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Smoked Tri-Tip Roast
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5 from 3 votes

Smoked Tri-Tip Roast

If you're from certain parts of the country, your mouth starts to water at the mention of grilled, smoked or roasted tri-tip.  For others, tri-tip is an unknown cut of meat, and lots of questions arise about what exactly it is and how to best prepare it.

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken Wings
Servings: 4
Calories: 155kcal


  • Zip-top bag for marinating
  • Red oak wood for smoking, recommended
  • Bradley rack
  • meat thermometer


  • 2-3


    Tri-tip roast

  • 2


    Kosher salt

  • 1/4


    Olive oil or vegetable oil

  • High-quality dry rub

Dry Rub Ingredients:

  • 2


    Brown sugar

  • 2

    Teaspoons Garlic powder

  • 2

    Teaspoons Onion powder

  • 2

    Teaspoons Black pepper

  • 2
    Teaspoons Paprika

  • 1

    Teaspoon Chili powder

  • 1

    Teaspoon Cayenne pepper

  • 1/2

    Teaspoon Dry mustard

  • 1/2

    Teaspoon Cumin


  • This may seem like a simple step, but it may be easier said than done.

  • If you're unable to locate tri-tip, you may want to ask your butcher to cut one (or two!) for you.

  • If your butcher is unfamiliar with the term tri-tip, the cut can also be known as a bottom sirloin roast or a triangle roast.

  • Fat is pretty evenly marbled through the meat, but it doesn't have a really high fat content, which enhances the flavor and leaves it juicy when cooked correctly

  • The tri-tip can be purchased with or without a fat cap, an additional 1/2 inch layer of fat on one side of the meat, but overall it's known as a fairly lean cut of beef.

  • Admittedly, tri-tip isn't the most tender cut of beef, but when treated right, it shouldn't fail to please.

  • Yes, you need a bit of prep time and the total cook time might be longer than you anticipate, but it's definitely worth the wait.

  • Plan to get started on preparations 10-36 hours before you want to serve smoked trip-tip.

  • A day or more before you plan to serve it, start preparing the tri-tip for its delectable debut.

  • Even though it's a roast, carving it up into individual steaks after smoking it makes it seem extra special.

  • It may seem that there are too many items in this rub (nine, to be exact), but you probably have most of them in your pantry already.

  • Together, they infuse lots of flavor to the meat.

  • Mix all spices together in small bowl and set aside.

  • You want this ready as soon as you've got your meat prepared.

  •  I know it seems like a lot of spice rub, but try to use it all when it's time.

  • You can also check out another recipe for a spice rub recipe, Texas style!

  • Although leaving the Tri-Tip fat cap on for searing, roasting or grilling may be a good idea, I don't recommend leaving it on for smoking.

  • Since our goal is to cook this to medium rare, the Tri-Tip fat cap doesn't have time to sufficiently render into the meat and as a result is entirely unnecessary.

  • First, work the 2 teaspoons of kosher salt vigorously into the meat.

  • Then, apply the spice rub in the same way.

  • Honestly, it may seem like too much but it seems to result in the most perfectly cooked tri-tip we've ever enjoyed.

  • Then rub the olive oil on as well.

  • After that, place the seasoned tri-tip in the fridge and let it get happy for 6-36 hours.

  • Trust me, the longer it's in there, the better it will be.

  • You'll want to get your smoker to 220 degrees using indirect heat and put in your smoker wood.

  • Red oak is traditionally used for tri-tip, but I've had success with hickory as well.

  • You can learn more information on the differences between smoke flavors here!

  • It's also a good idea to set out your meat on the counter in order to get it closer to room temperature before it hits the smoker.

  • If you have a water pan, you should probably use it.

  • Also, a Bradley rack or something similar can help you get the meat on and off the smoker more easily.

  • If not, just put the meat directly on the grate and cook it using indirect heat

  • Our goal is to reach medium rare here, which is typically 130 degrees.

  • Our overall smoking time should be somewhere in the neighborhood of two hours.

  • That time can vary a little depending on the thickness of the roast, but definitely check before two hours.

  • Once you've taken the ​smoked tri-tip roast off of the grill, let it rest for 10-30 minutes.

  • You don't want all of the juicy goodness dripping out when you cut into it! It's helpful to ​wrap tri-tip in foil to help keep the heat in while the juices redistribute.

  • Slicing up ​smoked tri-tip roast can be a little tricky because the grain goes two different ways.

  • You basically have to slice it in two (watch where the grain changes) and carve up each side against the grain.

  • One quarter to one half inch slices are just about perfect for our preferences.

  • Great sides would be a salad (you could even place the steak on top), baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic roasted broccoli, cauliflower macaroni and cheese, smoked collard greens and/or classic crusty bread.


Serving: 85g | Calories: 155kcal