Grilled Tri-Tip Steaks
Grilled Tri-Tip Steaks - What per se are tri-tip steaks you ask? They are steaks cut to a thickness of 1 inch from a tri-tip roast. Unless you have access to a Costco or a Good Sam Club there's a good chance you've never seen any tri-tip steaks. Heck, if you don't live in the Western part of the Country you've probably never seen a tri-tip roast at your local grocery store or butcher shop either. Blogs, Forums, and the internet run rampid with pictures, cooks, and recipes of tri-tip roasts so most people have at least heard of tri-tip roasts but you don't often see anything about tri-tip steaks.
By now you're aware that I started with 12 USDA Prime peeled tri-tip roasts that I picked up at Costco and this will be the 5th of 12 cooks. For three of the previous cooks I smoked the tri-tip roasts at various temperatures and they were all taken to an internal temperature of 145ºF. The fourth tri-tip cook was my "TRISKET" cook where the roast was smoked for 2 hours and then cooked like a Brisket to an internal temperature of 200ºF. All the prime tri-tip roast cooks to date have been exquisite! To change things up a bit this time I decided to take a prime tri-tip roast and cut it into 1" thick steaks and grilling them at 450ºF using a direct cooking method until the internal temperature of the steaks reached a medium-rare temperature of 135ºF.
If your wood pellet smoker-grill has the capability of direct cooking configuration like the MAK 2 Star then configure your grill for direct cooking. For best results use searing grates on direct or indirect pit configuration. Whether you're carving a cooked tri-tip roast or cutting a raw roast into steaks care must be taken to ensure you're performing the task against the grain. The grain on different portions of the tri-tip run opposite of each other. For more tri-tip grain information check out this great article and video at the bottom of The Virtual Weber Bullet webpage.
- Cut your tri-tip roast into 1 inch thick steaks paying attention to cut against the grain
- Trim away any excess fat leaving a quarter inch
- Lightly rub the tri-tip steaks with extra virgin olive oil on all sides
- Season tri-tip steaks with salt and pepper or your favorite steak seasoning/rub
- While your wood pellet smoker-grill is preheating allow your tri-tip steaks to come to room temperature
- Configure your wood pellet smoker-grill for direct cooking if like a MAK 2 Star it has that capability
- Use searing grates if you have them for best results in direct or indirect cooking mode
- Preheat the pellet grill to 450ºF plus
- Grill the steaks on one side for 2 minutes before turning the steaks 90 degrees for those beautiful cross grill marks
- Grill an additional 2 minutes before flipping the steaks
- Take the tri-tip steaks to an internal temperature of 135ºF for medium-rare
- Rest the tri-tip steaks for 5 minutes and serve
SPAM Fried Rice
SPAM Fried Rice - You read right ... SPAM Fried Rice! It appears that most people either love or hate SPAM - there is no middle ground. As a senior citizen (in age only not in mind) I grew up eating a lot of SPAM in my younger days and grew to love it. How many of us still enjoy a few slices of fried SPAM in the morning with their eggs, spuds, and toast or a fried SPAM sandwich with all the trimmings?
Who knew there are so many varieties of SPAM: Classic, Lite, Less Sodium, with Real Hormel Bacon, Oven Roasted Turkey, Hickory Smoke, Hot and Spicy, Jalapeno, Teriyaki, Black Pepper, Chorizo, with Portuguese Sausage Seasoning, Tocino, Garlic, with Cheese, Mezclita, Single Classic, Single Lite, and Spread. Personally I've only enjoyed the Classic and 25% Less Sodium. My local Costco caries the less sodium.
In 2007, the seven billionth can of Spam was sold. According to its label, Spam's basic ingredients are pork shoulder meat, with ham meat added, salt, water, modified potato starch as a binder, sugar, and sodium nitrite as a preservative. Natural gelatin forms during cooking in its tins on the production line.
One time tested SPAM Fried Rice recipe is the one SWMBO used to make 30+ years ago when she still cooked!! 😀 ... Here is my version of it. It's very easy, quick, and delicious. There are a zillion variations of SPAM Fried Rice. Maybe this one will rekindle your lost love for SPAM.
2 cups cooked rice, 1 can of your favorite SPAM diced, diced celery, chopped onions, sliced fresh mushrooms, 6 eggs, frozen peas - cooked, salt, pepper and/or spices of choice, Soy sauce, Olive oil, and butter.
Cook 2 cups of rice per directions and set aside
Saute the celery, onion, and mushrooms in Olive oil until translucent and set aside
Prepare the frozen peas per instructions until al dante
Saute diced SPAM in butter and set aside
Cook the eggs scrambled and set aside
In a large wok heat olive oil and butter till hot and add cooked rice
Fry the rice in the wok
Add soy sauce to rice to taste
Mix rest of ingredients (SPAM, celery,onion, mushrooms, peas, and scrambled eggs) and fry for a couple of minutes
Serve hot ... Bon Appetit
Smoked Prime TRISKET
Smoked Prime TRISKET - What you say is a "TRISKET"? You'll not find this cut of beef at any Butcher Shop or your local grocery store meat counter. The reason is because a TRISKET is a Tri-Tip roast cooked to perfection like a Brisket. Therefore the Tri-Tip becomes a TRItip briSKET. Hey, don't blame me, I didn't make this stuff up - I first heard about a TRISKET on the LetsTalkBBQ Forum when user muebe took a Tri-Tip roast and cooked it like a Brisket to 200ºF.
Many, including myself, think that it's sacrilegious to cook a Tri-Tip roast past medium-rare (135º to 145ºF). But after seeing multiple postings of TRISKET photos and write-ups about how delicious the results are I chose to find out for myself using a peeled USDA Prime Tri-Tip roast from Costco. Since I bought 12 Prime Tri-Tip roasts from Costco then this will be my posting of 4 of 12.
It was an unqualified success. I will say that SWMBO gave me the evil eye when I pulled the Tri-Tip at 140ºF to wrap in foil cause that's the sweet spot for me - when my Tri-Tips are so tender you can cut them with a fork and she says it melts in your mouth. I was somewhat skeptical but the results were delicious. Very moist and tender results. Sure is a lot easier to cook than a brisket and to me tasted a lot better than a brisket. Also since there's only the 2 of us it's a lot cheaper to smoke/cook a TRISKET than spend $30 - $50 for a brisket.
Prep the TRISKET like you would any other Tri-Tip roast with the exception of using a Prime Rib Seasoning instead of a Tri-Tip seasoning like Pete's Western Rub. When cooking a prime rib or ribeye roast I prefer using Fagundes Prime Rib Seasoning but you can use your preferred seasoning or rub.
- Trim any excess fat and silver skin from the roast
- Rub the Tri-Tip roast with an extra virgin olive oil and Fagundes Prime Rib Seasoning
- Wrap the roast with plastic and refrigerate overnight
- Configure your MAK 2 Star wood pellet smoker-grill or grill of choice for indirect cooking
- Preheat your grill to 225ºF using Hickory or wood pellets of choice
- Smoke the TRISKET for approximately 2 hours till the internal temperature reaches 140ºF
- Double wrap the TRISKET in heavy duty foil and return to grill
- Increase the pit temperature to 300ºF
- Remove the TRISKET when the internal temperature reaches 200ºF
- Rest the TRISKET in the foil for 15 minutes before carving against the grain
For planning purposes: Total time ~ 4 hours - 30 min preheat/2 hours @225º/hour & 15 min @300º/Rest 15 min
Cajun Roasted Pork Loin
Cajun Roasted Pork Loin - Have you ever heard the old saying " ... The leaner the meat - The higher the heat ..." ? Pork Loin roasts are naturally low in calories and fat and roasting the roast at a high temperature of 400ºF works beautifully using an indirect setup in your MAK 2 Star wood pellet-grill and/or your wood pellet smoker-grill of choice. I've smoked and roasted pork loin roasts low-and-slow working my way up to 350ºF but never outright roasted a loin roast at 400ºF until last night's cook. The Cajun roasted pork loin worked out extremely well and I won't be hesitating to do it again.
- Start by trimming the pork loin of any excess fat cap (optional) and silver skin
- Silver skin is uneatable and will not accept any seasonings
- Rub the roast on all sides with a good extra virgin olive oil and season with my Cajun Spice Rub
- Wrap the rubbed roast with plastic and refrigerate overnight
- Configure smoker-grill for indirect cooking
- Preheat MAK 2 Star wood pellet smoker-grill or grill of choice to 400ºF using any barbecue pellets
- Roast the Cajun pork loin at 400ºF until the internal temperature reaches 145ºF
- Rest the pork loin loosely under a foil tent
- Carve the roast against the grain and serve
Preheat: 30 minutes, Roasting time: ~ 60 minutes ... always cook to internal temperature
Roasted Chicken Quarters
Roasted Chicken Quarters - Decided to run an experiment to save on the cleanup of my MAK 2 Star wood pellet smoker-grill. I pretty much replace the foil on my grill almost after every cook but looking to see if I can delay the foil replacement. When foiling your grill I recommend using large sheets of heavy duty foil that can be found at your favorite big box store like Costco or Sam's Club.
Chicken is perfect for this test since it tends to be greasy and messy. Even though I always trim most of the excess skin and fat before seasoning there is still a lot grease that's generated when roasting chicken quarters. This test consists of creating a foil pan and placing a small rack, sprayed with non-stick spray, inside the pan for the chicken to sit on. My thinking is that this will allow the grease to run off the chicken and pool under the rack during the straight out roasting of the chicken quarters at 425ºF.
The use of a formed foil pan test was an unqualified success! The rack served its purpose beautifully and allowed the chicken fat/grease to pool under the rack while roasting the chicken and it's skin perfectly. Needless to say, my foiled MAK 2 Star remained clean and ready for the next cook. Whenever possible I highly recommend the use of heavy duty foil to protect your wood pellet smoker-grill. I find it easier to replace a few sheets of foil than scraping all that old gunk that gets baked on if it's not foiled.
If you want crispy skin then you need to roast chicken at temperatures at or above 400ºF. It's difficult to beat the exquisite taste of a well seasoned crispy chicken skin. For the most part we don't eat the skin anymore but I couldn't resist - man-o-man was it ever good!. I often read where others state you only need to take chicken quarters to an internal temperature of 165ºF but I reserve that temperature for chicken breasts. When cooking chicken dark meat, thighs/drumsticks/quarters I always take them to an internal temperature of 180ºF. In the case of chicken breasts I actually take them to 170ºF and they're still extremely moist and tender.
Season with a good extra virgin olive oil under and on the skin before seasoning the chicken quarters with your favorite poultry rub. Try using Lawry's Perfect Blend Chicken & Poultry Rub - I think you'll be pleasantly impressed.