Tender and juicy on the inside, with a smoky crust on the outside, this Smoked Tri Tip recipe is easy and delicious.

Sliced Tri Tip on a cutting board
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Tri Tip Steak is one of the easiest cuts of meat to smoke. It comes out with the a crispy texture and tender and juicy center. The smoke flavor makes this cuts of beef a family favorite. After searing the steak it will melt in your mouth for a delicious meal idea.

Smoker Recipes make any cut of meat, appetizer and side dish taste amazing. If you love using your smoker as much as I do, make Smoked Brisket or Smoked Ribeye for an impressive meal idea.

What is Tri Tip?

Tri Tip comes from the lower bottom sirloin and it is triangle shaped cut of beef. Most tri tip comes already trimmed by the butcher which removes the excess fat.

Preparing Tri Tip in the smoker is one of my favorite to cook this meat. It is important to follow these step by step instructions for the best smoky flavor.

Ingredients: 

Smoked Tri Tip Ingredients - tri tip roast, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, butter
  • Tri-Tip Roast (2-3 pounds) 
  • Olive Oil 
  • Kosher Salt 
  • Black Pepper 
  • Garlic Powder 
  • Butter 

Scroll to the bottom of the post to see the full list of ingredients and recipe.

Variations Ideas:

  • Seasoning – Smoked Tri Tip can be seasoned many different ways. We used simple seasoning but feel free to add in onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper or seasoning recipe.
  • BBQ Sauce – Add BBQ Sauce for added flavor after removing the Tri Tip from the smoker.

Step by Step Instructions: 

Preparing the tri tip before smoking

Step 1 – Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Trim the tri-tip by removing any fat and silver skin.  Pat the tri-tip dry. 

Seasoning the tri tip

Step 2 – Rub both sides of the tri-tip with olive oil and season it with the salt, black pepper and garlic powder on both sides. Gently press the seasoning into the tri-tip.

  • Step 3 – Place the tri-tip directly on the grill grates in the smoker. Then cook for 2-2.5 hours until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 130-135 degrees Fahrenheit.  
Melting butter in a cast iron skillet

Step 4 – Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. 

Tri tip in a cast iron skillet

Step 5 – Sear both sides of the tri-tip for 2-3 minutes.  Remove the tri-tip from the pan and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Slice the tri-tip against the grain and serve! 

Recipe Tips:

  • Prepare Smoker – Prepare smoker by preheating to 225 degrees before placing the tri tip in. Smoking meat takes time and so we like to set the temperature on low for the best results.
  • Prepare Tri Tip – Before smoking tri tip we recommend removing any fat and silver skin. Make sure to pat dry before adding seasoning.
  • Adding Seasoning – Make sure to completely cover the tri tip with the seasoning blend. Press the seasoning into the tri tip for the best flavor.
  • Smoking Tri Tip – Cooking time will vary depending on your desired temperature. We recommend using a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temp is cooked to at least 130 degrees.
  • Reverse Sear – The key to making the most tender and juicy steak is to reverse sear. We recommend not skipping this step as it gives the steak so much flavor and a nice crust.
  • Smoker – We used a wood chip smoker to make this recipe. But you can also use a pellet smoker if you prefer.
  • Rest Steak – After searing the tri tip, allow it to rest for about 15 minutes before slicing.
Sliced smoked tri tip

How Long to Smoke Tri Tip: 

The directions are to prepare the tri-tip to medium.  Below are the internal temperatures needed based on how you like your beef prepared. Use a thermometer to check the temperature of the tri tip before removing from the grill.

  • 115 degrees F – Rare Roast 
  • 125 degrees F – Medium-Rare Roast 
  • 135 degrees F – Medium Roast 
  • 145 degrees F – Medium Well Roast 
  • 150 degrees F – Well Done Roast  

Plan on smoking the tri tip for about 2 hours then additional 5 minutes for searing and then about 15 minutes for resting. This time will vary depending on how done you want your tri tip to be.

For the best flavor and juicy center, we do not recommend cooking tri tip past medium.

How to Slice Tri Tip:

Place Cooked Tri Tip on a cutting board. Then notice that the grains run in different directions. You want to slice the tri tip against the grains for the most tender meat.

For best results use a sharp knife to slice the tri tip.

Serving Suggestions:

There are many side dishes that can be served with this smoked meat recipe. You can easily prepare your side dishes in the smoker for a complete meal idea.

We have made Smoked Asparagus, Smoked Sweet Potatoes, and Smoked Green Beans. All pair well with this steak and always a family favorite.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I Use Other Type of Skillet?

We like using our cast iron skillet to do the reverse sear on the tri tip. But you can use any type of large skillet.

Can I Grill Tri Tip?

If you do not have a smoker, you can still enjoy this cut of beef on your grill. Prepare the tri tip as indicated and place tri tip over direct high heat first then move to indirect heat for about 20 minutes. Cooking both sides until internal temperature reaches 130 degrees.

How to Store Leftovers:

Refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 

How to Reheat:

Depending on how much you have left, I like to place in a baking dish and reheat in the oven. Reheat in a 350 degree preheated oven for about 10 minutes.

Smoked Tri Tip on a cutting board sliced

More Easy Smoker Recipes:

We love hearing from you. If you make this Smoked Tri Tip Recipe, please leave us a comment or a star review.

Smoked Tri Tip

5 from 1 vote
Tender and juicy on the inside, with a a smokey crust on the outside, this smoked tri tip recipe is easy and delicious.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Let Rest 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings 4
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Calories 504

Ingredients

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Instructions

  • Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Trim the tri-tip by removing any fat and silver skin.  Pat the tri-tip dry.
  • Rub both sides of the tri-tip with olive oil and season it with the salt, pepper and garlic powder on both sides. Gently press the seasoning into the tri-tip.
  • Place the tri-tip directly on the grill grates in the smoker and cook for 2-2.5 hours until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 130-135 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Sear both sides of the tri-tip for 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove the tri-tip from the pan and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
  • Slice the tri-tip against the grain and serve!

Recipe Notes

The directions are to prepare the tri-tip to medium. 
Below are the internal temperatures needed based on how you like your beef prepared. 
115 degrees F – rare roast 
125 degrees F – medium rare roast 
135 degrees F – medium roast
145 degrees F – medium well roast 
150 degrees F – well done roast 
Refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 504kcal, Carbohydrates 2g, Protein 47g, Fat 33g, Saturated Fat 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat 2g, Monounsaturated Fat 16g, Trans Fat 0.3g, Cholesterol 170mg, Sodium 1933mg, Potassium 775mg, Fiber 1g, Sugar 0.1g, Vitamin A 271IU, Vitamin C 0.03mg, Calcium 66mg, Iron 4mg

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Carrie. Welcome to Grill on a Dime!

I’m on a mission to help you cook delicious meals without busting your budget. From the Best Blackstone recipes, to grilling, and easy smoker recipes, together we are going to cook real food, with easy ingredients… for real families!

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