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Brisket Style Tri Tip

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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

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

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  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 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!

Comments

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.

4.7 from 23 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 minutes
Cook Time5 hours
Total Time5 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

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Recipe Rating




36 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Wow. First time I smoked tri-tip and it was outstanding. Thank you, Jeff! In my opinion, go with a prime cut. You can tell just by looking at that beautiful marbling that it is going to yield a masterpiece!

  2. Well , I’m fixing to do a couple more tri Tips,
    I have gotten to like them much better than brisket.
    Thanks for all the good recipes and the rubs and BBQ sauce.
    Let me share a couple things that I have been doing that really seem to make a big difference. First, when possible I use my Foodsver vacuum sealer when marinating meats. It really makes things even more tasty. Second, while waiting for the smoker to get ready, I put the meat into the the oven at a slightly lower temperature than I need to cook at. It makes a big difference saving cooking time.
    I made the maple brinned turkey for Thanksgiving. It was the first time I had cooked a turkey and am almost 70 years old. With my electric smokers and theroworks remote reading thermometer,and a lot of your goog rub and maple syrup, it came out perfect.

  3. 5 stars
    I have used this recipe twice, both times it was awesome. Getting ready to make , changing it up a little going to use oak pellets instead of cherry. Thanks again Jeff!

  4. 5 stars
    My 1st attempt smoking a Tri-Tip being new to the smoking community. This site is really great for new comers like myself. Smoked mine with cherry pellets and cooked it at 180 for 60 minutes instead of the 30 in the recipe. I wrapped in foil since I didn’t have the butchers paper at home. I also lightly spritz with appple cider vinegar after 2 hours, every 45 minutes and before wrapping in foil for the additional cook. Great smoke ring and deep flavor. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    Bought a couple of smaller Tri Tips at Costco. Decided to try this Wooster Brisket method. They cooked a lot faster than the recipe call outs. Followed the direction except I wrapped them in foil at 160 and put a touch of beef broth in the foil boat. They came out awesome at 201. The wife says we have found a new way to cook Tri Tip. They really take care of that beef craving.

  6. 5 stars
    I’ve been cooking tri-tip (and some ball-tip) for 30 years now and this is an absolutely fantastic change from the standard Santa Maria style! My new go-to for tri-tip on the Oregon coast!

  7. I was thinking of doing the tri-tip brisket style but use your Espresso Coffee Brine technique (I love brining). Do you think combining the two methods will be ok?

  8. 5 stars
    Followed the steps to the T and it was fantastic!! This is the way I will smoke tritip from this point on. Great recipe. Thank you Jeff!!

  9. Jeff. Big fan. Maybe I should have figured this out on my own but I did this on the BGE indirect and had little to no bark and it came out dry. Was this recipe intended to be direct heat? Like the concept though

    1. Kurt, I do these indirect but it would not hurt to give it some direct heat at the end to sear the outside and set the bark. I usually look for tri-tips that have as much marbling as possible as this fat within the grain of the meat renders during cooking and creates that juiciness that we crave. When a piece of meat turns out dry, it often means there was a lack of good marbling and/or the meat was not cooked to a hot enough temperature to render the fat properly.

      It’s really hard to say having not seen it but I assume you cooked it to around 200°F per the instructions which should have more than rendered the fat so it is possible that your tri-tip was just a bit on the lean side.

  10. Always did a reverse sear on my Tri-tips. But when I saw this I decided to give it a try. I decided I will always do my tri-tips like this unless I’m short on time. It was really one of my best smokes ever. The cost of Brisket in my area is outrageous. Plus I’m usually only cooking for 4. The Brisket style Tri-tip is a great alternative.

  11. 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!

  12. 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

  13. 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!

  14. 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

  15. 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?

    1. 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).

  16. 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.

  17. this sounds amazing. Planning to try it very soon. The Tri-Tips I have were already packaged with a seasoning thing on them, so what changes do I need to make. I’m guessing leave out the salt and maybe the dry rub, since those have already been done. Or not??

  18. 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 ?

  19. 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!

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

  21. 5 stars
    My family won’t eat anything that’s pink inside so I’ve been doing tri tip this way for a couple years now. They love it! Good to see I’m not crazy and the expert has confirmed my process