This smoked tri tip is a tender beef roast coated in a homemade spice rub, then slow smoked to perfection. An easy and impressive main course that’s great for feeding a crowd!
In my opinion, tri tip is an underutilized cut of meat. It’s inexpensive, tender and easy to prepare. This smoked tri tip is full of flavor, and is super simple to make!
What is tri tip?
Tri tip is a triangle shaped roast that comes from the bottom sirloin area of the cow. This cut of meat is naturally tender and well marbled, and is great when cooked on the grill, a smoker or in a skillet on the stove. If you can’t find meat labeled as tri tip at your local grocery store, it may be packaged under another name such as Santa Maria cut or bottom sirloin tip.
How do you make smoked tri tip?
This recipe starts with a BBQ rub. I prefer to use my homemade BBQ spice rub, but a store bought rub will also work just fine. Spread the rub all over both sides of your roast. Place the meat in a smoker, then cook it until a meat thermometer registers at 5 degrees lower than your desired level of doneness. Broil the meat in the oven for a few minutes to develop a browned and caramelized crust. Wrap the meat in foil, and let it sit for 20 minutes. Remove the meat from the foil, then thinly slice the tri tip and serve it.
How long does it take to smoke tri tip?
Smoked tri tip cooks at 225 degrees F. You can plan on it taking approximately 30 minutes per pound of meat. The best way to gauge when your meat is done is to insert a digital probe thermometer into the thickest part of the roast.
What wood is best for smoked tri tip?
The traditional wood type used for tri tip is red oak, but other varieties of wood will also work. If you can’t find red oak, try hickory, apple wood, pecan, or cherry wood.
I recommend that you use a thermometer to gauge when your meat is ready. I use a thermometer with a remote so that I can just leave the probe in the meat and monitor the temperature from inside the house. Personally, I like to cook my tri tip to medium rare, I don’t recommend cooking your meat over 150 degrees F as it will be more likely to be tough or dry.
Keep in mind that your roast will need to rest for at least 20 minutes before you slice it, so it’s best to take the meat out of the smoker when it’s 5 degrees before you reach your desired temperature, as the meat will continue to cook as it rests.
- Rare: 130 degrees F
- Med-Rare: 135 degrees F
- Medium: 145 degrees F
- Med-Well: 150 degrees F
- Well Done: 160 degrees F
How to serve tri tip
Thinly slice your tri tip across the grain for the most tender bites of meat. You can serve your meat as-is with an assortment of side dishes, or use it in other dishes. Smoked tri tip works well over salads, as a sandwich, in chili or in tacos.
More smoker recipes you’ll enjoy
Smoked Tri Tip Video
Smoked Tri Tip
- 2-3 pounds tri tip roast excess fat and silverskin trimmed away
- 1/3 cup BBQ rub homemade or store bought
- Preheat a smoker to 225 degrees F.
- Coat both sides of the meat with the BBQ rub.
- Insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, then place the meat in the smoker.
- Cook the meat for approximately 30 minutes per pound, or until a thermometer registers 135 degrees F. Preheat the oven broiler.
- Remove the meat from the smoker. Broil the meat for 5-6 minutes or until a browned crust develops.
- Wrap the tri tip in foil. Let the meat rest for 20 minutes.
- Remove the meat from the foil. Slice the meat thinly against the grain, then serve.