Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Smoked Tri Tip

Over the last few years, the tri tip has gained popularity thanks to our friends out in California.  These have been a staple out west for as long as the Wolverines have been beating up on the Buckeyes. (That's a long time for you non college football fans).  If you can't find these at your local Sam's club or Costco, ask your nearby butcher for one. He will certainly be able to cut one up for ya. They are very tender and juicy and make a great sandwich. They can also be cooked in about an hour, so you don't have to commit an entire day to the smoker.


  • OIL


Remove the tri tip from the fridge and let it rest on the counter for about 45 minutes. This will let the meat come up to room temp. This is not mandatory, but I like to let it rest. As you can see below, the roast has some great marbling of fat that will keep things moist. Pay close attention to the direction the grain is running. You will want to slice against the grain when done to ensure tenderness.  Some roasts have grains running in different directions, so take a look before you apply the rub. On several occasion, I have put tooth pics in the roast to remind me where the grain changes directions.

Fire up the grill or smoker to 300 degrees and spread some hickory or mesquite wood chips on the hot coals.  You will get a hint of smoke flavor on the roast as you are cooking it hot-n-fast. As the grill is heating up, slather some oil on the roast and sprinkle a good amount of rub all over the hunk of meat. Don't be shy.

Once you have applied the rub and the grill has reached 300 degrees, throw it on indirect heat.  I love to hear that sizzle.  Once on the grill, it will take less than 45 minutes. Let it go for about 20 minutes and flip er over.  Once the internal temp hits 130'ish, it time to char the outside a little.  Throw it on direct heat for about 3 mins a side.  This adds some nice char marks and flavor.  I like my TT medium rare. Cook your a little longer if you like it more well done.  I was told by a great chef one day that there are only 3 ways to cook a nice piece of meat. Rare.....Medium Rare....Ruined.  I agree.

Remember that the TT will continue to cook even after you remove it from the grill, so plan to remove it about 7-10 degrees below your ideal temperature.  Once removed from the grill, wrap it tightly in foil and have a cold beverage. This is the hardest part. (The waiting, not the beverage part)

Once you've let it rest for about 30 minutes, it's time to unwrap and start slicing.  Make sure you slice it against the grain or it will be tough. I prefer to slice it thin.  Perfect for sandwiches or by itself.

This meat is almost fall apart tender and has great flavor. Don't forget your grilled onions and mushrooms. Let me know what you think. This will quickly become a "go to" when guests are coming over and you don't have all day.  Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Oh, my. I'll have to show this to the DD. It's one of our favorite cuts. I hear a rumor they don't have tri-tip back East. Is that true? How could an entire population of a national region live without tri-tip?

    1. It is very hard to find in other areas of the country. We are just now seeing it show up her in Texas. My cousin in Florida still can't find it and has been looking for it for a year now. CRAZY!!!! This is a great cut of meat. Next time, I'm making some Focaccia Bread and making a Tri Tip sandwich.

  2. Nice cook! Wonder how this would go with a horseradish cream sauce?

    After the way Michigan manhandled those Zips the Buckeyes will be dead meat this year!

    1. I think anything with horseradish cream sauce goes good. Especially thinly sliced beef. Good call on that one.