Smoked Tri Tip Recipe (You Will Forget All About Brisket)

smoked tri tip

Just when you thought you knew everything about beef, it throws you a curve ball.

A deliciously flavorsome cut called tensor fasciae latae. Or to us regular folks, the tri-tip.

It is known to be chewier than tenderloin or strip, however, it is bursting with flavour and doesn’t take as long to cook as a brisket. Only around 2 hours!

​Like all beef, it is best-served medium rare ​! For those of you who have never cooked tri-tip ​you have to try my smoked tri tip recipe first!

The tri-tip gets its name from its triangular shape. It is a beef roast that comes from the lower section of the sirloin.

You will find that tri-tips are usually purchased trimmed from the butcher and weigh around 2-4 pounds. If it’s untrimmed, the tri tip will have a large fat cap and as well as a layer of silver skin and can weigh nearly 5 pounds.

It is a popular cut in Northern America  and becoming much more available across the US.

How to Smoke A Tri Tip?

I believe there are just three steps to mastering the perfect smoked tri tip. Firstly, it’s all about the seasoning, second is getting your smoke right and thirdly its about the sear!

If it’s your first time cooking with tri-tip just keep it simple, that way you can really taste the original flavors. I go for black pepper, salt, garlic powder and onion powder. Distribute it very liberally all over your piece of meat. 

You can use any type of smoker for tri-tip, however I believe the best type is a pellet smoker! It allows for automation which eliminates any mistakes (and lets you relax m0re!)

Also make sure your smoker can maintain a good 225 degrees F

The third and final step is a high heat sear to ensure you lock in all of those yummy juices and get an amazing crust. You can either do this on a gas grill or in a reaaaaaally hot cast iron pan. 

How Long to Smoke A Tri Tip?

Make sure you allow at least 2 hours for smoking a tri-tip. You will also need 5-8 minutes for your searing and then 10 -15 minutes for resting.

Depending on your taste and the doneness you are trying to get, the times vary.

Make sure you have a meat thermometer to check your internal temperatures. This is makes for a fool-proof cook and will lead to perfectly cooked tri-tip!

I have put together a table below to ensure you get a perfect steak every time!

Doneness LevelTemperature FTemperature CRest Time
Extra-rare / Blue80-10026-3810 Minutes
Rare120-12549-5110 Minutes
Medium Rare130-13555-5710 Minutes
Medium140-14560-6310 Minutes
Medium Well150-15565-6910 Minutes
Well Done160-17571-7910 Minutes

Charlies Hot Tip

​Tri tip can be a little hard to get right without the right gear! (I’ve learnt this the hard way!)​I use my Big Green Egg for this bad girl usually. The best big green egg accessories will ensure this comes out perfect every time!

Smoked Tri Tip Recipe

Smoked Tri Tip Recipe

Deliciously simple smoked tri tip recipe. You can use this as a base and add any ingredients to the rub that you like. I often add in cayenne pepper or a little bit of chilli for a kick.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Resting Time15 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Barbecue
Servings: 6
Author: Charlie


  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1 beef tri-tip around 2-1/2 pounds


  • Preheat your smoker to 225°F as per your smokers manufacturers instructions.
  • Trim your tri-tip of any silverskin or membrane. This is not a must, however, you will be left with a more tender result. Silverskin and membrane do not render down during the cook so it leaves a nasty texture in your mouth. 
  • Combine your rub ingredients in a bowl. Mix thoroughly with your hands. Place the tri-tip inside a baking dish and cover with the rub. Be sure to give it a good rub to thoroughly coat. If you have a digital thermometer place it inside the tri-tip so the end of the probe in at the centre. 
  • Place the tray in your smoker or grill and cover. You are wanting to smoke until the thermometer reads 130°F for medium rare at the centre. This should take around 60 – 70 minutes.
  • Once the tri-tip has reached temperature move onto a wire rack (with a foil pan below for drippings), cover with foil and rest for 20 minutes.
  • Once well rested, cut 1/4 inch slices against the grain and serve. My personal favourite is to make sandwiches with freshly baked bread and lots of crisp salad. Delicious! 

Charlies Hot Tip

Have some leftovers? The best meat slicers will help you create thinly slice it for some memorable sandwiches. My favourite combo is the breakfast sandwich with poached eggs!

Final Thoughts

There it is, my famous smoked tri tip! Its as simple as that. If your cooking it for a crowd, I would recommend using a faux cambro. This way your guaranteed it will be cooked perfectly, if your guest aren’t ready to go!

I also love making this on the weekend so that through the week, me and the kids can have smoked tr tip sandwiches. The meat is even more flavorsome the next day (or the next next if you can wait that long).

Are you a fan of the tri tip? Let me know your favorite way to cook it, even if its not via the smoker!

Happy Smoking


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