Smoked Tri Tip + Video

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Smoked tri tip is flavorful, juicy, and so tender, it will melt in your mouth. Use this recipe to make beef tip roast on any type of smoker!

titled image of smoked tri tip

I’ve been having so much fun with my smoker lately. Have you had a chance to try any of my other easy smoker recipes?

Smoked turkey legs are popular at theme parks and festivals. Use this recipe to make tender, juicy turkey drumsticks on any type of smoker!

Smoked chicken quarters are juicy and tender on the inside with crispy skin on the outside. Make this smoker recipe using any type of smoker!

overhead: smoked tri tip recipe ingredients

Smoked Tri Tip – FAQ

What part of the cow is tri tip from?

This triangle-shaped cut of meat comes from the bottom of the sirloin.

It is located between the top sirloin and round primal on a cow and is one of the best cuts of meat to smoke or grill.

Look for a high quality cut of meat that contains marbling. The final result will be more tender and full of flavor than a less expensive cut.

brushing marinade on tri tip

What’s the difference between tri tip and brisket? 

Brisket comes from the front of the cow rather than the bottom.

It’s located just below the chuck and is one of the least tender cuts of meat on a cow.
But when it is slow roasted or smoked, brisket is absolutely delicious!

Do I need to marinate tip roast? 

Marinating any cut of beef tenderizes it and produces better flavor. For this recipe, we marinate it overnight in a homemade dry rub.

NOTE: Avoid marinating any cut of beef for longer than 24 hours. If you do, the muscle fibers in the meat begin to break down, and that destroys the flavor and texture.

applying dry rub to raw beef

Do you smoke tri tip fat side up or down? 

When you smoke this cut of meat, be sure that you place it fat side up in the smoker for the best results.

You can flip it every hour or so to help it cook evenly.

Be certain that the meat does not touch when you add it to your smoker.

The air needs to circulate to cook properly and allow the smoky flavor to absorb into the meat.

Smoked tri tip marinade

When smoking this type of beef roast, we use a simple dry rub recipe for a marinade. The blend of flavors works wonderfully when smoking any cut of beef.

  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Dried minced onion
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Dill seed
  • Mustard seed
  • Whole coriander
  • Garlic powder
  • Light brown sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper, coarse ground
smoking tri tip

Some people like to do a final sear in a cast iron pan or on an outdoor grill to give their meat a crispy exterior crust.

This step is completely optional and depends on your taste preferences.

Smoking temperature and time chart

When you’re smoking this cut of meat, set the smoker to 225F and allow it to preheat. It usually takes about 30 minutes per pound to smoke.

  • Rare 130°F
  • Medium rare 135°F
  • Medium 145°F
  • Medium Well 150°F
  • Well Done 160°F
beef tri tip from smoker

Also, it’s important to use a digital meat thermometer when smoking meat rather than to cook based on time alone.

For this recipe, cook to an internal temperature of 135°F.

Remember that your roast will need to sit for about 20 to 30 minutes after you remove it from the smoker.

This allows the juices to settle and makes for a more flavorful roast.

Your roast will continue to cook after you remove it from the smoker.

So, keep that in mind when making smoking your beef.

Tools and equipment you’ll need

seasoned slices of bbq beef roast on cutting board

Smoked tri tip recipe video

If you’re wondering about the process we use to make this dish, check out the recipe video.

Serving suggestions
When cutting your meat, slice it against the grain for the best results. How you cut this roast will really influence how tender it is.

This is the perfect choice for a casual summer barbecue or a sit down dinner. And, it goes well with a variety of different side dishes.


With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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bbq beef roast closeup

smoked tri tip

Smoked Tri Tip + Video

Donna Elick
Smoked tri tip is flavorful, juicy, and so tender, it will melt in your mouth. Use this recipe to make beef tip roast on any type of smoker!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Inactive Time 2 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 10 mins
Course Main
Cuisine American
Method Smoker
Servings 10


  • 2-3 pounds tri tip
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dried minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dill seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground


  • Place the tri tip on a sheet tray and brush all over with the Worcestershire sauce, set aside. 
  • Place the dried minced onion, pepper flakes, dill seed, mustard seed, and coriander into a spice grinder. Grind until the larger pieces are broken down but it is still slightly chunky. 
  • Place the spice mix into a medium-sized bowl and whisk together with the garlic powder, brown sugar, salt, and pepper.
  • Sprinkle the seasoning all over the tri tip and rub it in. Use it all! Place in the fridge and let sit for 2 hours.
  • While the tri tip is marinating and it’s almost done, preheat the smoker to 225°F. 
  • Place the tri tip directly on the grates and smoke for 1 & ½ hours to 2 hours, until the internal temperature reaches 135°F. 
  • Place on a clean sheet tray and cover with foil. Let rest 30 for minutes. Slice against the grain and serve.



Serving: 1 | Calories: 165cal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 304mg | Sugar: 3g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 2mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled pinterest collage: smoking tri tip

Originally published September 2020

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