This smoked tri tip roast recipe is tender, juicy and full of flavour. With three simple steps it is EASY to achieve perfection. In just over two hours, you will have a tri tip that is juicier than many cuts of meat that are cooked for 12+ hours. Season, Smoke, Sear and have everyone coming back for seconds.
Skip through the table of contents to navigate this smoked tri-tip recipe, soak up valuable information, and to access the printable recipe card. ♥ If you make this roast, please leave a comment or review. ♥
Fire up your smoker today and master the infamous smoked tri tip roast. If this is your first time using my tri tip recipe , it definitely wont be your last. Low and slow is the best way to cook this triangle tip.
What is Tri Tip?
Named for its triangular shape, tri tip roast comes from the bottom of the sirloin. It is also referred to as a triangle roast and bottom sirloin roast. It can be sold trimmed or untrimmed, whole or sliced into steak. Tri tip steak is sliced from the whole tri tip and is often called triangle steak, Newport steak or Santa Maria steak.
How to Trim Your Tri Tip Roast
You can buy your tri tip trimmed or untrimmed. Mine was from an amazing local butcher shop where they meticulously trimmed it prior to packaging. If your roast still has a large fat cap, follow these simple guidelines to trim it up to perfection. Use a sharp knife to avoid ripping this tender meat! Slowly remove the large fat cap by cutting with one hand and lifting the fat off with the other. Once you have removed the large fat cap, look around your roast and trim off any other large chunks of fat or silver skin. If left, silver skin can cause your tri tip roast to be tough and hard to cut into! Check out this quick tutorial by Cooking Outdoors for a simple how-to video.
Smoked Tri-Tip Recipe Tips + Tricks
- Let your tri tip rest for 10-20 minutes to allow the juices to soak in and redistribute, resulting in a juicy piece of beef.
- If you can’t find a tri tip roast at your grocery store, check your local butcher– you might even be able to get locally sourced meat… supporting local is the BEST!
- The secret is in the slice. Slice your tri tip roast in half where the vertical and horizontal grain lines intersect to make sure that you are always cutting across the grain. Cutting against the grain of this roast helps to make every bite tender.
- Variety is the spice of life! Choose your favourite seasoning or play around with new seasonings. A simple salt and pepper rub can also go a long way.
- To intensify the flavours of your rub, marinade your tri tip roast and let it sit overnight before smoking.
How to Reverse Sear Your Tri Tip on a Smoker
Reverse searing your meat will help to develop final colour, texture, and flavour. It also leaves your meat with drool-worthy grill marks! Smoking meat low and slow for the majority of the cook will help to give you tender meat with a strong smoke flavour.
Reverse searing on high heat for the final few minutes of cooking will caramelize, crisp, and even seal moisture in for the final rest period. Take the roast off the grill and place it in a covered dish, or cover with foil. Turn up the heat to 425°F; once your smoker reaches proper temperature, put the roast back on for approximately 90 seconds on each side. If you want a more crusty bark, opt for 2 minutes per side. Return the roast to your dish and tent with aluminum foil for 10-15 minutes. If you prefer, you can wrap the roast in butcher paper for the rest period.
If you prefer to reverse sear on the stove, you can heat up a large cast iron with 2 tablespoons of melted butter at medium high heat. Sear for 90 seconds, flip, repeat, rest.
Tri Tip Roast: Choose a tri tip that has a trimmed weight of around three pounds. If your roast is lighter or heavier, adjust cooking times and keep an eye on internal temperature! See the table below to help guide you on what temperature to cook your roast to based on desired doneness.
Beef Rub: I love Traeger’s Blackened Saskatchewan Rub for my roasts- it is packed with garlic, salt, paprika, and other delicious flavours. Use your favourite beef rub or make own your simple dry rub using 1.5 tablespoons of garlic, 1 tablespoon of black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon chili power, and 1 tablespoon of sea salt.
Oil: I use Avocado oil a lot in my cooking because of its high smoke point and neutral flavor, you could also use olive oil, peanut oil or sunflower oil.
Tri Tip Internal Temperature Doneness Chart
Temperature is king when smoking the perfect tri tip. I love a good medium-rare. Cooking your tri tip beyond medium can result in a more tough and dry roast. Refer to the beef doneness chart below to cook your tri tip to the perfect internal temperature. Monitor the internal temperature with a probe or meat thermometer and adjust cooking time as needed!
Which Grills + Smokers Work Best for Smoking a Tri Tip?
I prefer my Traeger Ironwood 885 wood pellet grill to smoke a tri tip roast but there are other great grills that won’t send you on a shopping trip! Look for a grill that keeps a constant temperature and that can handle staying at low temperatures (225°F) for long periods of time. Indirect heat works best for this tri tip- choose a grill that will hold a steady low temperature.
No matter the type of smoker, arm yourself with a good meat thermometer and there will be no mishaps- knowing the internal temperature of your meat takes out all of the guesswork! My Traeger has a probe built in that I am able to connect to wifi. If you don’t have a probe built in on your grill, this Meater thermometer gets amazing reviews.
Electric smokers are easy to set up and quite portable- some can even be used indoors making them a great option for smoking a tri tip. Choose your wood chips and place them in the chip tray. You will have to keep an eye on the electric smoker to make sure that it is constantly producing smoke- if it becomes low on wood chips, you will have to refill. Best to check every hour.
This can be a bit more fussy but definitely worth the extra smoke flavour. Choose your wood chips, set up two zones to make sure that you can indirectly grill your tri tip roast. Place the smoker box directly over the coals and the tri tip on the empty side. Control the temperature by adjusting the vents on your charcoal grill.
In order to “smoke” a tri on a gas grill, you will need to soak 2-3 cups of wood chips in water and place them over direct heat. Place your tri tip on the other side of the grill in a roasting pan and cook it low and slow.
Wood Pellet Grill
I love my pellet grill because it cooks at a very predictable and consistent temperature! Fill the hopper and walk away- this is a very hands-off way to cook a tri tip.
Exactly How To Make Smoked Tri Tip Roast on Your Pellet Grill
Step 1. Season
Preheat your smoker to 225°F. Take your tri tip out of the fridge and brush it liberally with approximately 2 tablespoons of oil. Sprinkle half of your favourite dry rub on the top side of the roast (around one heaping tablespoon) and rub it in. Turn it over and do the same on the other side. If you have time, you can let your roast marinate in the seasoning overnight.
*If you want to whip up a quick and delicious tri tip seasoning, simply combine 1.5 tablespoons of garlic powder, 1 tablespoon of ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon chili power, and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt.
Step 2. Smoke
Once your grill is preheated, place the roast on your Traeger or other pellet grill. Insert the probe into the thickest part of the meat and walk away! My three pound tri tip roast took approximately 2 hours to reach my desired doneness. For a perfect medium-rare roast, take it off around 130 degrees f. Once it has come to temperature, remove it from the grill and place it on a baking sheet or in a casserole dish, covered in foil.
Step 3. Sear
Turn your smoker up to 425° F. Once it is to temperature, return the tri tip roast to your smoker and leave on for around 90 seconds per side, being sure to close the lid in between to develop a nice crust. After the searing time, transfer your roast back into your casserole dish and recover with aluminium foil.
Allow it to rest for 15 minutes before slicing along the grain intersection line. This should leave you with two large pieces. Slice against the grain into thick or thin slices. Garnish with butter and fresh herbs. Serve with your favourite side dishes! A few of my favourite sides include smoked corn on the cob, fermented pickles, and foil wrapped dill potatoes.
Batch + Storage
A three pound roast will typically feed around 6-8 people depending on how many side dishes you serve with it and how big of an appetite your crew has!
Once the tri tip has returned to room temperature, you can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days or you can wrap in plastic wrap and place in a plastic bag for up to 3 months in the freezer. Plastic wrap helps to keep the air off of your roast, preventing freezer burn. Another option for long term freezer storage is to
Frequently Asked Questions
Oak, mesquite and hickory have strong flavours that pair well with any cut of beef! Other pellets like apple wood, cherry, and pecan will also lend mild smoke flavour.
This depends on a number of variables including the size of the tri tip. A three pound roast will take around two hours to get to 130°F (Medium Rare). Budget for another 30 minutes for reverse searing and resting. All together it will take around 2-3 hours to smoke a three pound tri tip roast to medium rare.
Yes! Tri tip has great marbling and when cooked low and slow and sliced against the grain, you will have a flavourful and tender cut of meat.
Wrapping your tri tip in foil is not necessary using the low and slow method. It is naturally a juicy cut of meat and cooking it at 225°F for two hours will not dry it out. Take your tri tip off the smoker when it reaches your desired internal temperature to avoid overcooking. Letting your meat rest is also important for retaining moisture! Cover the tri-tip roast in aluminum foil for 15 minutes to rest before cutting into it.
For the initial low and slow portion of the cook (around two hours), do not flip the tri tip. During the reverse searing stage, flip your tri tip after 90 seconds.
Many grocery stores carry tri tip roasts and steaks! Check out your local butcher or CSA to support local.
Yes! Reheat at a low temperature to avoid over cooking. The best method to reheat a tri tip is to fire up your sous vide and set the temperature to 135°F. This will warm your tri tip without over cooking it.
No! Follow the same instructions for oven cooking as well as cooking on the barbecue. If you want that smoky flavor, brush your tri tip with liquid smoke before basting with oil and dry rub.
Printable Recipe Card
- 3 lb tri tip roast
- 2 tablespoons of avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons traeger beef rub
- Season: Preheat your smoker to 225°F. Brush the tri tip roast liberally with approximately 2 tablespoons of oil. Sprinkle half of your favourite dry rub on the top side of the roast (around one heaping tablespoon) and rub it in. Turn it over and do the same on the other side.
- Smoke: Insert the probe into the thickest part of the tri tip and walk away! My three pound roast took approximately 2 hours to reach my desired level of doneness. For a perfect medium-rare roast, take it off around 130 degrees f. Once it has come to temperature, remove it from the grill and place it on a baking sheet or in a casserole dish, covered in foil.
- Sear: Turn your smoker up to 425° F. Once it is to temperature, return the tri tip roast to your smoker and leave on for around 90 seconds per side, being sure to close the lid in between to develop a nice crust. After the searing time, transfer your roast back into your casserole dish and recover with aluminium foil for 15 minutes to rest and seal in the juices. You did it!
- Slice + Serve: Slice your tri tip along the grain intersection line. This should leave you with two large pieces. Slice against the grain into desired sizes. Serve with your favourite side dishes!
*If you have time, you can let your beef roast marinate in the seasoning overnight.
*If you want to whip up a quick and delicious dry rub, simply combine 1.5 tablespoons of garlic powder, 1 tablespoon of ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon chili power, and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt.
*Follow the same instructions for cooking on the barbecue or in the oven! Simply add some liquid smoke before you oil and dry rub.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 398Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 144mgSodium: 92mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 45g