Tri-Tip Grilling: Adventures of a Novice

On the Grill - Grilled Tri Tip

As the producer of the website, it’s not too often I get to make something for our bi-weekly blog. As a semi-novice, I get very nervous, but an opportunity came up that I could not pass up.

Another part of my job is to administrate the BBQB Reddit page.

On Reddit, a question came up from a Barbecue University® alum. They were having issues cooking brisket. They followed Steven’s directions to the letter, yet the brisket was coming out dry; they didn’t understand what they were doing wrong. I forwarded this question to Steven immediately because I was very much interested in his answer. The reason being is because I have had the exact same issues when I’ve grilled big hunks of meat.

Steven’s response was succinct. Chances were good it was a thermometer problem. Dome-type grill thermometers, he said, are notoriously unreliable.

And it turned out that was exactly the problem. The simplicity of his answer blew me away. But it made sense. Shortly after, my team and I received accurate meat thermometers from ThermoWorks, whose devices are used in thousands of commercial kitchens throughout the U.S. Perfect timing!

Thermoworks Smoke and Thermopen

I decided I wanted to do this test with a cut of beef that wouldn’t strain my work-in-progress grill skills: tri-tip.

Grilling Tri-Tip

Using the recipe from Steven’s book, Project Smoke, I made a simple rub using salt, pepper, and garlic powder. The recipe called for dried rosemary and dried oregano as well, but I didn’t have those on hand. So I substituted “Italian Seasoning” which had those ingredients, plus other savory things. (As Steven sometimes jokes, “Tell them that’s how it’s done in Tuscany.)

Tri Tip seasoned up

My Weber kettle grill was set for indirect at 235 to 250-ish degrees. Or was it? That is where the ThermoWorks Smoke™ came in! This thermometer comes with a probe that is specifically made for putting on the grill grate.

At first, the temperatures didn’t show a big disparity. But once I put the tri-tip on the grill grate, things changed. The Weber temperature monitor on the lid was reading almost 250 degrees, but the ThermoWorks was reading 213. See the photo below; the lower number is the probe on the grill grates. So, the lid thermometer was saying the grill was hotter than it actually was.

The Temperature difference with Thermoworks

Once the meat probe hit a temperature of 110, I took the tri-tip off the grill to rest for a bit while I set the grill for direct grilling. Once that was done, I started searing the tri-tip, flipping it back and forth, until it hit an internal temperature of 130 for rare, and this is where the ThermoWorks Thermapen® ONE came in. This instant-read thermometer takes about 1 second to give you a reading. Incredible!

Grilled Tri-Tip on the grill

But finally, the time was here. We sliced the tri-tip and served it immediately (per the recommendation of Project Smoke) with mashed potatoes and green beans.

Tri-Tip Final
It was amazing! So tender. So Juicy. My mother, who was visiting, loved it. Honestly, this was one of the best things I’ve cooked in a long while. And having grill temperatures be accurate is the key.

The ThermoWorks Smoke™ and Thermapen® were a game changer for me, and they will be for you as well. Let us know on social media if you have used these tools and what your experience has been.

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