Smoked Tri Tip – Reverse Sear Method

Smoked Tri Tip – Reverse Sear Method

Smoked Tri Tip Reverse Sear 10

The tri tip is a triangular (go figure) cut of beef that comes from the bottom sirloin. Popular since the 1950’s in California, it has now become popular up and down the west coast. And for good reason – it might be one of the best roasts for the money. It’s a lean cut with a great beefy flavor that lends itself to multiple ways of preparation.

The inspiration for this recipe comes from my good friend Mike, a transplant from Culver City, who introduced me to the tri tip many years ago. The marinade adds a brightness while helping to tenderize, the smoke adds another subtle layer of flavor, and the reverse sear method is the best way to get a great outside crust and char with a super moist, perfectly cooked inside.   

So enough talking about it, let’s get cooking!

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Here’s the star of the show, just the way I got it from my butcher. I’ll trim the little bit of fat still on it and then get it to marinating.

Speaking of marinating, here are the ingredients.

Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard and spices. Put the tri tip in a zip lock bag and into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably closer to 8.

Take the tri tip out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you are ready to smoke it so as to take a little of the chill off of it. Set your smoker up with your favorite wood (my current favorite is apple) and get it up to 225° F. This tri tip weighs in at about 2 ½ pounds, so it should take between 1 hour 15 minutes and 1 hour 30 minutes to get to 120°. For those in the audience that are math challenged, it usually takes about 30 minutes per pound at 225°.

Now the fun begins. I’m using my gas grill for the final sear and to get it up to medium rare. On high, it’ll take about 4 or so minutes per side to hit 135°. Remove and cover with aluminum foil while it rests for 15 minutes.

For the slicing, you’ll want to slice across the grain of the meat. A tri tip is a little tricky because the long part has the grain going in this direction, but the bigger end…

Goes in this direction.

Here it is, the perfect medium rare. Serve with pico de gallo and enjoy!

Smoked Tri Tip – Reverse Sear Method

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5 from 1 vote

Smoked Tri Tip Reverse Sear Method

Marinated, smoked and then reverse seared. This is the easy way to perfection in a Tri Tip.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Marinating4 hrs
Total Time5 hrs 40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, BBQ
Keyword: reverse seared tri tip, smoked tri tip, tri tip
Servings: 6


  • 2 1/2 pounds tri tip roast
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme


  • Trim any excess fat or silver skin from tri tip.
  • Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic powder,onion powder, paprika, salt, pepper, oregano and thyme.
  • Place tri tip in zip lock bag and add marinade.
  • Marinate in refrigerator for 4 to 8 hours.
  • Remove tri tip from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.
  • Set up smoker to 225° F. Smoke for approximately 30 minutes per pound, or 1 hour and 15 minutes, until internal temperature is 120° for medium rare.
  • Fire up grill to high and sear for 3 to 4 minutes per side,until internal temperature is 135°.
  • Remove from heat, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for15 minutes.
  • Slice thinly across the grain and serve with pico de gallo.

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