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Bob Hart’s Smoke-Roasted Beef Tri-Tip


Being asked to name my favourite cut of beef is, frankly, a bit like being asked to name my favourite child: it simply can’t be done with children, of course. But I can probably do it with beef.

The cut I would choose is one with which not every Australian is familiar yet, but they will be pretty soon. The cut is called tri-tip of beef, and is the gloriously flavoured triangular tip of the rump.

Do not expect to find these in a supermarket which, frankly, is no place for a grown-up to be buying beef anyway. Instead, try a good butcher and, if he is unsure what it is, try a better one.

Butchers of the quality of Gary in Prahran Market, Jonathan’s in Smith Street or Leo Donati in Carlton, and many more, will not even hesitate when you order tri-tip which will probably weigh rather more than 1kg.

Cooking this cut will vary depending on your barbecue. My preferred method is to slowly smoke-roast it over charcoal with a touch of hickory in, say, a Weber kettle or, best of all, a Pit Barrel Cooker, in which it will cook low-and-slow. But it can also be cooked to perfection ? ideally on a trivet or an adjustable roasting rack – in a gas barbecue. Covered, of course.

The key to the cooking process is not the timing, but the internal temperature. This is true of most roasted meats, but is essential for a tri-tip which is cut from a very active muscle and must not be overcooked if it is to be moist and tender. I cook mine to between 45C and 50C and rest it, loosely tented in foil, for 15 minutes, or even more.

To serve, slice thinly across the grain, and serve with plenty of horseradish which you can stir through cr?me fraiche. You will soon understand why so many of us are learning to love this magnificent cut of beef, best of all.