Smoked Tri Tip Recipe

I’m always on the lookout for new places to source meat, and a few weeks ago a friend put me on a butcher shop in Collierville, TN called Thomas Meat and Seafood Market.

I was excited to see that they carry Creekstone brand beef. In the Memphis area it’s hard to find quality beef; I have to mail order the briskets we cook for competitions and is one of the places I turn too. Having a local source will save me big time on shipping.

smoked tri tip recipe

The cut that immediately caught my eye was a prime Tri-tip roast $9.99/lb. Butchers in the Memphis area act like they’ve never heard of tri-tip. In the past when I’ve asked about it, I was told that it gets ground into burger meat in our part of the country. Out west were Tri-tip is popular, it’s cooked whole over wood coals and sliced much like brisket; the biggest difference being that tri-tip is normally cooked rare to medium rare.

I shot a video of this process you can watch…

And tri-tip is melt in your mouth tender as long as you don’t over-cook it.

A typical tri-tip weighs around 2-3lbs and will take about 30 minutes to cook. The process I use is called a “Reverse Sear”. This process works great for thicker cuts of beef because it slowly brings the meat up to temp and at the very end the meat is seared over hot coals locking the remaining moisture inside resulting in a juicer final product.

The first step in cooking the tri-tip is seasoning the meat. I wanted the flavor of the prime Creekstone beef to really be the star of this show, so I kept the seasoning simple. I used a mixture that goes good on just about anything…

  • 2 TBS Salt
  • 2 tea Black Pepper
  • 1 tea Garlic Powder
  • 1 tea Onion Powder

Coat the Tri-tip with a generous amount of the seasoning and let it sit for a few minutes.

For cooking the tri-tip, I set up my Yoder YS480 for direct grilling by removing the heat shield. I slid the grill grates to the cool side of the smoker for the first part of the cooking process; temp should be right around 250 degrees.

smoked tri tip recipe

The roast goes on the cool side first and is slowly brought up to 115 degrees internal. This process keeps most of the moisture inside the meat. It will take about 25-30 minutes for the tri-tip to come up to 115 and to monitor the temp I use a digital probe style thermometer. This way I don’t over shoot the target temperature.

Once the thermometer alarmed at 115 degrees, I slid the racks over to the direct fire side of the cooker. The Tri-tip is close to being done at this point but it needs a final sear over high heat to lock in the remaining juices/flavor. It only takes 3 minutes per side for searing just be sure you have hot coals. (Yoder was set at 450 degrees)

how to smoke a tri tip

When both sides have been seared for 3 minutes each, check the internal temperature. It should read close to 130 degrees which is perfect for medium rare. Let the Tri-tip rest for 10-15 minutes. Slice the Tri-tip across the grain just like slicing a brisket flat.

And I gotta say, this premium cut of beef did not disappoint. It made for some mighty good eating. A fresh tomato and some slaw… and it was good to go.

Malcom Reed
Killer Hogs BBQ Cooking Team
Sign-up for my weekly BBQ newsletter at
Join my Facebook BBQ Community
Follow me on Twitter

Comments 1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *