Smoked tri-tip is a great alternative to the brisket, its juicy, meaty, quicker and much cheaper!
It’s usually used to be used in stews or sliced for steaks. However, it has become popular to smoke low and slow!
The rising price of brisket has driven many people to choose this cut as well! It’s way different from smoking a brisket, so make sure you follow along with my steps so that you produce a pitmaster level tri-tip!
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What Is A Tri Tip?
The tri tip is a flavor-packed cut, called the tensor fasciae latae. The trip-tip is a beef cut that comes from the lower section of the sirloin and gets it name from its triangular shape.
It’s also known as the Santa Maria streak., triangle steak or newport steak . That is after the region it’s said to originate from, or triangle roast due to the shape.
Why You Love This Smoked Tri Tri Recipe
With a bit of seasoning and the right wood chips, the smoked beef tri-tip roast comes up a treat.
The tri-tip is a cut that is heavily marbled and is similar to brisket but cooks in a fraction of the time.
The low and slow cooking process allows the fat and connective tissue to break down into delicious gelatin.
How to Trim Your Tri Tip Roast
You have two options when buying tri tip: trimmed or untrimmed. Most butchers will trim it for you however if your roast still has a sizable fat cap, follow these simple steps to trim it perfectly.
It’s crucial to use a sharp knife to ensure the tender meat remains intact. Slowly and carefully, cut with one hand while lifting the fat with the other to remove the large fat cap.
Afterward, inspect your roast and trim any other significant chunks of fat or silver skin. Leaving silver skin can result in a tough and difficult-to-cut tri tip roast!
What You Need For Smoked Tri-Tip
Rub (Use your favourite rub or make own your simple dry rub using 2 tbsps of garlic powder , 1 tbsp of onion powder, 1 tbsp pink sea salt, and 1.5 tbsps of black pepper)
Doneness Chart for Tri Tip
When it comes to smoking the ideal tri tip, temperature plays a crucial role. It’s important to avoid cooking the tri tip beyond medium, as it may lead to a tougher and drier roast.
To achieve the perfect internal temperature, use the beef doneness chart provided below. Keep a close eye on the internal temperature using a probe or meat thermometer and adjust the cooking time accordingly for best results!
|Doneness Level||Internal Temperature||When to Pull for Reverse Sear|
|Rare||125°F to 130°F||Pull around 115°F to 120°F|
|Medium Rare||135°F to 140°F||Pull around 125°F to 130°F|
|Medium||145°F to 150°F||Pull around 135°F to 140°F|
|Medium Well||155°F to 160°F||Pull around 145°F to 150°F|
|Well Done||165°F and above||Not recommended for reverse sear|
How To Make Smoked Tri Tip Roast on Your Pellet Grill
1. Seasoning the Tri-Tip
Preheat your smoke to 225°F, then wipe the surface of the meat to remove any excess moisture.
Coat with a layer of mustard, Worcestershire sauce, or oil to give the dry seasoning something to stick to. Evenly coat the entire surface with your dry rub ingredients.
Ideally, allow the coated roast to sit for an hour before smoking. This allow the seasonings time to permeate and the meat to come to room temperature.
Make sure there are enough wood pellets in the hopper to feed the entire cook. There’s nothing worse than slowing up the process by running out of chips!
2. Smoke The Tri Tip
After preheating your grill, carefully position the tri tip on the grill. Don’t forget to insert the probe into the thickest part of the meat to monitor its progress effortlessly.
I recommend cooking it too medium-rare for the best result, so the following instructions are for that. Remove the roast when the internal temperature reaches around 130°F. Once it has reached the desired temperature, take it off the grill and transfer it to a dish, covering it with foil for resting.
3. How to Reverse Sear Your Tri Tip on a Smoker
By using the reverse sear method, you’ll enhance the color, texture, and flavor of your meat. Plus it leaves your meat with the grill marks that will leave mouths watering.
If you are wanting to reverse sear your beef roast, remove at 125-130°F and let the meat rest under a piece of foil tented. While it’s resting increase the grill temperature up to 400°F-425°F or you can use a cast iron pan on the stove
Once the grill or pan is at temperature, remove the aluminum foil and coat with oil. Place on the grill grates for 90 seconds then flip and cook for another 90 seconds. I reversed seared my tri tip in a pan as you can see below.
Once the roast is done, place it back in the dish and cover it with aluminum foil, creating a tent-like shape. Allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, if you prefer, you can opt to wrap the roast in butcher paper during this resting period.
Recommendations for Wood Pellets to Use for Smoking a Tri Tip Roast
Red meat can handle a stronger, bold flavor profile. I like to use Oak or hickory hardwood pellets with their rich, bacon-type flavors, or mesquite chips for a strong rich flavor.
If you prefer a sweeter, more subtle flavors try apple, maple, or cherry pellets. They will give the smokiness without overpowering the natural flavors. However, you may struggle to get a smoky flavor through the meat.
Should You Marinate Your Tri Tip?
You should try marinating your tri-tip. So people prefer just using a rub or dry brine.However, I think you get a better flavor with a marinade, plus it helps to tenderize the meat.
Dry Brining Process
It’s best to coat the entire surface of the meat in a layer of kosher salt and rub at least two hours before smoking.
What Temperature Should I Cook Tri Tip At?
You should smoke your tri tip at a temperature of 225°F.
How Long to Smoke a Tri-Tip?
It takes 30 minutes per pound to smoke tri-tip. However, that will depend on the tri-tip size and the temperature of the grill.
The most effective way of monitoring is to use a digital meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature.
How Will I Know When Tri Tip Is Cooked?
If you want to have the same texture as a brisket you want to cook the tri-tip until you have an internal temperature of 203°F.
If you want more of a steak texture cook to the following; When the internal temperature is 125-145 degrees (135 degrees for rare, 145 for medium-rare), remove it from the grill.
The best way to monitor is with a meat temperature probe, rather than a time frame.
Slicing Your Tri-Tip and Serving It Up
There is one single trick to serving tri-tip that will make or break your dish, and that is the way it is sliced.
The tri-tip has a grain that runs in two different directions changing midway through. If sliced incorrectly you can end up with very chewy pieces, even though the roast has been cooked to perfection.
For the perfect slice, simply find which way each part is running. Then cut the meat against the grain direction for maximum tenderness.
Not Sure What To Serve With Your Tri Tip
You have done the hard yard with the meat, but what are you going to serve with it?
Some of my favorites include;
Wasabi Potato Mash
Spice Bag Fries
Have You Tried Sous Vide Tri Tip?
Smoked tri tip is delicious but have you tried the sous vide method?
Using the sous vide leaves the meat tender and succulent.
Got Leftover Tri Tip?
Here are some of the favorite ways to use leftover tri-tip.
Smoked Tri-Tip Fajitas
Leftover Steak Shepherds Pie
Click here to see more leftover tri tip recipes.
When serving up your leftover tri-tip, make sure you reheat the tri-tip properly. Otherwise, it can end up tough and chewy.
Pit Boss Smoked Tri-Tip
- Pitboss Grill
- 1 Tri-tip roast
- 3 tbsp Meat rub (herbs, garlic powder, onion powder, pink sea salt, and black pepper rub)
- 1 tbsp Oil
- Worchester sauce or mustard
- 1 tbsp Kosher salt
- Mix rub ingredients in a bowl until evenly combined.
- Preheat pellet grill to 250ºF with the smoke setting on medium-high.
- Coat with a layer of mustard, Worcestershire sauce, or oil to give the dry seasoning something to stick to. Evenly coat the entire surface with your dry rub ingredients.
- Let your seasoned tri-tip rest at room temperature for about an hour.
- Place tri-tip on the pellet grill grate and shut the lid.
- Cook until the center of the tri-tip is 125-145 degrees. This usually takes about 1 hour, give or take.
- Remove tri tip from grill and let it rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
- While the beef rests, raise the temperature in your pellet grill to 450-500F.
- Put tri tip back on the grill to sear each side of the roast.
- After the tri-tip is seared on all sides, check the internal temperature in the center of the beef to see if it has reached desired doneness (135 for rare, 145ºF for medium rare).
- Once doneness has been reached, place the finished tri-tip on a cutting board.
- Let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
The tri-tip roast is such a versatile cut that you can cook low and slow if you have plenty of time, or a little quicker when you need to feed a tribe in a hurry.
Either way, it will still retain its tender, moist qualities.
So next time you think of smoking a brisket, why not try tri-tip?
Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)
You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!
You can read more on our About Us page.
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