Tri Tip is a wonderful steak that can be incredible when you cook it on your Traeger pellet grill. A whole tri tip usually weighs a little over two pounds and, while you can cut it into individual steak, I prefer to cook them whole.
I wanted this to be the full on Traeger experience so I used the complete line of Traeger products including the rub, sauce and pellets for this cook.
I found a couple of tri tip recipes in the Traeger app. One of the recipes called for cooking the roast at 225F using Super Smoke for an hour followed by a 500F sear while others were just straight up high heat grilling.
I decided to go for the two stage cooking process and, while the tri tip turned out okay, I ended up overcooking it slightly at the High Temp stage.
Season the Tri Tip with Traeger Garlic Chili Pepper Rub
I was using a two and a half pound Prime Grade tri tip that had plenty of marbling. The tri tip is the “sister cut” to the picanha and costs about 30% more (see Picanha vs Tri Tip for more information.)
I used Traeger’s “Beef Rub” dry rub to when I did a Traeger Smoked Picanha and felt that it was a bit too sweet for beef. For this cook I tried something different and went with Traeger’s Garlic and Chili Pepper rub.
If you don’t have this rub on hand then here is the ingredient list so you can whip up a batch of something similar:
Traeger Garlic and Chili Pepper Rub Ingredients
- Cane Sugar
- “Spices (Including Basil)”
- Brown Sugar
- Chili Pepper
- Sunflower Oil
- Cane Molasses
I am not 100% sure as to what is covered under “spices” but the basil is prominent. This is a salty rub with a nice balance of Heat and Sweet.
I seasoned the tri tip pretty heavily with the rub on all sides and probably used at least three tablespoons.
Choosing Wood Pellets
I was burning Traeger Signature Blend pellets that I got the other day at Home Depot. These pellets are a blend of cherry, hickory and other hardwoods.
I bought these pellets because I had a Home Depot gift card and wanted to see if they were really the exact same as the the “Gourmet” pellets that are sold at Costco for half the cost (I think they are).
Set Your Traeger to 225F for Smoking the Tri Tip
I was following the instructions from the Traeger app for this cook.
Start by turning your Traeger on and and set it to 225F. For best results use the Super Smoke mode if it is available on your grill. If your grill does not have Super Smoke mode then you can add more smoke flavor by using a smoke tube.
The tri tip did not have a fat cap so it doesn’t matter which side goes down on your cooking grate.
Let the tri tip smoke at 225F for 60-90 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of 130F.
Remove the tri tip from the grill and tent with aluminum foil.
Turn the temperature of your Traeger to 450F (500F is better if available on your grill).
Once the grill reaches 450F remove the tri tip from the foil and sear for four minutes on each side.
Slice and Serve the Smoked Tri Tip
Slice the tri tip thinly against the grain and serve as desired. The grain in this cut takes a funny turn so make sure you are paying attention and adjust the direction of your slices as needed.
I felt like making some sandwiches so I served mine on a King’s Hawaiian roll with lettuce, tomato and Traeger Texas Spicy barbecue sauce.
The Traeger Texas Spicy Barbecue Sauce starts out sweet but has a serious spicy kick that I loved.
How Did it Turn Out?
I liked the Traeger smoked tri tip much better than the picanha I smoked the other day as the rub and sauce both had a nice kick of heat that worked extremely well with the beef.
My only complaint was that the steak was overcooked. The next time I cook this I am going to smoke the tri tip at 225F to an internal temperature of 120F instead of 130F. I think that this will bring the steak closer to 135F internal after the final searing steps.
Traeger Smoked Tri Tip
- 2.5 lbs Tri Tip Roast
- 3 tbsp Traeger Chili Garlic Dry Rub
- 2 tbsp Traeger Texas Spicy Barbecue Sauce
- Sandwich Fixings of Choice
- Season the tri tip liberally on all sides with the Traeger dry rub.
- Let the meat rest for 15-30 minutes until the rub starts to dissolve into the meat.
- Set your pellet grill to 225F.
- Put the tri tip on the smoker and cook at 225F for 60-90 minutes until an internal temperature of 130F is reached. (Pull at 120F for Medium Rare).
- Remove the tri tip from the grill.
- Raise the temperature of your Traeger to 450-500F.
- Once your grill is at the desired temperature, return the tri tip to the grill and sear for four minutes per side.
- Remove the tri tip from the grill, slice thinly against the grain and serve with Traeger Spicy Texas barbecue sauce.