Smoking a Tri Tip roast is an incredibly affordable way to enjoy a delicious steak that will feed a crowd. Today I am going to show you how I smoke tri tips and give you a great dry rub recipe!
Prepare the Tri Tip
Sometimes a tri tip will come with a fat cap on one side of the meat. The choice is up to you but I like to remove the fat cap so more meat can be exposed to the dry rub and smoke.
While you are dealing with the fat cap you should take the time to look at the grain structure. The grain switches as it moves across the roast which means you will need to adjust how you slice the finished product.
After the roast is trimmed you can give it a coating with this kicked up beef rub!
Coffee and Chili Tri Tip Dry Rub
- 3 Tablespoons coffee
- 1 Tablespoon turbinado sugar
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons New Mexico chile powder (regular chili powder such as Mexene can substitute)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
Pulse ingredients in a coffee grinder until smooth.
Liberally apply the dry rub to the tri tip and let it rest at least an hour.
Prepare Your Smoker
Putting a tri-tip on a smoker is a great way to add a nice layer of smoke flavor but how much smoke is a matter of personal preference.
- If you want a lot of smoke flavor, then set up your smoker to run at 225F and the cook will take about 90 minutes.
- If you want a little smoke flavor, then set your smoker to 275F and the cook will take about 45-60 minutes.
If you are cooking the tri tip on a Traeger, Pit Boss, Z Grills or other type of pellet grill then dial in the temperature you want and use hickory pellets for smoke.
I smoked this one on my Weber kettle. I had the charcoal, and a few chunks of hickory, banked on the left side of the grill and the tri tip on the indirect, right side of the grill. The bottom vents were 50% open and the top vent was 100% open. This gave a grate temperature of about 275F.
Again, don’t worry about the exact temperature of your grill. You can go colder or hotter. It is more important to use a thermometer and measure the internal temperature of the tri tip.
Smoke the Tri Tip
After the smoker is set to your desired temperature and the dry rub has had an hour to soak into the beef it is time to get that meat smoking!
You really want to use a digital thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the meat. The tri tip will be incredibly juicy and tender as long as you cook it to medium rare.
I cook the tri tip until it reaches an internal temperature of 130-135F. This cook took about 40 minutes.
Slice Against the Grain
This dry rub gives a dark and bold crust which is great for flavor but challenging for slicing!
It can be challenging to spot the grain structure after a tri tip has been smoked so pay attention on the first slice and adjust your approach as needed.
Slice the steak thin and serve with some baked beans and coleslaw!
Smoked Tri Tip with Coffee Dry Rub
- 3 tbsp coffee beans
- 1 tbsp turbinado sugar
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tri tip roast 1.5-2 lbs
- Place the dry rub ingredients in a spice grinder and pulse until smooth (30 sec)
- Season the tri tip with the dry rub and allow to rub an hour to soak into the meat.
- Set your smoker to 275F with hickory for smoke.
- Smoke for 45 minutes or until an internal temperature of 135F.
- Remove the tri tip from the smoker and slice thinly against the grain.