How To Cook Tri-Tip: Smoked And Seared

Tri-tip steak is often considered to be the most popular beef cut in the world, both in terms of its price and because of its overall quality and flavor. 

How To Cook Tri-Tip: Smoked And Seared

Despite its cheap price, this cut of meat is full of flavor and may be served in a variety of ways. Today, we’re going to show you a simple way of cooking tri-tip on the grill, which involves smoking and searing the meat.

It’s simple to cook tri-tip over a smoker, and the end results are delicious.

Don’t panic if you don’t own a smoker though, any grill would work just as well.

It is really simple and easy to prepare this tri-tip recipe. This is something that any grilling novice can do, and it is also something that older professionals like.

After the recipe section of this post, we will give you some tips and tricks you can use to make the best tri-tip steak possible. After finishing this article, you will know all the essential facts about this cut of meat. 

Tri-Tip Recipe

The preparation time for this dish of smoked and seared tri-tip steak is around five minutes, and the cooking time is approximately one hour. This dish will feed up to four individuals.

We will show you how to prepare the rub (the seasoning for the meat) in this recipe, but you may season it however you like.

Grilling rubs are available in several tastes, or you may make your own by mixing and matching spices.

Following a basic understanding of how to smoke and sear tri-tip, you may then personalize it with your dry rub or marinade to create a dish that is unique to you.


  • Tri-tip – around 2 pounds
  • Olive oil – 2 tsp

The Rub

  • Granulated garlic – 3 tsp
  • White sugar – 3 tsp
  • Kosher salt – 2 1/2 tbsp
  • Ground espresso – 2 tbsp
  • Paprika – 2 tsp
  • Onion powder – 2 tsp
  • Chipotle chili powder – 1 tsp
  • Ground black pepper – 1 tsp


How To Cook Tri-Tip: Smoked And Seared

Prepare Your Grill 

Prepare your grill by lighting it and positioning it in the proper position to accommodate two-zone grilling before you start cooking.

Make sure the grill is heated to 225 degrees Fahrenheit and that you are using a trustworthy leave-in thermometer to ensure a consistent outcome.

Make The Rub And Season The Meat

Meanwhile, assemble all of the components for the rub in a shaker bottle and vigorously shake to ensure that all of the ingredients are well-integrated.

Apply a thin layer of olive oil to the entire tri-tip roast, and then season both sides of the roast with the spice rub until the meat is completely covered with the rub.

Cook The Meat

Heat the coals on your grill to a high temperature using a single piece of hickory wood, then place the tri-tip over indirect heat to cook the meat.

Put a trustworthy leave-in thermometer into the thickest area of the meat before shutting the lid of the grill to finish cooking.

It should take around one hour of smoking time, or until the beef reaches an internal temperature of 115 degrees, to complete the process.

A good tip that you may not be aware of is to roast the tri-tip on a cooling rack inside the grill while it is being cooked, sliced, and served.

It is considerably easier to transfer it this way since the crust that has developed as a consequence of the oil and spice mixture being applied to it has been preserved.

Take The Tri-Tip Off The Grill

Using high direct heat, smoke the tri-tip until it is cooked to your satisfaction. Remove the meat from the grill and set it aside.

The meat should have the beginnings of a lovely bark that is beginning to set by the time you reach this step.

Cook the beef over high heat for about five minutes, flipping it every 20 seconds until it is cooked through or until it is done.

Cook for at least five minutes to ensure that the internal temperature of the chicken remains at 127 degrees Fahrenheit. You may either stop here or continue to cook the tri-tip until it is more thoroughly cooked.


Taking the meat off the grill and setting it aside to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving it with a chimichurri sauce or herb butter is recommended.

This helps the meat reabsorb some of its moisture to give you a juicy and flavorful piece of meat.

Now that you’ve seen a straightforward method for cooking tri-tip, let’s take a closer look at this particular piece of meat.

Tri-Tip – What Is It? 

Tri-tip steak is a cut of beef that is derived from the subprimal of the animal’s bottom sirloin. It is a lean, flavorful cut of meat.

The phrase “tri-tip” refers to the fact that it has a triangular appearance, and it is derived from the French word for “triangle.”

Because it originated in the California state of Santa Maria, this piece of meat is commonly referred to as a Santa Maria roast (it also has a few other names like the Newport steak).

When roasted, it is possible to cut the tri-tip into steaks, however, this is a less common manner of preparing the meat for your dinner.

We recommend cooking tri-tip at a slightly hotter temperature than a strip steak or ribeye to produce the most flavorful results. The texture of the dish will become chewy if you cook it for an excessive length of time.

Preparing Tri-Tip The Right Way

Considering that the trimming time for a tri-tip cut is substantially less than that of brisket, it may be cooked much more quickly than that of that meat.

In any event, when you acquire them, they are frequently already sliced to your specifications. If, on the other hand, you are ordering lower-priced cuts, these types of cuts will not be trimmed on your behalf.

Even if you happen to buy a tri-tip in need of trimming, it is incredibly simple to complete the task by yourself.

Even though this cut does not have a genuine fat cap to contend with, you will still need to remove a significant amount of silver skin.

Using a boning knife, it may then be carefully removed; however, extreme attention should be given when doing so.

Cutting Tri-Tip

The grain on the flesh of the tri-tip may be found in a handful of distinct locations throughout the animal. To serve your meat against this grain, you’ll need to divide the tri-tip in half, then cut both of the halves against this grain.

It is more satisfying to consume meat that has been sliced against rather than with the grain because it has a better texture, which feels nicer in your mouth.

Always remember, though, that this meat is quite cheap and so has the potential to become chewy if not prepared properly. It is less chewy as well as being more pleasurable to eat when you slice against this grain.

Can You Oven Cook Tri-Tip?

Roasting tri-tip in the oven is completely fine and will not ruin the taste of the meat. If you do not have access to a pellet smoker, BBQ, or grill, this is a viable option.

Cooking Tri-Tip in the oven may be accomplished using a variety of recipes. We recommend using this recipe as a starting point.

Top Tips For Tri-Tip

To get the most out of this cut of meat, here are a few tips, tricks, and cooking ways that you may try.


The addition of smoke to the tri-tip results in a significant improvement in the flavor of the final product. Make use of high-quality hickory or oak smoke to improve the flavor of this cut if you have the opportunity to do so.


Sear the tri-tip immediately after it has been smoked at extremely high heat (600-700 degrees Fahrenheit if possible) to quickly produce the wonderful crispy bark that makes this dinner so delicious.


Turning the pan often during searing can help you attain the best outcomes possible (every 20 seconds or so).

When cooking beef, you don’t want to cook the same side of the meat for an extended period of time at a high temperature.

Turning the meat often will allow for the development of a crust without overcooking the meat.


How To Cook Tri-Tip: Smoked And Seared

It is suggested to cook this piece of meat to a medium-rare plus temperature; any temperature lower than that will result in tough flesh when cooked.

When grilling meat, use a reliable quick-read thermometer to carefully monitor its internal temperature. When it reaches 127 degrees Fahrenheit, the meat should be removed from the heat source.


As soon as the tri-tip meat is seared, it tends to become rather tight, especially around the thickest portion of the skin. It is advised that you let the tri-tip rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting it into pieces.

Don’t be afraid to let the tri-tip rest for up to 15 minutes before chopping it up if it’s a particularly large piece. Remember to tent it with aluminum foil to keep it warm while this is taking place!

Buying Tri-Tip

Professional chefs are getting increasingly interested in tri-tip, a soft and delectable cut of beef that is becoming very popular.

While experts admire the appearance, texture, and flavor of this meat, anybody can make it since it is really simple to prepare and is available year-round.

For the best flavor, it is recommended that you sear and smoke the piece of meat before cooking it. A delicious smoky flavor permeates the tri-tip, raising it to the rank as one of the best steaks available on the market.


Tri-tip steak is a tender and delicious cut of beef that is becoming increasingly popular among professional cooks.

While specialists adore the sight, texture, and flavor of this meat, anybody can prepare it because it is quite simple to prepare.

It is advised that you sear and smoke the piece of meat to get the maximum flavor from it. This fills the tri-tip with a delightful smokey taste, elevating it to the status of one of the greatest steaks available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Before you leave us today, check out our FAQ section below to get some last-minute questions answered!

How Can I Make My Tri-Tip More Tender?

The last thing you want is a hard, chewy steak, and this result is more likely to happen when cooking tri-tip.

To avoid this and to make the meat more tender, you have to start at the preparation stage.

The first thing you should do is marinate the steak overnight in the fridge. Keep them uncovered during this process as well.

Next, when you are cooking the steaks, always smoke them on the highest grate of your smoker for around 45 minutes. Keep an eye on the temperature as well, as the sweet spot for this steak is 130 degrees usually.  

How Well Done Does Tri-Tip Need To Be?

Like all steaks, you can get away with cooking the tri-tip less or more depending on your tastes. That means that you can safely eat this meat from rare all the way to well done.

The best level to stop cooking at though is when the tri-tip gets to medium-rare. This brings out all of the flavors of this meat. 

John Rinder
Latest posts by John Rinder (see all)