Smoked tri-tip is on of my favorite beef cuts to smoke when I am looking for a steak-like texture and flavor. The really awesome thing is that cooking steaks or even lean, tender roasts in the smoker yields a medium rare that is edge to edge instead of the typical medium rare in the center and more done toward the outside. Perfectly cooked all the way through!

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 220°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 140°F
  • Recommended Wood: Hickory
What You'll Need

Get the Recipes for Jeff's Rub and Sauce


recipe-ad-rubHaving used my original rub many times on smoked tri-tip, I can tell you that it is really good. This time, I used the new Texas style rub and it is also very good. You may find it difficult to decide which one to use but no matter what you choose, it will definitely be tasty!

promise you'll love my dry rub/seasoning recipe and my barbecue sauce recipe or you don't pay!

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Step 1: Season the Meat

Lay the meat fat cap down on the cutting board or down in a pan to keep the area clean.

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Pour olive or vegetable oil onto the meat and brush it all over the top and sides.

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Normally I would add the rub right at this point but I realized during the process that I forgot to remove the fat cap, so we'll take care of that, then come back to the rub part of this process.

Flip it over to fat cap up..

Step 2: Remove the Fat Cap (optional)

Since we are cooking this to medium rare, the fat cap does not have time to render and really serves no purpose in my opinion.

A sharp knife and a little patience will do the trick.

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Step 3:  Apply the Rub

With oil brushed all over the meat, including the sides, sprinkle my Texas style rub (purchase recipes here) onto the meat.

Don't be skimpy about it.

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Step 4: Smoke the Tri-tip

Setup your smoker for cooking at around 220°F using indirect heat. If your smoker has a water pan, it' s a great idea to use it.

I used hickory with this ti-tip but the traditional wood to use is red oak if you have it available.

Once the smoker is ready, place the meat directly on the grate or you can use a bradley rack, Weber grill pan or even a basic cooling rack  to make it easy to transport the meat to and from the smoker.

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The amount of time that it actually takes to reach medium rare or your desired finished temperature depends largely on the thickness of the roast. Most of the ones I do take around 2 hours. This one finished up in just under 2 hours.

I highly recommend using a digital probe meat thermometer such as the “Smoke” by Thermoworks to monitor the temperature of this tri-tip while it cooks.

You can also use a handheld digital thermometer like the super fast Thermapen or a Thermopop  to check it every so often.

 

I am a big believer in knowing the temperature of what you are cooking.. there's no substitute for safety and when you're cooking, there's no need to guess at it when there are so many wonderful tools at your disposal.

I would estimate that it will take about 2 hours but give yourself some extra time just in case. If it gets done early, you can easily let it rest under foil for 30 minutes or so before slicing it.

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Note: As noted below in a comment, after smoking the beef to about 110°F internal temperature, you can place it on a grill, under the broiler or even in a skillet to give it a good sear and brink it up to a perfect medium rare prior to serving. This is known as reverse searing and is a great way to serve a wonderful piece of beef like this.

Step 5: Serve the  Tri-tip

Slice across the grain for maximum tenderness. It is always a great idea to make note of the grain direction before adding the rub to the meat.

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Slice it thin for sandwiches or you can slice it into ¼ inch pieces and then further into strips for placement atop a nice smoked meat salad.

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Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats-- you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

We are now running a limited-time 25% off sale on the DOWNLOADABLE RECIPES. Click HERE to purchase the instantly downloadable recipes (formulas) for both of my rubs and barbecue sauce at an unbeatable discount. Somebody pinch me! Or better yet, just go get them 😉 Note: The coupon should be automatically applied OR use SM25 during checkout if necessary.
Get the Digital Recipes for Jeff's Rub and Sauce
**Instant Download!**
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***Note: you get the Texas style rub recipe free with your order!

If I could give these recipes away, I would do that. I really want you to have them! But, then, this is how I support the newsletter, the website and all of the other stuff that we do here to promote the art of smoking meat.

Read these recent testimonies:

"Love the sauce and rub recipes. So far I have used them on beef ribs, pork ribs, and different chicken parts. Can't wait to do a beef brisket. Texas rub is great as well!" ~Peter S.
"I tried the rub on a beef brisket and some beef ribs the other day and our entire family enjoyed it tremendously. I also made a batch of the barbeque sauce that we used on the brisket as well as some chicken. We all agreed it was the best sauce we have had in a while." ~Darwyn B.
"Love the original rib rub and sauce! We have an annual rib fest competition at the lake every 4th of July. I will say we have won a great percent of the time over the past 15 years so we are not novices by any means. However, we didn't win last year and had to step up our game! We used Jeff's rub and sauce (sauce on the side) and it was a landslide win for us this year! Thanks Jeff for the great recipes. I'm looking forward to trying the Texas style rub in the near future!" ~Michelle M.

You see the raving testimonies and you wonder, "Can the recipes really be that good?"

No worries! Make up a batch and if it's not as good as you've heard.. simply ask for a refund. Now that's a bargain and you know it. Let's review:

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Jeff's Smoking Meat Book

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Printable Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Smoked Tri-tip Roast
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
 
Smoked tri-tip is on of my favorite beef cuts to smoke when I am looking for a steak-like texture and flavor. The really awesome thing is that cooking steaks or even lean, tender roasts in the smoker yields a medium rare that is edge to edge instead of the typical medium rare in the center and more done toward the outside. Perfectly cooked all the way through!
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Hot Smoking
Servings: 4 -6
Author: Jeff Phillips
What You'll Need
  • 2-3 lb tri-tip roast
  • Olive or vegetable oil
  • Jeff’s Texas style rub recipe
Instructions
Step 1: Remove the Fat Cap (optional)
  1. Using a sharp knife, remove the fat cap from the roast.
Step 2: Season the Meat
  1. Rub olive or vegetable oil all over the top, bottom and sides of the tri-tip roast.
  2. Apply Jeff's Texas style rub generously all over the roast.
Step 3: Smoke the Tri-tip
  1. Place the ti-tip directly on the grate of the smoker
  2. Using indirect heat, smoke cook the roast for about 2 hours or until it reaches medium rare (140°F)
  3. Remove from smoker and allow trip tip to rest under foil for about 20 minutes once it has finished cooking.
Step 4: Slice and Serve
  1. Slice the smoked tri-tip roast thin for sandwiches or into ¼ inch slices and then strips for placing atop a salad.

 

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