Smoked Tri Tip is a popular cut of beef that has become a staple of barbecue enthusiasts everywhere. Tri tip comes from the lower part of the sirloin and is a triangular-shaped cut that is perfect for smoking. Smoking a tri tip gives it a smoky and savory flavor that is difficult to resist.
In this post, we’ll walk you through the process of choosing the best cut of tri tip, preparing it for smoking, and creating the perfect seasoning blend. We’ll also provide tips on setting up your smoker for success, smoking the tri tip to perfection, and serving suggestions for this delicious cut of beef.
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What Is a Tri Tip?
Tri tip is a triangular cut of beef that comes from the bottom sirloin. It’s a relatively lean cut, but plenty of marbling makes it tender and juicy when cooked properly. Tri tip has a rich, beefy flavor and a slightly chewy texture that is perfect for smoking.
Choosing the Best Cut of Tri Tip
When selecting a tri tip for smoking, choosing a well-marbled piece of meat is important. The marbling in the meat will help keep it moist during the smoking process and add flavor to the finished product. Look for a tri tip that is at least 2-3 pounds and is about 1-1.5 inches thick.
How to Smoke a Tri-Tip: Step-By-Step
Preparing the Tri Tip for Smoking
Before smoking the tri tip, score the fat of the tri-tip and trim off excess silver skin or fat caps. This will help the seasoning blend penetrate the meat and prevent unwanted flavors.
Creating the Perfect Seasoning Blend
A great seasoning blend is key to a delicious smoked tri tip. A simple blend of salt, pepper, and garlic powder is a classic option. Rub the seasoning blend generously all over the tri tip and let it sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.
Setting Up Your Smoker for Success
Preheat the grill to 250 degrees Fahrenheit using cherry pellets. Place the tri tip on the smoker grates and let it smoke for about 2 hours.
Smoke the Tri Tip
Smoke the tri tip until it reaches an internal temperature of 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit. This should take about 2 hours. At this point, spritz the tri tip with a mixture of 50/50 water and apple cider vinegar.
Wrap the Tri Tip
At approximately 3.5 hours, the tri tip should reach the stall (160-165 degrees Fahrenheit internal temperature). Remove it from the grill and wrap it tightly in butcher paper. Add some moisture inside the paper, such as beef tallow or your spray mixture. Return the wrapped tri tip to the grill for 2-3 hours.
Check the Temperature
When the internal temperature of the tri tip reaches approximately 200 degrees Fahrenheit, it should be done. Before pulling it from the grill, test it by sliding your temperature gauge in and out. You should feel very little resistance.
Resting and Slicing Your Tri Tip
Fold the wrapped tri tip in a blanket or put it inside a cooler to rest for approximately 2 hours. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a juicier and more tender final product. Enjoy the delicious smoky flavor of the perfectly cooked tri tip.
Tips for Storing Leftover Smoked Tri Tip
If you have any leftover smoked tri tip, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, place the tri tip in a skillet over medium heat and cook until warm.
What should I serve with smoked tri-tip?
Smoked tri tip is a versatile cut of beef that can be served in many ways. It’s great on its own with some barbecue sauce, but it also pairs well with various sides, such as roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, or mac and cheese.
Enjoy Your Delicious Smoked Tri Tip!
Smoked tri tip that is sure to impress your friends and family. Remember to choose a well-marbled cut of meat, prepare it properly with a delicious seasoning blend, and monitor the temperature throughout the smoking process. Rest the meat before slicing and serve it with your favorite sides for a complete meal. With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the perfect smoked tri tip.
How much tri tip should I buy?
A good rule of thumb is to plan for about ½ pound of meat per person. This allows for some leftovers, which can be used for sandwiches or salads.
Should I trim the fat from the tri tip?
It’s best to leave a thin layer of fat on the meat to help keep it moist during smoking. However, it would help if you trimmed any excess fat that is more than ¼ inch thick.
Can I smoke a frozen tri tip?
No, it’s best to thaw the tri tip completely before smoking. This ensures even cooking and prevents the meat from drying out.
Get More Delicious Beef Recipes Here
Smoked Tri Tip
- 1 (2 1/2 to 3 lbs) Tri-Tip
- ½ tablespoon black pepper
- ½ tablespoon kosher salt
- ½ tablespoon garlic powder
- apple cider vinegar
- Trim the tri tip: Before seasoning the tri tip, make sure to trim any fat cap and silver skin. This will ensure that the seasoning penetrates the meat and that it cooks evenly.
- Seasoning: You can use your favorite rub or a simple mixture of salt, pepper, and granulated garlic to season the tri tip. Don't be shy with the seasoning, as it will add flavor to the meat.
- Spritzing: After approximately 2 hours in, spritz the tri tip with a mixture of 50/50 water and apple cider vinegar.
- The stall: The stall is when the internal temperature of the tri tip reaches 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit, and the temperature stops rising. This is a natural process, and the meat will eventually break through the stall and continue cooking.
- Wrapping: Wrap the tri tip in butcher paper and add moisture by brushing beef tallow inside the paper. This will help the tri tip retain moisture and cook more evenly. Return the tri tip to the grill for 2-3 hours. When the internal temperature reaches approximately 200 degrees Fahrenheit, the tri tip should be done.
- Resting: Resting for at least 2 hours will result in a juicier and more tender final product.
- Slicing: Slice the tri tip against the grain to ensure that it is tender and easy to chew.
- Enjoy! Smoked tri tip is a delicious and versatile cut of meat that can be served with a variety of side dishes. Don't be afraid to experiment and try different recipes and techniques to find the one that works best for you.