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: Smoked Tri Tip Recipe


Smoked Tri Tip

Perfectly tender with a spiced crust, smoked tri tip is sure to become the star of your summer cookout!

Every bite is oozing with flavor from a simple, homemade dry rub made with pantry staples. Aside from that, all you need is the beef!

Keep reading to learn the ideal tri tip smoke time, plus how to check your smoked tri tip temp to guarantee juicy results every time.

Recipe Video

To see us make this smoked tri tip recipe from start to finish, watch the video in this post!

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, but you can enjoy them right at home too!

Or, make smoked chicken quarters that are juicy and tender on the inside with crispy skin on the outside.

uncooked tri tip surrounded by dry rub ingredients

Ingredient Notes

  • Tri Tip – 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 for this smoked tri tip recipe.

    The final result will be more tender and full of flavor than with a less expensive cut.
  • Dry Rub – Before the tri tip is smoked, we marinate it with a simple dry rub.

    Start by coating the beef with Worcestershire sauce, then cover the entire surface with a blend of brown sugar, herbs, and spices.

    In fact, the flavors in our homemade rub work wonderfully for any time of smoked beef!
brushing tri tip roast with Worcestershire sauce

Tri Tip Smoke Time

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

For this smoked tri tip recipe, it will take 1 – 1 1/2 hours to cook a 2-pound roast.

Don’t forget to allow for marinating time before and resting time after!

Tools and equipment you’ll need

tri tip coated in dry rub on baking sheet

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Let it rest!

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.

The meat will also continue to cook after you remove it from the smoker, so pull it once the smoked tri tip temp is 5 to 10 degrees lower than where you want it to end up.

  • Slice against the grain.

Notice the lines running across the beef — these indicate the direction of the muscle fibers.

With tri tip, the direction of these lines will actually change near the bend, so pay close attention!

Slice across the lines rather than parallel to them. This shortens the fibers, making the meat extra tender and easier to chew.

dry rubbed tri tip roast on smoker

Smoked Tri Tip Temp Chart

It’s important to use a digital meat thermometer when smoking meat rather than relying on cook time alone.

Insert the probe into the thickest part of the smoked tri tip for the most accurate reading.

  • Rare: 130°F
  • Medium rare: 135°F
  • Medium: 145°F
  • Medium Well: 150°F
  • Well Done: 160°F

Keep in mind that tri tip smoked past an internal temperature of 140°F will begin to dry out.

For the juiciest results with enough cook to please everyone, cook to an internal temperature of 130-135°F.

close up: smoked tri tip on cutting board

Serving Suggestions

Smoked tri tip 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!

close up: sliced tri tip on cutting board

Smoked Tri Tip Recipe FAQ

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!

Should you marinate or dry rub a tri tip?

Yes and yes! Marinating any cut of beef tenderizes it and produces a better flavor.Whether you use a wet marinade or a dry rub will often depend on the type of flavor you’re after and how much time you have. For this recipe, we marinate the beef 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.

Do you smoke tri tip fat side up or down?

Be sure your tri tip is smoked with the fat side up for best results. As it renders, it will absorb into the meat, adding moisture and flavor.If you’d like, you can flip the meat every hour or so to help it cook evenly. Some people also 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.

spice crusted slices of tri tip

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slices of tri tip with mashed potatoes and broccoli

smoked tri tip

Smoked Tri Tip (Pellet Smoker Recipe) + 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 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Inactive Time 2 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
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, updated and republished June 2023

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