Grab your smoker and make this extraordinary smoked tri tip recipe that is tender, juicy, and loaded with awesome flavor. Learn how to smoke tri tip from scratch as I break down each step from picking the best tri tip, my favorite dry rub, smokers, and pellet selection. And when all is said and done, you’ll find yourself in heaven.
Smoking tri tip in the summer is the perfect way to enjoy this delicious cut of meat. The smoky flavor pairs perfectly with the warm weather, and it’s a great dish to serve at parties or cookouts. The aroma, smoke flavor, and leftover roast beef are fantastic the next day.
Looking for an oven version of this recipe? Learn how to cook tri-tip in the oven or my amazing bottom round roast; two fantastic recipes everyone will love.
- 🥩 Smoked Tri Tip vs. Smoked Brisket
- 🌟 Why Smoked Tri-tip?
- 🍽 What you need
- 🔪 How to Cook Tri Tip on A Smoker
- 💖 Favorite Smoker
- 🪵 Best Wood for Smoked Tri Tip
- 🥗 What to serve with a Juicy Tri Tip
- 🙋 Frequently Asked Questions
- 🌡️ Internal Temperature Chart
- 🧊 Storage and ♨️ Reheating
- 🍳 More Meat Recipes to Try
- 🥘 Leftover Recipe Ideas
- 📋 Recipe
- Internal Temperature Chart
- 💭 What do you think?
- 💬 Comments
🥩 Smoked Tri Tip vs. Smoked Brisket
Smoked tri tip is a different cut of meat than smoked brisket. Tri tip is a triangular piece of meat that comes from the sirloin, while brisket is a rectangular piece of meat from the chest or breast.
Tri tip is leaner than brisket, but both pack a deep beefy flavor. Compared side by side:
🌟 Why Smoked Tri-tip?
It’s the perfect smoked meat for beginners and experienced smokers alike and my favorite cut for quick cookouts. Whether you prefer rare or well-done meat, smoked tri tip will always come out juicy and delicious.
One of the best things about smoked tri tip is that it doesn’t require any special equipment. You need a smoker and some wood chips, and you’re good to go.
Smoked tri tip is a popular choice for smoked meat because it is relatively lean and has a good flavor. The fat content in smoked tri tip is about 10 percent, which is lower than other cuts of smoked meat such as brisket. This makes smoked tri tip a healthier option for those looking to enjoy smoked meat without all the extra fat.
The aroma from the dry rub and the wood while cooking is incredible and makes your mouth water just thinking about it. Smoking meat is the best way to retain the juices, keep the tri tip tender throughout, and create that fantastic 1-2 mm bark we all love.
Smoked tri tip is renowned for its tenderness and juicy flavor that oozes through the meat and always puts a smile on my face. And the fact I can prep, smoke, rest, and serve smoked tri tip in under 2 hours is epic.
Finally, smoked tri tip is also a cheaper option than other smoked meats, making it a good choice for those on a budget.
🍽 What you need
I am using a 3 lb tri tip for this recipe. Although you can use a smaller one, I don’t recommend using anything smaller than 2 pounds.
You can use your favorite marinade or dry rub to flavor the tri tip if you wish, but the marinade I use here infuses the meat while it cooks to keep it moist, and the smokey dry rub tastes fantastic in a smoker!
There is absolutely no need for butcher paper or tin foil in this recipe, and we want the meat to absorb more smoke flavor.
- Meat Probe – amazing and under $40
- Meat Injector – handy and under $15
- Smoker – smokers range from $400 – $2,000
- Wood Pellets – pellets range from $15 – $70
This marinade for smoked tri tip is the best!
- 1 cup beef stock
- 2 Tablespoons BBQ sauce
- 2 Tablespoons dry rub
- 1 Teaspoon + 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1 Teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 Teaspoon minced onion
- 1 Teaspoon sugar
Smoked Tri Tip Rub
You can’t go wrong with this rub for smoked tri tip. The cayenne pepper gives this dry rub a nice boost.
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 ½ teaspoons black pepper freshly ground
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- ¾ teaspoon mustard powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Combine and store for up to 4 months in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. I store mine in my pantry.
Alternatively, you can season tri tip with ready-made BBQ rubs like Traegers BBQ Coffee Rub and BBQ marinades from the grocery store.
🔪 How to Cook Tri Tip on A Smoker
This recipe is easy, and it gives the roast a nice crust and delicious juices running throughout the meat. Smoking tri tip requires a few hours of your time, but don’t worry; you can do some gardening, have a few beers, or sit back and relax as the smoker’s aroma fills the air.
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 4 Hours
Rest Time: 30 min
Follow the steps for the perfect smoked tri tip with fantastic bark. Generally, plan for 25-30 minutes per pound at 225°F (107°C).
When preparing the tri tip, you’ll want to remove the fat cap, excess hard fat, and any silver skin. Also take a peak at cheap cuts of beef if you like saving money on meat.
Step 1Sprinkle a tablespoon of salt over the trip tip on the front and the back, then rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Step 2Preheat your pellet smoker to 225°F (107°C). This usually takes 30-45 minutes.
Step 3Now it’s time to make the marinade. Combine the garlic powder, salt, sugar, beef stock, minced onion, and BBQ sauce.
Step 4 (Optional)Load up your injector and inject half the marinade into several tri tip parts to infuse the meat while it cooks. I inject in a grid pattern.
If you do not have an injector, save the marinade for later.
Step 5Next, smother the tri tip in your favorite dry rub or try mine above, ensuring the rub covers every part of the meat.
Step 6Place tri tip directly in the middle of the grill and insert the meat thermometer. Close the lid and smoke until the internal temperature is within 5-10 degrees of your target final temperature.
Step 7 Every 30 minutes, baste the top of the meat with your leftover marinade. Aim to do this twice as a typical 3 lb tri tip takes 90 minutes to smoke.
- 30 min mark – baste with marinade
- 60 min mark – baste with marinade
Do this as quickly as possible and close the lid immediately after you finish basting to avoid losing heat and smoke.
Step 8Increase the heat to 450-500°F and smoke for another 30 minutes or until the internal temp reaches your desired temperature. This stage of smoking helps sear the bark or the gorgeous crust we all know and love. I pull mine off between 135°F, which is medium-rare.
Step 10 Let it rest for at least 15 minutes. Thinly slice against the grain for best results, and enjoy the juicy, tender smoked tri tip!
- fill pellet hopper, preheat smoker to 225°F (107°C)
- prep tri tip (inject marinade, apply dry rub)
- place tri tip in the center of the smoker, insert the meat probe and close the lid
- 30 min mark, open lid, baste tri tip, close lid
- 60 min mark, open lid, baste tri tip, close lid, increase temp to 450-500°F
- smoke until desired internal temp; I aim for 135°F, remove from smoker
- let rest at least 15 min, longer if possible
- If you can’t find a tri tip cut, ask your butcher for a similar cut of meat. The recipe works equally well with brisket or top sirloin.
- This recipe uses my homemade marinade and dry rub mentioned above, but you can use your favorite Smokey rub or marinade.
- Let your smoked tri tip sit and rest for at least 15 minutes and up to half an hour. Allowing the meat to rest after cooking will allow the flavor to absorb into the beef and keep it juicy and tender.
- Point the thicker side of the tri tip towards the fire (the pellet box).
- A water pan helps maintain moisture. If you have room add a water pan.
- If you’re looking, you ain’t cooking. If the lids open, you’re losing heat, and you’re losing smoke. You can’t rush it, and you have to be patient.
💖 Favorite Smoker
I’m currently using and love the Pit Boss Pro 1150 pellet grill, which replaced my Traeger 575 pellet grill.
While smokers can be expensive up front, they last years, are inexpensive to operate, and the food tastes divine.
Smokers worth considering:
- Camp Chef
- Z Grills
🪵 Best Wood for Smoked Tri Tip
Applewood smoked tri tip is at the top of my list. However, oak, hickory, mesquite, cherry, and pecan are great options.
Smoke and flavor-wise, I buy lumberjack, bear mountain, and knotty wood pellets.
If you buy a lot of meat, which I’m guessing you do, Costco has a solid Traeger Gourmet Blend that is well priced. I used this pellet to make my easy smoked pork ribs and my falling apart smoked beef back ribs.
🥗 What to serve with a Juicy Tri Tip
Tri tip is the perfect cut of meat to serve with potatoes, veggies, salads, or rice. And it works amazingly well all on its own as a tri tip sandwich with a toasted bun, sauce, smoked tri tip, thin-sliced onion, and pickle on the side.
This Argentinian chimichurri sauce pairs perfectly with the flavor profile.
Bacon and Egg Potato Salad
Perfect for summer, BBQs, and family gatherings! The perfect pairing for this recipe.
Longhorn Brussel Sprouts
This 15-minute longhorn brussel sprouts recipe is tender and loaded with sweet and spicy seasoning.
You can’t go wrong with this bright red coleslaw with a nice crunch and slightly tangy flavor.
Stick with light to medium-bodied wines. This lean cut of beef doesn’t need big tannic wine that will work with fattier cuts of meat.
🙋 Frequently Asked Questions
🌡️ Internal Temperature Chart
With your smoker at 225°F (107°C), follow this internal doneness guide:
- Rare: 120-125°F (49-52°C)
- Medium Rare: 130-135°F (54-57°C)
- Medium: 140-145°F (60-63°C)
- Medium Well: 150-155°F (65-68°C)
- Well Done: 160-165°F (71-73°C)
I recommend cooking it to medium-rare or medium, and if you’re just starting out, read how to use an internal meat thermometer for some meat-saving tips.
🧊 Storage and ♨️ Reheating
I love smoked tri tip because I can eat it for days. You can make sandwiches and other meals with it for meal prep and make beef jerky! For this reason, I often smoke two tri tips.
You can store smoked meat in the fridge for up to a week, but I only recommend 4 or 5 days for maximum freshness and flavor. Let the tri tip cool, wrap it in plastic wrap, and put it in an airtight container in the fridge.
Preheat a grill, slice, and quickly char each side before serving to reheat the smoked tri tip. Alternatively, you can slice it cold and eat it, which I do more often than not.
🍳 More Meat Recipes to Try
Try one of these delicious beef roasts as your next main dish.
🥘 Leftover Recipe Ideas
Turn leftover tri-tip into a wonderful post cookout dinner.
Love this dinner recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.Try one of my quick, easy, and affordable dinner recipes for your next family meal! And if you have any questions, I’m here to help!
💭 What do you think?
Let me know what you think of my smoked tri-tip recipe in the comments. If you enjoyed this recipe, please share it, pin it or tag me. If you enjoy cuts of beef, I highly recommend my bottom round roast recipe on your smoker!
Through this article, we hope to help you understand Tri tip roast in electric smoker