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!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours
- Smoker Temp: 220°F
- Meat Finish Temp: 140°F
- Recommended Wood: Hickory
- 2-3 lb tri-tip roast
- Olive or vegetable oil
- Jeff's Texas style rub recipe (purchase recipes here) – Included free with the purchase of the Jeff's original rub recipe
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Having 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!
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Lay the meat fat cap down on the cutting board or down in a pan to keep the area clean.
Pour olive or vegetable oil onto the meat and brush it all over the top and sides.
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..
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.
Don't be skimpy about it.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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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Smoked Tri-tip Roast
- 2-3 lb tri-tip roast
- Olive or vegetable oil
- Jeff’s Texas style rub recipe
Step 1: Remove the Fat Cap (optional)
- Using a sharp knife, remove the fat cap from the roast.
Step 2: Season the Meat
- Rub olive or vegetable oil all over the top, bottom and sides of the tri-tip roast.
- Apply Jeff's Texas style rub generously all over the roast.
Step 3: Smoke the Tri-tip
- Place the ti-tip directly on the grate of the smoker
- Using indirect heat, smoke cook the roast for about 2 hours or until it reaches medium rare (140°F)
- 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
- Slice the smoked tri-tip roast thin for sandwiches or into ¼ inch slices and then strips for placing atop a salad.