Scrumptious Smoked Tri-Tip Steak/Roast

Are you tri-curious? This often overlooked cut of meat is not only relatively inexpensive, but also very flavorful. Easily recognized by its triangular shape – it’s lean, tender and boneless. You’ll see it referred to as tri-tip steak, triangle roast or tri-tip roast but it’s all the same cut.

I used the reverse sear method for these tri-tips and my Yoder YS480 is the perfect smoker for that technique – I’ll show you why later in the blog. I loaded it up with oak pellets – my favorite wood for smoking beef – and set the temperature for 250*. BBQr’s Delight pellets are my favorite.


Tr-tips have a narrow band of fat that runs roughly down the middle. This is important because they need to be sliced across the grain to be tender and the grain runs in different directions on either side of this fat band. I find it’s easier for me to see the fat band and direction of the grain when the meat is raw so I use toothpicks to mark it for later.

Because tri-tip steaks have such a great, beefy flavor I prefer rubs that complement the flavor but not overpower it. This time I used Smooth Moove from Obie-Cue and it worked out perfectly. BBQ Pit Stop carries the full line of Obie-Cue rubs.


Since I used the reverse sear method on these tri-tips I placed them in the Yoder at 250* and let them smoke until they reached an internal temp of about 110*. Once they reached 110* I removed it from the smoker, placed it on a platter and tented it with aluminum foil.

I adjusted the thermostat on the Yoder to 600*, removed the regular grates and set them aside. I replaced them with the aluminum grates from GrillGrate you see in the picture. GrillGrate grates are made from aluminum which is a superior heat conductor. They amplify the heat and convert it to infrared heat and create a restaurant quality searing station. I also use them when doing direct cooking because they also eliminate flareup.

When the smoker hit 600* the I uncovered the tri-tip steaks and placed them on the GrillGrates to do the searing. Things move really fast from this point on and it’s critical that you have an accurate food thermometer and watch the tri-tips very closely. I seared them for 3-5 minutes before flipping for another 3-5 minutes. Then I repeated the process while checking the internal temperature frequently. Because tri-tip is lean, be careful not to over cook it – medium is as far as you should go. I prefer medium-rare so I only let these get to an internal temp of 125* before removing. I can’t overemphasize the importance of using a meat thermometer to make sure you get it right where you want it.


After I removed the tri-tips from the smoker I set them on the cutting board and let them rest for about 20 minutes. Be patient and don’t skip this step. Resting allows the juices time to be distributed evenly through the roast. 

I located the grain on one side of the roast and sliced across it until I reached the toothpicks marking where the grain changed. Then I simply rotated the roast to give me the correct angle to continue slicing across the grain. 

Here are a couple shots of the sliced tri-tips and yes, they tasted just as good as they look!



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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Tri-tip is usually butchered into larger sizes for people to use on the grill or in BBQ style smoker preparations. A single tri-tip cut can feed a few people. It has a definitive grain direction and can be very tender and flavorful if cooked, sliced and served properly. For a nice write-up on how to properly execute a tri-tip on the grill, check out this post from BBQ Pitstop. […]

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