How To Cook Tri Tip On Grill

Smoked Traeger Tri Tip Roast Recipe: A Step

How to Cook Tri-Tip on the Grill

This recipe is straight forward and uncomplicated. A 2 to 3 pound roast will feed approximately 6 to 8 people. You will need 10 minutes to prepare the meat and approximately 2 hours to smoke it to medium rare. The roast then needs to rest for 20 minutes before slicing so that the juices are reabsorbed into the muscle fibers.

Pro tip: Remove the meat from the refrigerator 30 to 60 minutes prior to cooking. You want the roast at room temperature for optimal results.

Tools and Equipment Needed:

  • 2 to 3 pound tri tip roast
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon mild chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder


  • Take the roast out of the refrigerator 45 minutes prior to cooking. Place it on a platter or in a glass baking dish with the fat side up. Score the fat about an inch apart with a sharp knife. Turn the plate 90 degrees and score again to form a hatch pattern. Do not cut into the flesh.
  • In a small bowl, mix together all of dry rub ingredients. Season the meat all over with the rub, pressing it into the roast with your hands.
  • Remove the roast to a clean cutting board and tent loosely with foil for 20 minutes to allow the juices to be reabsorbed. Slice the roast thinly against the grain and serve with your favorite side dishes.
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    Place the Tri Tip on the cold side of the grill for about 15 to 30 minutes.

    Move the triple pen to the high heat side when it reaches about 10 degrees below the desired roast: 115 degrees Fahrenheit for light cooking, 120 F for medium cooking, 130 F for medium cooking or 145 F for medium cooking, depending on how you measure the meat thermometer .

    Pellet Grill Tri Tip & The Reverse Sear

    Tri tip is a perfectly cut of beef for the reverse sear and pellet grills are the perfect cookers to do it. The reverse sear is a cooking method where you sear your meat after its been brought up to your desired doneness temperature as opposed to the more traditional method of searing your meat first then slow cooking until it has finished.

    Remember, the end goal of cooking a pellet grill tri tip is to have a dark, crispy outer crust while achieving a pink and tender inside. With tri tip, weve found that the reverse sear method just helps you achieve that goal so much easier.

    The first reason is that reverse searing makes it easier to cook an evenly and consistent tri tip. When you start off with hot sear temperatures, its easy for parts of the meat to get scorched and overcooked. On the other hand, starting off low and slow promotes a gentler rise in temperature cohesively throughout the beef.

    The second main reason we like to reverse sear tri tip is because it makes achieving a delectable outer crust easier. Generally speaking we want to retain as much moisture as possible throughout the cooking process but moisture is somewhat of a hinderance when trying to develop a dark brown crust.

    So when you reverse sear, the meat loses a little bit of moisture in the process, which in turn makes it just a little bit easier to get that beautiful crust in the end.

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    Ways To Serve Grilled Tri Tip

    Beyond plating and enjoying this tri tip roast recipe after it comes off the wood pellet smoker grill, you can use this savory, flavorful meat in a number of ways.

    First of all, roasted tri tip can be useful in any of your Mexican or Tex-Mex recipes, including burritos and tacos. When mixed with your favorite grilled veggies and salsa, tri tip adds a ton of taste.

    Making any kind of pasta for dinner? Top it with grilled tri tip instead of meatballs. Having a solid protein alongside a carb balances the meal.

    If you tend to eat tons of salads, having warm, grilled tri tip roast slices on top adds elegance to even a simple green salad. The meat is tender and juicy and goes great with just about any kind of salad dressing, from vinegar-based to creamy.

    Finally, if you want to pull together sandwiches or sliders for a tailgate, trust this tri tip roast recipe to offer up tons of tasty meat. Make the meat the basis for your handhelds, and everyone will cheer for your pitmaster prowess.

    No more excuses. Grab your smoker grill fuel of choice and get fired up about grilling tri tip.

    How To Serve Tri

    Grilled or Oven

    Tri-tip steak takes on seasonings, rubs and marinades exceptionally well, so you have your choice when serving it. It tastes incredible when seasoned simply with salt and pepper and served with your favorite steakhouse side dishes. You can also fancy it up by using Southwest spices, slicing the cooked steak into long strips and serving it on a bed of lettuce with corn, tomatoes and avocado for a filling salad. You cant go wrong by marinating it in beer and lime juice, either, using the medium-rare steak to make grilled onion and steak tacos.

    One of our favorite ways to enjoy tri-tip steak is to turn it into sandwiches. The lean, flavor-forward beef tastes fantastic on a crusty ciabatta roll with mushrooms, peppers and onions.

    Read Also: Trager Steaks

    What Is Tri Tip

    If you arent familiar with tri-tip, it is a small triangular piece of beef cut from the sirloin. Tri Tip is one of my favorite cuts of beef for feeding my family, especially when it comes to steaks.

    It turns out perfectly on the grill every time we make it. My kids like their steak a little more well done than Sean and I do, so I slice theirs from the narrow tip and I slice ours from the center.

    There is only one tri-tip cut on each side of beef so it can sometimes be difficult to find. I make sure to grab one anytime I see it. Tri tip is hands-down the best, most underrated and inexpensive steak for grilling.

    Grilled Tri Tip Recipe

  • Place the beef on the counter and allow it to warm to room temperature.
  • Stir together all of the spices and generously rub over all sides of the meat.
  • Preheat the grill to medium-high.
  • Grill the tri-tip on each side to develop a dark brown crust, about 5 minutes on the first side, flip the steak and grill about 8 minutes on the second side.
  • Remove to indirect heat and continue cooking until the internal temperature is 130-135 degrees.
  • Let the meat rest and redistribute the juices for 10 minutes before slicing thinly against the grain.
  • When slicing the steak, be sure to slice against the grain of the meat. Check out this quick video for a reminder on how to find the grain of the meat.

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    Slice And Serve The Tri Tip

    A big trick to cooking tri tips is to remember that the grain structure changes direction midway through the roast. Pay attention as you are slicing to make sure that you are always slicing against the grain!

    Serve the steak already sliced on a platter swimming in its own juices. It will get devoured!

    On the odd occasions when I happen to have any leftovers I like to add the slices to a green salad to make myself think that I am having a healthy lunch the next day

    I hope you get to fire up your pellet grill today!

    Which Wood Pellets Are Best For Tri Tip

    How to Perfectly Cook a Tri Tip Roast on a BBQ Grill | Reverse Sear Method

    Since tri tip is naturally loaded with strong beefy flavor, it can stand up to even the strongest of smokey flavor.

    So with that in mind, I like to use stronger flavored wood pellets for my pellet grill smoked tri tip oak or hickory pellets specifically are my favorite for pellet grill tri tip.

    If you really like strong smokey flavor and want stronger smoke than oak or hickory, mesquite pellets also pair really nicely with tri tip!

    Personally, I do not use lighter woods or fruitwood pellets for tri tip, simply because they dont impart enough flavor into the beef for my taste. But if you want to keep the smoke flavor muted, something like cherry or apple wood pellets are a perfectly viable option.

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    A Quick Introduction To Tri Tip

    Tri tip is a beef cut that comes from the bottom sirloin sub-primal section of a steer. Its a somewhat unique cut not only because of its triangular looking shape, but because of its unique combination of flavor, tenderness, and economical price point.

    Compared to other types of steak, you will pay significantly less on a per pound basis for tri tip than you would for say, a NY Strip or a Ribeye. And best of all, when a tri tip is cooked properly, its flavor and tenderness can truly rival some of the best types of steak out there.

    On average, a raw tri tip weighs about 2.5 pounds and when cooked is an ideal amount of beef for 4-6 people.

    Is Tri Tip Roast The Same As Tri Tip Steak

    I guess, technically, what I call tri tip could be called tri tip roast, meaning that the cut of meat is all together. A tri tip steak is an individual slice of tri tip roastbut dont you dare cut your tri tip into strips before cooking so it has the fancy word steak in it! Just say no!! After youve grilled or baked your tri tip, youll be slicing it. If you want to call those slices tri tip steak, knock yourself out. But Im Californian. So, to me, the meat is simply tri tip before and after cooking, and before and after cutting.

    Tri tip is HUGE in my family. Weve eaten it for every Christmas dinner for as long as I can remember. My family was born and bred in California, so I had no idea it was a regional thing until I moved out of state as an adult, and realized people didnt know what cut of meat I was talking about.

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    How To Grill A Tri Tip Roast

    Here is a recap of the video :

    1) Before you light up the grill, take the tri tip roast out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature . This evens out the temperature throughout the roast which will help the roast cook evenly . Trim the roast as needed.

    2) While its resting, put your favorite rub on the roast be as liberal with the seasoning as you want. As you pour it on, rub the entire surface and press it into the meat. A note on marinades: I prefer to taste the tri tip instead of the marinade, so do not marinade longer than 12 hours. The bottom line: experiment with how much more flavor you want on your tri tip, but it is such a great tasting piece of meat to begin with so dont overdo it!

    3) Light the grill and bring to medium heat . Preheat for 7-8 minutes. This is the ideal heat to cook the tri tip fully in 35-40 minutes, depending on the size of the roast.

    4) Place the meat fat side up in between the burners. Why? This will prevent flare ups from any dripping fat that lands on the burner covers.

    5) Put the cover down and keep an eye on it you dont want to lose your roast to an accidental flare up and you want to make sure that the temperature stays around 350 degrees for the entire grill.

    9) Remember to cut against the grain when it is time to trim, and cut the slices as thin as possible . We will have a video coming soon that just addresses trimming, but the short version is this: cut it in half then slice long ways.

    Enhancing The Flavor: Marinating Tri

    Best Tri

    Here is the part where you can get creative: enhancing the flavor of meat. The good news is that tri-tip tastes so deliciously that you wont need much to enhance the flavor. Whether you use a marinade for more flavor infusion, or the dry rub for instant spice, you will still get the flavor you want and crave quite easily.

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    Finishing Sauces For Tri

    A finishing sauce or condiment not only adds fresh flavor with every bite, and it creates an eye-catching contrast to the browned meat when served. In the photo, I have added a simple tomato, garlic, and basil garnish, but there are so many ways to complement this dish.

    • Mushroom & Blue Cheese RagoutFresh thyme accents the meaty flavor of crimini mushrooms and Blue cheese brings umami to the luxurious sauce.
    • Chimichurri SauceA vibrant mix of fresh parsley, vinegar, and spicesvery simple and quick to make with a blender, food processor, or mortar and pestle.
    • Tomato-Basil Compound ButterA compound butter is simple to make yet enhances lean grilled proteins with big flavor.
    • GremolataJust as you are easing into a savory, meaty bite, the slightly bitter tang of the gremolata will wake up your senses.
    • Santa Maria SalsaUnexpected ingredients like celery, dried oregano, and Worcestershire transform ordinary salsa into a delicious barbecue partner.
    • Fresh Basil PestoIts not just for pasta, my friends. Its like spreading summer on a steak.

    TIP: When serving a savory condiment or sauce, reduce the amount of seasonings on the meat before grilling so the sauce or condiment doesnt overdo it.

    Tri Tip Temperature Chart

    How to know when tri-tip is done? If you have a meat thermometer, you can check easily if the meat is cooked to your preferred level of done-ness.

    • Rare tri tip is still red inside.
    • Medium rare tri tip is red to pink inside.
    • Medium tri tip is mostly pink.
    • Medium well tri tip has just a slight bit of pink inside.
    • Well cooked tri tip has no red or pink inside.

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    More Grilled Steak Recipes To Try:

    Grilled Ribeye Steaks are a classic dinner for date night or special celebrations with family and friends. Tender, juicy and full of delicious flavors.

    Garlic Butter Steaks are one of my favorites. Grilled ribeyes that are finished with a simple garlic and herb butter that is even better than your favorite steak house restaurant.

    Garlic and Onion Ribeyes are another favorite on the grill. Tender, juicy and crazy- delicious with our sweet garlic and onion rub for a restaurant quality meal made right at home.

    Bring a wow-factor to the dinner table with this simple tri-tip recipe. It’s so easy to cook on your outdoor grill and sure to become one of your favorite recipes.


    Complimentary Side Dishes And Drinks

    How To Grill a Tri-tip Roast

    Steak isnt an everyday dish, so its important that when you do grill it, you have the perfect combination of side dishes. Youre not short of options and you have the room to experiment. While the steak might be the main attraction on the lunch or dinner menu, you cannot live on meat alone. Make sure your side dishes have a bit of everything: color, nutritional content, and wholesomeness. Since the meat is protein, add some vegetables such as asparagus, green beans, and tomatoes. For starches, you can have potatoes or butternut squash for a truly all-round meal.

    For drinks, red wine or a beer is usually the ideal partner, but you also need something for the non-alcoholics. Steak has a particularly rich flavor profile that is deep, sometimes sweet, and subtle in other instances. Cocktails offer a good and wide range of options. Pairing a delicious drink to the steak will enhance the taste experience for both while giving you a blend of flavors that work well together on the palate.

    Feeling confident enough to try it out? .Tri-tip grills are always a great choice that never disappoints. Stop hesitating and fire up that gas grill before life gets busy again! Good luck!

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    How To Cook Tri Tip On A Pellet Grill

    Now that weve got our cooking methodology down its time to take a look at how to prep and cook our beef. Its worth noting here that youll need a probe meat thermometer to best monitor this cook!

    Heres an overview of the steps needed to cook the perfect pellet grill tri tip:

  • Evenly coat your tri tip with a dry rub. We like to use a traditional Santa Maria style rub , but you can feel free to substitute your own favorite beef rub. Its ideal to let your steak rest at room temperature about an hour to soak in the rub before it goes on the pellet grill.
  • Preheat your pellet grill to 250ºF. This is the ideal temperature for the low and slow portion of the cook. If you can customize your smoke setting on your grill, we recommend medium or high smoke levels.
  • Place tri tip on the grate and shut the lid and cook until the center reaches an internal temperature of 110ºF. The meat will slow cook for roughly 1 hour could be a little more, could be a little less.
  • Remove tri tip from the grate and change your pellet grills temperature to 425ºF. Let your tri tip rest at room temperature while the grill heats up, for about 10-15 minutes. You can go up to 450ºF here if your grill has that wide of a temperature range.
  • Place your beef back on the grill, and sear each side until the a dark brown crust develops. In my experience, this usually takes around 4-5 minutes per side.
  • Let the meat rest for 5-10 minutes then slice, serve, and enjoy!
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