If you’ve ever wanted to try smoked steak, you’ll love this juicy and delicious smoked tri tip. It’s smoked similarly to brisket but in a fraction of the time.
Tri Tip isn’t as tender as brisket, it’s more steak tenderloin but still packs big flavor!
What is tri-tip?
It is a large beef cut that’s triangular in shape, hence the name. It’s considered a steak that’s known mainly as a California thang. Because of its size it can be smoked, rather than grilled, pan-seared, etc. like most steaks.
- Tri Tip Steak
This is a simple recipe with only a few ingredients, but it does require flawless technique/execution.
Prepare the tri - tip
Using coarse salt (kosher) and coarse black pepper rub the steak generously. Allow the steak to sit and reach room temperature.
Smoke the tri tip
Prepare smoker for indirect heat at 225-250 degrees. Smoke the try tip for about 1 ½ hours. Internal temperature should be 130 degrees F.
Remove the tri tip and wrap tightly in butcher paper then smoke another 30 -60 minutes.
Allow the trip tip to rest for at least 20 minutes. To serve, slice against the grain.
Cooking Considerations and Tips
Oak is the perfect wood to use for smoking tri tip. It’s a milder wood compared to hickory or mesquite but adds a distinct, complimentary flavor to the flavorful meat without overpowering.
Do not cook at any higher temp than 250 degrees F. Going above puts you at risk of drying out such a wonderful cut of meat.
Tri tip is a regional cut for the most part common in California where it’s as believed by BBQ natives as brisket is in Texas. More recently it is increasingly becoming more popular so you can find it in some mainstream grocery stores and definitely at your local butcher shop.
Tri tip is best smoked to medium rare for optimal flavor. There are different flavored woods that work but I'm partial to fruit woods like cherry or apple.
Many recipes call for searing after smoking, but I find that the butcher paper technique makes this step unnecessary.
For maximum tenderness please do allow the steak to rest before cutting. And when you do slice, do so against the grain.
Serve this with a nice chimichurri type sauce, vinaigrette, or salsa verde. Tri tip is great as a sandwich!
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- 3 lbs tri tip steak
- 3 tablespoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 cup green onion vinaigrette
- Pre-heat smoker to 225-250 degrees F.
- Pat the meat dry with a paper towel. Rub the tri tip generously with the salt and pepper.
- Smoke for 1 - 1 ½ hours to internal temperature reaches 130 degrees.
- Remove the meat and wrap in butch pepper tightly. Return to smoker and finish 30-60 minutes. Meat should be at 135-140 degrees at this point. Remove and let rest for at least 20 minutes.
- To serve, cut the meat against the grain.