Brisket Style Tri Tip

This brisket style tri tip may just blow your mind.. like it did mine!

I've ALWAYS cooked tri-tip like steak and called it done at medium rare but a while back I heard that some backyard chefs were cooking this thing like brisket and I figured I had nothing to lose.

Worse case scenario, it would be inedible. Best case scenario, it would be amazing and I could share it with you guys.

I will admit that I had a very difficult time letting it go past medium rare.. but I'm glad I persevered!

Here's how it works:

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 250°F (121°C)
  • Meat Finish Temp: 200°F (93°C)
  • Recommended Wood:  Cherry/Oak mix
What You'll Need
IMG 0492 1000x715Please 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.

Step 1: Dry Brine + Season

This is a premium beef cut but it's still a great idea to give it a little salt treatment called “dry brining“.

I recommend placing it into a pan for this process.

To help the salt to stick really good, I doused it with some “Wooster” sauce.. about a cup should be plenty but you don't really need to measure..

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Apply about 1.5 teaspoons of coarse kosher salt evenly to the top of the tri-tip.

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Then apply about 2 TBS of Jeff's Texas style rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) to the top of the tri-tip to season that bad boy up.

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Why use salt and Texas rub? My Texas style rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) is very low on salt so if you want to dry brine and season separately or at the same time, you can do that.

Place the tri-tip in the fridge overnight.

Step 2: Set up Smoker

I used a pellet smoker for this experiment.. to get more smoke flavor, I set it up at the lowest temperature or about 180°F (82°C) to be used for the first 30 minutes.

Here's more pellet smoking tips

After that first 30 minutes, I'll turn it up to 250°F (121°C).

If you're using a regular smoker, you can just start at 250°F (121°C).

Once the smoker is ready to cook, place the tri-tip on the smoker grate fat side down. The fat cap (if any) will protect the rest of the meat during the cook.

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As you can see, I also opted to use a smoke tube to give it a little more smoke.

Step 3: Cook Time Part 1

Let the tri-tip cook for about 3 hours at 250°F (121°C) or until the thickest part measures 160°F (71°C) as read by an accurate meat thermometer.

To check the meat temperature, I used the new Thermapen ONE which reads in only one second!

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Step 4: Wrap

When the tri tip reaches 160°F (71°C), wrap tightly in pink butcher paper. This locks in the color and holds in the moisture while still allowing it to maintain some good bark.

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Foil works too but the bark will end up softer than with paper.

Step 5: Cook Time Part 2

Place the wrapped brisket style tri tip back into the smoker and crank it up to 275°F (135°C) for the next 2 hours or until it reaches 200°F (93°C) in the thickest part.

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Step 6: Rest

Pull the brisket style tri tip from the smoker and let it rest on the counter for about 30 minutes before unwrapping it.

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Step 7: Slice and Serve

Unwrap the tri tip and slice it across the grain into pieces that are about 1/8 to ¼ inch thick.

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Serve immediately!


I hope yours turns out as good as mine did.. it was juicy, tender and tasted like a really good brisket.

Am I going to always make brisket style tri tips from this cut? Nope but it's a great option and if you've had a hard time with regular brisket, this could be a way to hone your skills and transition more gradually to a full size brisket.

Order Jeff’s Rubs and Barbecue Sauce TODAY!
Jeff's Rubs and Sauce

✅ My rubs and sauce will be the best thing you’ve ever tasted and it’s a great way to support what we do!


You can also order the formulas for my rubs and sauce and make these yourself at home. Grab those HERE and download immediately.

Jeff’s Smoking Meat Books

smoking-meat-book-coverSmoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue – The book is full of recipes and contains tons of helpful information as well. Some have even said that “no smoker should be without this book”!

With more than 1000 reviews on and a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, it comes highly recommended and is a Bestseller in Barbecuing & Grilling books on Amazon.

AmazonBarnes & Noble | German Edition

smoke-wood-fire-book-coverSmoke, Wood, Fire: The Advanced Guide to Smoking Meat – Unlike the first book, this book does not focus on recipes but rather uses every square inch of every page teaching you how to smoke meat. What my first book touched on, this second book takes it into much greater detail with lots of pictures.

It also includes a complete, step-by-step tutorial for making your own smoked “streaky” bacon using a 100 year old brine recipe.

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Printable Recipe

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Print Recipe
3.2 from 26 votes

Brisket Style Tri Tip

When you cook a tri tip way past medium rare so that it ends up tender, juicy and remarkably delicious, you've made brisket style tri tip!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 hrs
Total Time5 hrs 10 mins


  • 1 Tri tip roast
  • 1 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1.5 tsp Coarse kosher salt (I use Mortons blue box)
  • 2 TBS Jeff's Texas style rub
  • Pink/brown butcher paper


  • Place tri tip into a pan and douse with 1 cup Worcestershire. Then apply a coat of 1/5 tsp coarse kosher salt and 2 TBS of Jeff's Texas style rub.
  • Place pan of tri tip into the fridge overnight.
  • Set up smoker for cooking at 250°F (121°C) using indirect heat. If your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up.
  • Place tri tip fat side down on the smoker grate and smoke cook for about 3 hours or until it reaches 160°F (71°C) in the thickest part.
  • Wrap tri tip in pink or brown butcher paper then place it back into the smoker cranking up the heat to 275°F (135°C). Continue to cook for about 2 hours or until it reaches 200°F (93°C) in the thickest part.
  • Remove the from the smoker and let it rest for about 30 minutes before unwrapping it.
  • Slice across the grain into pieces that are 1/8 to ¼ inch thick and serve immediately.


  1. Tom McEntee June 28, 2022 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    I did this on 6/26/22 and it only took 3!/2 hours total. At the 2hour 40 minute mark it was 160 degrees. I double wrapped it in Reynolds heavy duty foil and cranked up my smoker to 275 degrees. It only took another 50 minutes to reach 200 degrees on my Smoke 2 thermometer. I let it rest in the kitchen oven @ 170 degrees thirty minutes. Meat was tender and produced about 3/4 of a cup of au jus. Can't wait to do another, very yummy!

  2. Phil C. June 21, 2022 at 7:30 am - Reply

    I put my brisket in my smoker at lowest setting and left it there for 11 to 12 hours and it came out very juicy and was very tender. The meat just came apart

  3. DollarBill June 20, 2022 at 8:08 am - Reply

    5 stars
    Would never had tried Try- tip this way !!! I modified your recipe just a little only used Koser Salt and colored peppers because Id run out of your rub and wanted to do this for Fathers day ! Well all I can say is it disappeared !!! Thanks for the tip and please get your sauce back in stock we miss it wish I could post a pic!

  4. RonR June 20, 2022 at 7:20 am - Reply

    4 stars
    I used a 3.5 pd tri-tip. Followed the recipe. At about the 5 hour (or so) mark, it stalled at 180 and didn't budge. Because we had guests coming, I took it off at the 7 hour mark, and put it (wrapped) in the oven at 350. The internal temp hit 200 within 30/45 minutes. I took it out and placed in a cooler for about an hour to let it rest. The temp rose to 203 pretty quickly and then was about 185 when I served it. It was tasty, but a bit drier than I had anticipated. There was a lot of juice in the butcher paper, and very little on the cutting board. I've had more success with brisket points (albeit a significantly longer smoke time). Any thoughts about getting the tri-tip to turn out jucier? Thanks. Ron

  5. Kyle June 19, 2022 at 3:15 am - Reply

    Jeff what do you recommend, can we get away with USDA Choice or does it need to be a Prime Cut? Is Trimmed alright or does it need to be Untrimmed with the fat cap?

    • Jeff Phillips June 21, 2022 at 1:45 pm - Reply

      Kyle, prime is going to be better since it has more marbling but this should also work just fine with a choice grade especially if you wrap it at 160°F (71°C).

  6. Richard June 17, 2022 at 7:28 pm - Reply

    Tri-Tip does have 2 different ‘grains'. Where he cut is just about perfect. It is not like any other single-file grain stock of meat. Delicious it what it is.
    But know one tells you what makes Tri-Tip so special. ? -> It plumps up when you cook it. Almost like those old fashion stove top popcorn from Jiffy. Butterfly if yo need too, or enjoy accordingly.
    While I have not tried this “Brisket Style” recipe from Jeff. I have had easily 100+ Tri-Tips in my life. And I can see how doing it “twice baked” (LoL) I bet it is Amazing. Thank you Mr. Phillips for another wonderful Idea.
    Hmmm, ‘Brisket Style” Catfish nubs.

  7. Skeets June 16, 2022 at 10:37 am - Reply

    This looks easy pezy ,and yummie….
    NOW I have a question I was asked up at deer camp last year I smoked a bunch of stuff, anyways one of the kids, maybe 16 says you got all the toys to smoke meat and cheese and stuff. I said well OK what your question? He said, tell me HOW would you know when things were done if you didnt have that probe and the thermometer on the smoker,, How would you know when things were done right ?
    And I had no answer for him. Seeing this brought the question back to mind, yes I figure experience but really how ?

  8. Jan Y. June 16, 2022 at 9:29 am - Reply

    Question: Can I let it rest wrapped up and put in a cooler like I do a brisket, for 2-3 hrs?

    • Jeff Phillips June 21, 2022 at 1:48 pm - Reply

      I have not tried resting it for more than about an hour but I don't think it would be a problem to rest it longer.

  9. Jason Harris June 16, 2022 at 9:22 am - Reply

    what smoke flavor did you use in the smoke tube?

    • Jeff Phillips June 21, 2022 at 1:49 pm - Reply

      If I remember correctly, those were some competition blend by Pit Boss that I grabbed out of one of my other smokers.

  10. Steve Heiser June 16, 2022 at 9:10 am - Reply

    I use pellets in the tube

  11. Karl Schroeder June 16, 2022 at 9:06 am - Reply

    Last weekend I had a Tri-tip that I did using your Wooster Brisket recipe and it turned out amazing. Most of my family are in the Medium Well to Well Done, and using your method worked great!

  12. Popeye June 16, 2022 at 8:39 am - Reply

    It looks like the grain goes a couple different ways. Is it all over the place or just where you cut it in half?

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