Tri Tip Rub For Smoking – Steps For How to Smoke a Moist Tri Tip Roast

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When it comes to making a tri tip rub for smoking, you’ve got plenty of tantalizing options. Smoked tri tip isn’t a very popular piece of meat, and it requires a little tender love and care to come out perfect. In this post, I’ll reveal exactly how to make this type of beef using a great smoked tri tip recipe and dry rub combinations formulated just for you.

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Tri Tip Rub For Smoking – Steps For How To Smoke A Moist Tri Tip Roast

Table of Contents

What Is Tri-Tip?

A trip tip roast is a piece of meat that is positioned just underneath the sirloin. It isn’t a very popular cut of meat, but it is very lean. It is sometimes referred to as a triangle tip. This meat cooks up like steak, so you can enjoy it however you would like (rare, medium-rare, etc).

The meat tastes excellent when smoked and there are a variety of flavors you can add to it to enhance the taste even more. Know that you may not always find this type of meat in the display case with the others, as it is often ground up to use for lean hamburger meat. Thus, if you want a tri tip, try asking your butcher to fetch it for you from the back.

Tri Tip Rub For Smoking – Steps For How To Smoke A Moist Tri Tip Roast

How to Make a Rub For Smoking a Tri Tip

You can make a tri tip rub recipe for smoking out of virtually any spices you want or you can purchase a premade rub in the store. For an easy dry rub for smoking tri tip, try 8 tablespoons each of ground black pepper, garlic, and salt for flavoring 4-6lbs of tri tip roast.

Other recipe ideas to help create the best tri tip rub for smoking flavoring include adding coffee, sugar, or red crushed pepper for awesome flavor and a spicy kick!

For an interesting coffee-flavored tri tip, try mixing the following spices together:

  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp mild chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1./2 tsp cayenne pepper
Tri Tip Rub For Smoking

How Long to Smoke Tri Tip

When cooking up the perfect smoked tri tip, you’ll want to know the internal temperature you’re aiming for in order to know when to pull it off the grill. This may mean you need to watch your trip tip very closely with a meat thermometer in hand.

Generally speaking, it is recommended you do about 30 minutes for every pound of tri tip meat.

Thus, plan for around two hours of grilling time (give or take) to reach the proper internal temperature. In addition, you’ll want to sear your tri tip for about 2-3 minutes afterwards. You’ll also want to let it rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing in.

How Long Should I Smoke My Tri Tip?

Remember that this low and slow method for smoking tri tip is ideal for producing a juicy flavorful piece of meat. But how long you should cook the meat will depend on how many pounds it is and how you want it cooked. The smoke flavor can fully infuse in this amount of time, making the taste and texture truly delicious if you can manage to wait it out.

How Long Does it Take to Smoke Tri Tip at 225?

Again, how long it will take to smoke your tri tip at 225°F will really depend on internal temperature. Most people who enjoy tri tip say that the best tri tip is the one that isn’t cooked past medium. This is because cooking it too much can render it too dry. Of course, you shouldn’t eat meat that you aren’t comfortable eating. So, be sure to prepare your tri tip steak the way that is most suitable for you.

The following are the internal temperature recommendations for each way of cooking an amazing tri tip:

  • Rare: 115-120°F
  • Medium-Rare: 125-130°F
  • Medium: 135-140°F
  • Medium-Well: 145-150°F
  • Well-Done: 150-155°F

Note: When you sear tri tip, the internal temperature may go up a bit. Keep this in mind when determining when to remove the meat.

How Do You Keep a Tri Tip Moist When Smoking?

Many tri tip recipes will offer recommendations on how best to keep the meat moist when smoking. Keep your cooked tri tip juicy by keeping a cup or pan of water in your smoker. You can also cook the meat rare, medium-rare, or medium to lock in most of the juices. If you continue cooking your tri tip until it reaches well done, you may notice that it is drier. This is usually the case for most steak types.

You may also choose to wrap your tri tip (which I’ll get to in a minute). Still, this may not be necessary for cooking your everyday tri tip steak. However, it certainly will help it retain moisture better if you cook it this way. 

Should I Wrap Tri Tip When Smoking?

If you are aiming for brisket-style tri tip, then yes, you can wrap it. However, wrapping tri tips otherwise isn’t really necessary for this cut of meat.

How to Smoke Tri Tip

Ready to learn to cook tri tip? Once you’ve cooked up this flavorful piece of smoked meat, you may never go back! The cooking process is relatively simple and can add a good smoke flavor you’ll love.

So, let’s dive into this delicious recipe!

Trip Tip Recipe:


  • 1 4-6lb tri-tip roast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 tablespoons each of salt, freshly ground black pepper, and garlic powder (you may also purchase a premade dry rub)

Smoked Tri Tip Recipe

  1. During prep time, trim your tri tip after you’ve rinsed it and patted it dry. Remove the silver skin on top and any hard fat you see.
  2. Season tri tip using your own blend of spices as mentioned or use a premade bbq rub if you’re in the mood for it. Lightly pat the seasoning in with your hands.
  3. Using an offset smoker, pellet grill, ceramic grill, or charcoal grill, cook the tri tip over indirect heat between 175-225F until the meat thermometer reaches your desired internal temperature (see above segments for details). This may run close to two hours.
  4. Afterward, remove the tri tip from the grill or smoker and sear it until it develops a nice and crispy exterior in oil or butter. Make sure the skillet is nice and hot before applying the meat. Remove the tri tip after about 2-3 minutes or the desired level of crispiness has been achieved.
  5. Leave the tip to rest for about 15-20 minutes before slicing into it to ensure it stays moist. Serve with delicious sides and dig in!

Smoke a Tri Tip in a Great Dry Rub: You Won’t Regret It!

To smoke a tri tip, you’ll need a meat thermometer, a good rub, and a smoker or grill to get a great smoky flavor. The cook time will vary depending on how you like your steak. Remember that it may be hard to find tri tip in normal meat displays as it is often ground up by the butcher. If you don’t see any, ask your butcher to grab some for you from the back.

This beef roast is lean, so you shouldn’t have too much to worry about in the realm of nutritional calories.

Hope this helps answer your questions about tri tip rub for smoking!


How long does it take to smoke tri tip at 225?

It takes about 2 hours to smoke a tri tip at 225°F, but remember, this amount of time may vary depending on how you like your steak cooked.

What is tri-tip?

Tri tip is the triangular portion of meat just below the sirloin. It is often ground up by butchers to use for lean hamburger meat however, it can also be purchased in its original form and grilled for a delicious and savory meal. 

By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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