Just when you thought you knew all of the cuts of beef, you hear about tri-tip.
This is a flavor-packed cut, called the tensor fasciae latae. Or to us regular folks, the tri-tip.
It can be chewier than tenderloin or NY strip if not cooked correctly.
But it is bursting with flavor and it doesn’t take as long to cook as a brisket. Only around 2 hours!
Like all beef, it is best served medium rare!
It doesn’t matter if you haven’t cooked tri-tip!
You have to try my smoked tri tip recipe (you’ll master it in no time)
What Is A Tri Tip?
The trip-tip is a beef cut that comes from the lower section of the sirloin.
The tri-tip gets its name from its triangular shape.
Tri-tips are usually purchased trimmed from the butcher and weigh around 2-4 pounds.
It is are a popular cut in California. Tri-tip is also known as Santa Maria, Calfornia Cut.
I have even heard it be called the poor man’s brisket and it is a good substitute if you can’t afford or find brisket.
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.
Should You Marinate Your Tri Tip?
You should marinade your tri-tip.
So people prefer just using a rub.
However, I think you get a better flavor with a marinade. Plus it helps to tenderize the meat.
See the tri tip marinade recipe here.
How to Smoke A Tri Tip (4 Easy Steps)
I believe there are just three steps to mastering the perfect smoked tri-tip.
Firstly, it’s all about the seasoning or marinade
Second is getting your smoke right
Thirdly It’s about the sear!
1: Season Your Tri Tip
If it’s your first time cooking with tri-tip just keep it simple.
Start by preheating your smoker to 225°F
First, pat your meat dry then apply the rub.
I use my brisket rub recipe which includes black pepper, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder in.
Rub it all over your piece of tri tip, liberally, which you can see below. Then let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
2: Smoke Your Tri Tip Low and Slow
Once your smoker reaches 225°F place your tri tip on the rack.
Then place a drip tray below, that way you can use the delicious drippings for a sauce later.
You want to reach an internal temperature of 135°F. This usually takes around 3 hours.
If you don’t have a smoker you can use your gas grill as a smoker.
Note: Make sure your smoker can maintain a good 225°F This ensures an even cook
3: How to Sear Tri Tip
The third and final step is a high heat sear.
This ensures you lock in all of those yummy juices and get a good crust.
You can either do this on a gas grill or in a really hot cast iron skillet. Ensure you get a good sear on all sides.
If you’re going to use a cast iron pan, make sure you use heat-resistant bbq gloves when you do this!
4: Rest The Meat, Then Slice
Once the tri-tip has been seared you need to rest it.
To rest, place on a cooling rack and cover with foil. Let rest for 15 minutes.
When slicing tri tip, make cuts to your preferred thickness making sure to cut against the grain.
Looking for More Beef Recipes?Cook: Smoked Roast BeefRead: How to Cut a Brisket in 10 Steps
How Long to Smoke A Tri Tip?
Make sure you allow 10 – 15 minutes of prep time and at least 3 hours for smoking tri-tip.
You will also need 5-8 minutes of cook time for your searing and then 15 minutes for resting.
Depending on your cut of meat, taste, marbling, muscle structure, and the doneness you are trying to get, the times vary.
I have a chart below that can give a rough guide to the correct cooking times.
Make sure you have a meat thermometer to check your internal temperatures.
This makes for a fool-proof cook and will lead to perfectly smoked tri-tip!
The Ideal Internal Temperature of Tri Tip?
The ideal internal temp of tri tip is 135°F.
How to Serve Tri Tip
There are many declious ways to serve tri tip
See our favorites below
Smoked Tri Tip Sandwich
Smoked Tri Tip Bao Buns
Tri Tip Temperature Guide
Not sure how long it should take to get your tri-tip smoked? Check out my guide to timings below
Smoked Tri Tip Recipe
Looking to get the perfect bark? Follow my guide on how to get bark on brisket in an electric smoker to get perfect bark every time.
Have some Leftover Tri Tip?
My favorite combo is adding some to this breakfast sandwich with fried eggs, yum!
Just make sure you know how to reheat tri tip.
Otherwise, it can be tough,
Samantha Reeves (Charlie’s wife!)
There it is, the cooking process for my smoked tri tip! It’s as simple as that.
If you’re cooking it for a crowd, I would recommend using a faux cambro.
This way you are guaranteed your tri-tip steak will be cooked to perfection if your guests aren’t ready to eat!
Are you a fan of the tri tip? Let me know your favorite way to cook it, even if its not via the smoker!
What to Do Next?Have a read of some of our guides below. They will help you become a better pitmaster!Read: Cold Smoked Salmon RecipeRead: Got a moldy grill? Learn how to get rid of mold in your grill
Hungry For More Smoking and Grilling Recipes?
For more information, please see more information about Tri tip roast in electric smoker