Smoked Tri Tip Steak Recipe in 5 Simple Steps

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Smoked Tri Tip Steak Recipe Sliced

This smoked tri tip steak recipe will have your mouth watering and your taste buds chattering.

The tri-tip steak is a beautiful cut of beef from the bottom sirloin. It is often cooked by grilling, pan-frying or smoking. The tri tip steak has a flavour and texture that is similar to a roast beef but it is not as tender. 

It has been gaining popularity in recent years because it is less expensive than other cuts of beef (such as brisket, AND it takes less time) and has a great flavour and texture. 

It comes from a point where different areas of muscle meet together at the bottom sirloin allowing for 3 points to the cut, hence the name – ‘tri tip.’ 

Source your tri tip from your local butcher, and save yourself some work by getting them to trim any excess fat for you so that it is ready to smoke.

Introduction – History of Tri Tip Steak 

The tri tip is a popular cut of beef in California in particular. Originating from Santa Maria, California, the cut is fast becoming a BBQ fan favourite all across America and further afield. 

Often mistaken for roast beef, this cut of meat is taken from the bottom sirloin and can be grilled or roasted.

However, we happen to think the best way to cook tri-tip steak is by smoking it. 

Smoking always adds another layer of flavour to the meat and helps tenderise it as well – it is a tougher cut of beef compared to say sirloin or ribeye. 

This article will show you how to smoke your own tri tips at 107°C or 225°F.

This smoked tri-tip steak is simply amazing! The best part is that it’s easy enough to make and only requires 5 simple steps. So what are you waiting for? Get cooking!

Smoked Tri Tip Recipe Step 1 – Get Your Smoker On

 Get the smoker ready by filling it with charcoal and wood chips. We like to use hickory for beef, but you can use a milder wood such as apple or cherry if you like.

Bring the temperature of the grill up to 107°C or 225°F.

We like to use the Pit Boss Sportsman Wood Pellet Grill, but you can use whatever you have.

If you would like to learn more about Pit Boss Smokers try our article ‘Pit Boss Smoker: What you Need to Know.’

Smoked Tri Tip Recipe Step 2 – Prepare Tri Tip for Smoking

We are going to use a dry rub for the tri tip steak – the same one as we have used for other steak recipes on this blog.

  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 3 Tablespoons Sweet Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Fine Sea Salt
  • 1 Teaspoons Dried Oregano
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Chili Powder (or more if you like it hot!)

Mix these ingredients together in a bowl, and then brush your tri tip steak all over with Dijon mustard or a little honey (olive oil is also an option). You won’t really taste it, it just helps the dry rub to stick. 

Using your hands smother the meat all over with the rub making sure to cover it on both sides and the corners.

Now we are going to start the smoking process!

Smoked Tri Tip Recipe Step 3 – Smoke Your Meat

Now you can place the tri-tip on one side of the grill away from direct heat. We want to smoke our meat not burn it. 

Mercifully our tri tip steak won’t take as long to smoke as beef brisket which can be as much as 10 hours and more to smoke. 

It is quite a lean cut of meat, and we don’t need too much time to render the fat down.

We want to cook to temperature not time so you know your tri tip is rare when the internal temperature is 125°F, or 135°F for medium rare. Make sure you take your reading at the thickest part of your meat to ensure accuracy.

Smoked Tri Tip Recipe Step 4 – Rest the Meat

When you are happy with the internal temperature take your smoked tri tip off the grills and wrap it in foil. Rest it for around 20-30 minutes.

This resting stage will allow the juices to be redistributed across the meat, and the muscles to relax. 

Smoked Tri Tip Recipe Step 5 – Slice and Serve

Now you can remove the foil and slice your tri tip into thin slices.

Much like a brisket, you want to slice against the grain.

Smoked Tri Tip could be served with mash potatoes, smoked corn on the cob, barbecued beans, fries or even a light green salad.

If you enjoyed this article you should have a look at our ‘Tomahawk Steak Recipe on the Smoker,’ here:

Or our ‘Smoked Burger Recipe on the Grills,’ here:

Read one of our most popular blogs ‘Best Meats For Smoking.’

For another great recipe on the subject of Smoked Tri Tip Steak try here:


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