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Got that 1st tri tip off the smoker today and nailed it. My wife, who swore she would never eat anything out of "that thing" said that tri tip was the best thing she has eaten. Thanks for all the advice from you guys and gals, especially chateau, and doc and all the rest of you that pitched in. This is a great way to learn a new hobby!!
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chateau, I can relate.......they all think we are nuts but they keep coming back!!
On the notes, I'm thinking of dedicating a file or folder to "smoke recipe's" on my computer, and whenever I come up with a complete success, just sit down and hammer it out.

Now enlighten do the "visuals" help?

Hi Fresno... I tried the computer thing but I found that by the time I took care of what I was cooking, served it, got a taste and hopefully a positive response, by the time I got to the computer In all likelyhood I would forget something that I did. For that reason I use a little journal while I'm preparing whatever I'm cooking so that if it's good I can duplicate it next time and not forget something. I like to experiment with various recipes, rubs, marinades,etc. but they not only change the flavor of the food but the appearance of the product. There's a school of thought amongst the pros that "if it looks good it'll taste good" (if it is properly prepared). This is where the visuals help me. I remember some ribs that I did that turned out blacker than your mother in law's heart...they tasted great but looked like hell. I made a simple change in the rub from brown sugar to tubinado and the appearance really improved. I find the same thing with other foods that are difficult to monitor with a probe, like salmon, jerky, lamb chops, etc. If you have to keep opening the smoker to check them with a little insta read thermo the food will take much longer and dry out in the process. My approach is to cook the food, based upon the time & temp in my notes, and if it looks like a previous "visual" and the insta read says it's close I pull it out and either wrap it and cooler it or just let it rest. Some of the experts in this Forum, like Smokin' & Tom to name only two, probably only use a thermo as a backup and rely more on experience, time, temp, and visual. I'm not there yet..not even close.
Fresno, glad to be of help. This is a great cut of beef that is under-utilized by the rest of the country. I got hooked on it while working at Vandenberg. Most folks on the other side of the country are not familiar with tri tip hence the high price in the east. People tend to view it as the same type of tough cut as the brisket, which needs a long slow cook. As you probably know, tri tip is best when seared over a hot red oak fire but is also great when smoked to the proper internal temperature ( 155-160 degrees for me and rest for 15-30 minutes ....medium all the way thru ). As CB says, keep good notes and keep trying new things

doc Big Grin

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