it well. Many of them are South-Westerners and it seems to be a California and Arizona thing.

My parents were in town for the holiday and they recently moved to Arizona, as many retired folks do. They'd asked me for advice on Tri-Tip, although I had no experience with it.

With the help of the DK Community, I was sure I could show them how it was done.

So off to my favorite supermarket a couple days before Christmas to get some supplies. I'd seen Tri-Tip there before, but found none on that day. It must have been summer when I'd seen it previously, because the butcher said it was very seasonal up here in Washington.

Plan B.




So grabbed an 8 pound bone-in beef rib roast. I made one of these a few Christmases ago and it turned out nice. That one was in the oven, but this one I was going to smoke.

As soon as I had it home, I posted a picture of my new buddy on Instagram and asked for guidance. Marinate? Brine? How should I prep this thing?

Common opinion was that I should season it heavily and wrap in plastic wrap. Now I have my own impossible to acquire (don't ask) rub I use for most things, but I recently got a pack of good stuff from 7 Sins BBQ


In the Barbecue and Grilling Community, we share a lot of gifts. Stickers, t-shirts, rubs, sauces, gloves and other gear.

So the most logical seasoning was my new 7 Sins Beef Rub.

After almost two days in the fridge, it was late Christmas morning. All the gifts were open and it was time to get cooking.

I get more excited now about Christmas food than Christmas gifts.

I ran out of charcoal months ago and still use only straight wood in my Big Green Egg, but I'm running low. I sparked a fire with the last of my maple, let it burn down then closed the vents most of the way and let the fire struggle.

Then I wrapped my square patio stone in foil, sprayed it with oil and set it on the grill. I put the meat on the stone, as usual.


I use this trick because with a standard BGE, the fire is right below the meat and will scorch the bottom. With the stone in place, the heat becomes indirect.

I don't know how long things were cooking or truly how hot the barbecue was. I only have a single probe thermometer, which was in the meat.

I should have one of those multi-probe wireless thermometers. Then I could monitor the temp at the upper vent and in the meat at the same time.

Regardless, I cooked it to an internal 130ยบ Fahrenheit, expecting about 10 degrees of carry-over.

My plan was to use the reverse sear technique, which I've never used. I was going to build a campfire, put a grill over it and char the edges.

Yet when I opened the lid it was already barktacular. I wasn't messing with this thing any more. All it needed was a rest, a knife and a fork.


After 20-30 minutes, I went to cut the bones from the roast and found they came off in my hand. I cut one bone off for my dog and saved the rest for soup.

Then it was time to slice.


I'm very pleased with the crust, the doneness and the tenderness. The exterior had a little too much bite from the smoke. Perhaps it was the straight maple.

My resolution for 2018 is to cook with a wider variety of wood. With a little hunting, it's not hard or expensive to find. Here in Washington I should be able to find trimmings from fruit and nut trees. The orchardists my be happy for me to haul them off.

Happy New Year. Your advice is welcome. We're still learning every day.

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