Some times you try new cooking techniques because you want to make something better, or easier than before. Some times you do things out of necessity. Rarely do both occur on the same attempt. Last weekend my local grocery store, had Hereford Tri-Tip roasts and Duroc pork shoulders on sale for 50% off of regular price. This sale made the Tri-Tips $3.55 per lb (usually $7-8) and the shoulders $1.55 (usually over $3) per pound. Unheard of prices for these 2 items. I purchased about $200 worth of meat for $100. I had the desire to cook a Tri-Tip that night as I had not cooked one all winter. I have 2 sons with activities on the weekends and I really did not have time to tend a grill for 30 minutes to a hour and cook this wonderful piece of meat. I thought this would be a great chance to try out reverse searing this steak. I had heard of the reverse sear before and knew that a Tri-Tip would be the perfect cut of meat to use this technique on. I scoured the web for about 15 minutes and found some information on how to do the reverse sear with a Tri-Tip and I was ready to go.
My son and I trimmed and seasoned the Tri-Tip. Nothing 2 complicated. It consisted of garlic salt, Western Sizzle steak seasoning and a BBQ rub that I will have a review on in a couple of weeks. I prepped the pellet cooker, set the temp for 275 degrees and I was ready to start cooking. I placed my thermometer probe in the thickest side of the meat. I wanted to reach an internal temperature of 130 degrees before I moved it over to the propane grill to finish it off. Once on the pellet grill, I left it in the hands of my wife to watch while my sonsand I ran an errand. The thermometer was set to sound and alarm at 120 and my wife called me home when it went off after about 45 minutes. When I arrived back home the steak was at 132 degrees and I moved it to my propane grill to finish off. After grilling (searing) for 15 to 20 minutes more the Tri-Tip was at the desired temp of 145 degrees. I took it off and waited for it to rest for 15 more minutes to slice it.
Now that I have told my story let me explain want a reverse sear is. Normally when grilling you sear first and lock in the juices and form a crust on the meat then you cook the meat indirectly until you reach your desired temperature. With reverse searing, you indirect cook first until the meat reaches a desired temp then you sear at the end to for a crust and finish the meat off. What I got when I reversed seared was a tenderer steak, a juicier steak and a steak that had more flavor because I was allowed to add smoke into the cooking process. My meat had a more uniform temperature throughout giving it uniform color except at the ends where it was slightly less rare. Here is an infographic to explain.
The reverse sear is not a hard technique to learn or accomplish. Cook low and slow first the finish hot and fast. If you watch your temps close nothing will go wrong and you will be rewarded with the juiciest, most flavorful Tri-Tip you have ever eaten.