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Smoked and Seared Tri-tip

There's nothing quite as good as tri-tip if you have a hankering for tender, delicious, melt-in-your-mouth, beef! If you don't agree with that statement then maybe beef is not your thing or you haven't had good tri-tip yet. I can help you fix that second issue!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Dry Brine Time 2 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes


  • 1+ tri-tips (2 to 3 lbs each)
  • 1 tsp Coarse kosher salt per 2 lb tri-tip (Morton's blue box works great)
  • Jeff's Texas style rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub)


Step 1: Trim the Fat

  • If you are cooking the tri-tip low and slow, then there is no reason to leave the fat cap intact. Remove it with a sharp knife.

Step 2: Dry Brine

  • Apply coarse kosher salt to both sides of the meat at a rate of about 1/2 teaspoon per lb. 1 teaspoon of coarse kosher salt covers a 2 lb tri-tip.
  • Place meat in a lidded container and into the fridge for 2 hours.
  • It is not necessary to rinse the salt from the meat.

Step 3: Season with Texas Rub

  • Apply a light coat of Jeff's Texas style rub to the top side of the tri-tip.
  • Set the meat aside while you go get the smoker ready.

Step 4: Setup the Smoker

  • Setup your smoker for cooking at about 225°F with indirect heat if possible. If your smoker uses a water pan fill it up.
  • Let the smoker preheat for about 30 minutes before proceeding to the next step.

Step 5: Cook with Smoke

  • Lay the tri-tip right on the smoker grate or you can use something like a Weber grill pan or Bradley rack to make it easy to move it to and from the kitchen.
  • Use oak and/or pecan for smoke if you have it and keep that smoke going the entire time if possible.
  • Keep a CLOSE eye on the temperature since that is the ONLY way to truly know when it's perfect.

Step 6: Sear It!

  • When the meat reaches about 110 to 115°F is a great time to remove it from the smoker and place it over a fire, some hot coals or under the broiler of your oven to sear the meat.
  • The idea here is to brown the outside of the meat not just to make sear marks. This browning improves the flavor greatly.
  • If the meat has not reached 130°F when you are done searing, place the meat back in the smoker to finish.

Step 7: Rest and Serve

  • When finished, remove the tri-tip from the heat.
  • For best results, loosely wrap it in foil for a little rest time. I usually allow about 10-15 minutes before slicing.
  • Slice it up into pieces about the thickness of a pencil.
  • Serve and enjoy!