I am still a novice at smoking and don't know much about BBQ/cooking meat to begin with. I do know we like our beef medium rare and love a good tri tip. So I picked up a 2 lb. Bison tri-tip the other day and knew in my heart that low and slow in a smoker was the way to go. But how hot and how long? There's not too much info on Bison Trip Tip too be found so I read up on temperatures for beef Tri Tip. Most things I read said bring it to 135 - 140 for medium rare, pull it, tent it and put in a cooler or wrap in foil/towels afterward for at least 30 minutes. So that was my plan... First I marinated it over night. I've never done that before but didn't want tough meat and have read that tenderizes it. I decided to put the smoker on 235 thinking 225 might take too long. I did read that with Bison it gets tough/blech if you go past medium. OK - so I threw it in the smoker and went to back to work (home office), thinking I had a looooong time to go. I confess I was not paying attention. I thought an hour had gone by but it was really almost 2. I checked on it and was FLIPPING HORRIFIED to see the internal temp was 171. I freaked and yanked it, tented it. If I pressed with my thumb it was pretty darn springy/firm. There were some juices running out of it though. I let it rest about 20 minutes (we were starving) then cut into it and LO AND BEHOLD it was pink all through and totally juicy and tender -- and tasty, So here is my first question -- what gives? How could I cook a piece of meat to 171 and not completely ruin it? Is bison significantly different than beef? I would say compared to beef it was done to medium at the most. I do think I saw some higher temp recommendations online but I dismissed them - maybe they were bison specific. Today left overs were much dryer after a reheat, but I don't know what to think for internal temp for next time - would 135 be raw? Any thoughts? I'm also interested in opinions on smoker temp, wood to use, and any random thoughts.