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Smoked Tri Tip with Santa Maria Seasoning

Smoked Tri Tip with Santa Maria Seasoning

Tender and juicy Smoked Tri Tip reverse seared to produce a desirable brown crust. This smoked tri tip recipe starts with a flavorful Santa Maria seasoning rub and is cooked low and slow on the grill. Serve it sliced or in a Tri Tip Sandwich.

For more tri tip recipes, check out our Sous Vide Tri Tip with an Asian-inspired marinade.

Smoked Tri Tip Recipes

Beef tri tip is a popular cut of beef on the west coast, namely California. It’s not as easy to find in other regions, unless you special order from a butcher. When needed, we order from Wild Fork Foods. Their prime tri tip is extremely high quality. It’s where we also pick up Beef Plate Ribs.

As tri tip has little marbling, it can be a tougher cut of beef if not cooked properly. Slow cooking tri tip allows the muscle to break down and the fat to render leading to a perfectly tender smoked tri tip roast.

Raw tri tip with small bowls of ingredients.

Santa Maria Seasoning

We use a Santa Maria Tri Tip-inspired dry rub to marinate the tri tip steak. True Santa Maria barbecue utilizes local oak wood smoke; unless you’re utilizing that specific wood, it ain’t true Santa Maria bbq. Hence the “inspired” notation.

The smoked tri tip ingredients list is short and sweet.

  • Tri Tip Roast (2 – 2.5 lbs)
  • Dry Rub – paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt and black pepper.

How To Smoke A Tri Tip

Smoking tri tip is a nice beginner-level smoker recipe.

Season Tri Tip

Pat dry and season the tri tip with the Santa Maria seasoning mix.

Raw seasoned beef on a baking sheet.

Grilling the Roast

Making smoked tri tip works great on any gas or charcoal grill. Here’s how to prepare your grill to make smoke tri tip.

  • Gas Grill – Generously grease the grates and turn the burners on low. If you find it going over 225° F, turn off a burner or two to get it as close as possible. Create smoke by using a smoker box filled with wood chips/chunks.
  • Charcoal – Pre-heat the coals and dump them in the center of the grill. Open the vents as needed to maintain the temperate at 225°F. Create smoke by placing wood chunks directly on the pre-heated coals, right before cooking.
  • Pellet/Electric Smoker (Such as Traeger tri tip)– Pre-heat your grill to 225°F. Follow the manufacture’s instructions to get an even smoke.

Reverse Sear Tri Tip

Increase the heat on your grill to develop the highly desirable brown crust. This method allows for even cooking through out the tri tip and adds texture.

Timing

To smoke tri tip to medium-rare, plan on a 90 minute cook time at 225°F. If your roast is smaller or larger than about 2.5 lbs., the time will adjust accordingly.

Tri Tip Cooking Temp

Aim to keep the grill as close to 225°F as possible. If using a manual smoker, aim to keep the temperature between 200 – 225°F.

Smoked tri tip roast on baking sheet..

Tri Tip Temperature

Smoke tri tip by temperature, not time. Here are the “final doneness temperatures”. Your “pull from the grill” temperature will be 5-7°F below the temperatures called out below as resting will increase the tri tip internal temp. Use a meat thermometer to ensure accuracy.

  • Rare: 125°F – 130°F
  • Medium Rare: 130°F – 140°F
  • Medium: 140°F – 150°F
  • Medium Well: 150°F – 160°F
  • Well Done: 160°F+

* The USDA recommends cooking steaks and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees F for safety.

Supplies

  • Energy Source – Charcoal, pellets, propane, gas, etc.
  • Smoking Wood –   Chunkschips or pellets.
  • Smoker Box – You’ll need one to impart the smoke flavor if using a gas grill. 
  • Water Bottle – Use it to spritz the roast while cooking. We use an inexpensive spray bottles from Amazon.
  • Thermometer – Always use a meat thermometer. Our go-to digital thermometer is the Thermaworks Dot.

Wood Recommendation

The traditional wood to smoke tri tip is red oak, however Tri-tip steak can stand up to almost any wood. For a light smoke, go with cherry wood, apple wood, or even pecan. For a heavy hit of smoke, use hickory or maple.

Tips

Leftover Ideas

If you have leftovers, consider making a tri tip sandwich. Just replace the prime rib in our Prime Rib Sandwich with tri tip.

Sliced steak on a silver baking sheet.

More Smoker Recipes

Smoked Beef Tenderloin

Smoked Turkey

Smoked Mac and Cheese

Smoked Rack of Lamb

Picanha with Chimichurri 

Smoked London Broil

Coulotte Steak

Wine Pairings

Wine – Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Malbec, Tempranillo

Smoked Tri Tip cut into slices.
Print Recipe
5 from 7 votes

Smoked Tri Tip

Tender and juicy Smoked Tri Tip reverse seared to produce a deep brown crust. This smoked tri tip recipe starts with a flavorful California-inspired tri tip rub and is cooked low and slow on the grill.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Resting15 mins
Total Time2 hrs 25 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Beef Recipes, Grilled Beef, Smoked Beef, Tri Tip
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories: 274kcal
Author: Darcey Olson
Cost: $30

Ingredients

Tri Tip:

  • 2-2½ lbs Tri Tip Roast

Tri Tip Dry Rub:

  • ½ tbsp Paprika
  • ½ tbsp Cumin
  • ½ tbsp Brown Sugar
  • ½ tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • ½ tsp Garlic Powder
  • ½ tsp Onion Powder
  • ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper

Instructions

  • Add all the dry rub ingredients to a small bowl and mix to combine.
  • Pat dry the tri tip and trim any silver skin or excess fat. Evenly coat the roast with the dry rub. Let rest on the kitchen counter for an hour to marinate.

Gas Grill:

  • Generously grease the grates and turn the burners on low. If you find it going over 225° F, turn off a burner or two to get it as close as possible. Create smoke by using a smoker box filled with wood chips/chunks.
  • Transfer the roast to the grill and grill until the internal temperature reaches 110° F.
    Increase the temperature of the grill to 450° and continue cooking, flipping halfway through, until the internal temperature hits 5-7°F LOWER than your desired final temperature.
  • Remove from the heat and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing against the grain and serving.

Charcoal/Wood Grill:

  • Pre-heat the coals and dump them in the center of the grill. Open the vents as needed to maintain the temperate at 225° F. Create smoke by placing wood chunks directly on the pre-heated coals, right before cooking.
  • Transfer the roast to the grill and grill until the internal temperature reaches 110° F. If you DO NOT want to reverse sear the tri tip, keep it on the grill until it reaches 5-7° F LOWER than your desired final temperature and skip the next "reverse sear" instructions.
  • REVERSE SEAR (*NOTE 1): Transfer the beef to a cutting board and cover with foil. Pre-heat a grill to "high". Once at a high temperature, transfer the beef back to the grill and continue cooking the roast, flipping halfway through, until the internal temperature hits 5-7° F LOWER than your desired final temperature.
  • Remove from the heat and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing against the grain and topping with chimichurri.

Pellet/Electric Smoker:

  • Generously grease the grates and set the smoker to 225°F.
  • Transfer the roast to the smoker and cook until the internal temperature reaches 110° F.
    Increase the temperature of the smoker to 450° and continue cooking, flipping halfway through, until the internal temperature hits 5-7°F LOWER than your desired final temperature.
  • Remove from the heat and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing against the grain and serving.

Notes

Here are the “final doneness temperatures”. Your “pull from the grill” temperature will be 5-7°F below the temperatures called out as resting will increase the tri tip internal temp. Use a meat thermometer to ensure accuracy.
  • Rare: 125°F - 130°F
  • Medium Rare: 130°F - 140°F
  • Medium: 140°F - 150°F
  • Medium Well: 150°F - 160°F
  • Well Done: 160°F+

Nutrition

Calories: 274kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 531mg | Potassium: 568mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 124IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 3mg

 

Recipe Rating




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