Californian specialty smoked in Kamado
I have posted a story about grilled Tri-tip few months ago, but this time I am smoking it. I have had Monolith kamado grill for two weeks now and it sure gives lots of new dimensions for cooking. More stories about Monolith features later. Now it is cooking time!
Tri-tip is very much Californian, Santa Maria region specialty. In South America, the same cut is called Maminha and in Central Europe, Cuvette. Never mind the name, it is triangular (hence the name!) cut of beef from the bottom sirloin. This time my cut was 3lb (1,35kg) Black Angus beef imported from Uruguay.
Tri-tip comes with fat layer on one side and it can be quite thick. Otherwise this cut is quite lean. Hard lumps and thick layer will not render. So I trimmed majority of the fat, but left a thin layer, removed membrane and seasoned the beef with salt and pepper.
As Tri-tip is lean, you don’t want to cook it much beyond medium rare. My target today was 130°F (55°C).
I prepared my Monolith kamado for low and slow cooking by filling the charcoal basket with high grade lump charcoal. Then I placed the heat deflector on the other side and finally grill grate on top. My heat deflector is a round ceramic plate split in half. Sometimes you can use both halves, this time I decided to go with the other half only. This allows me searing area on top of burning charcoals at the end of cooking.
I used apple wood chips for smoke generation. Monolith kamado has unique feature in front of it. A hole in a ceramic housing where you can refill your wood chips. It is very handy as you don’t need to open the cover at all. No heat loss and no humidity loss. Excellent, simple innovation.
Once the temperature inside kamado reached 250°F (120°C) it was time to place the Tri-tip on top of the grate, above heat deflector. Remember to place the beef fat side up. The thin fat layer I left gives extra flavor when it renders and moisturized the beef. Then finally I placed the temp probe into thickest part of the Tri-tip and closed the cover.
When meat temperature reached 113°F (45°C) I moved my Tri-tip on top of burning charcoal for a quick sear. One minute for both sides gave nice brown color.
Then I wrapped the meat in foil for 30 minutes. Temperature will carry over 5 – 9°F while the meat is resting. This whole process took the meat temp up to the target. Perfect.
I served Tri-Tip with oven cooked root vegetables.
Great smokey aroma and juicy “Santa Maria steak”!