Tri-tip has become a popular choice for barbecue in recent years, and it’s easy to see why – it’s flavorful, tender, and easy to cook. If you have an electric smoker, it’s simple to smoke tri-tip just like the pros. In this article, we’ll go over the steps for smoking tri-tip in an electric smoker, including what temperature to set your smoker, what wood chips to use, and how long to cook the tri-tip.
Tri-tip is a popular barbecue meat that has gained popularity in recent years. To smoke tri-tip in an electric smoker, set the temperature between 225°F and 275°F and fill the woodchip tray with hickory, pecan, cherry, or your preferred smoking wood. Place the tri-tip on the grill and cook until the internal temperature reaches 115°F (around 1.5 hours). Remove the tri-tip from the smoker and reverse sear it on a hot pan or grill until the internal temperature reaches 130°F for rare or 140°F for medium rare. Tri-tip is best served medium or medium rare and should be sliced against the grain for tenderness.
- Tri-tip has become a popular barbecue meat in recent years
- To smoke tri-tip in an electric smoker, set the temperature between 225°F and 275°F and fill the woodchip tray with hickory, pecan, cherry, or your preferred smoking wood
- Place the tri-tip on the grill and cook until the internal temperature reaches 115°F (around 1.5 hours)
- Remove the tri-tip from the smoker and reverse sear it on a hot pan or grill until the internal temperature reaches 130°F for rare or 140°F for medium rare
- Tri-tip is best served medium or medium rare and should be sliced against the grain for tenderness
- You don’t need to wrap tri-tip in foil, as it’s a lean cut that dries out easily if cooked for too long
- Tri-tip should take around 2 hours to cook in an electric smoker
- A quality meat thermometer is recommended to ensure precision in cooking
- Tri-tip is a lean cut of meat that is best served rare or medium rare, but can become dry if overcooked
- Tri-tip is not like brisket or pork butt, as it is a thin cut of meat that should be flipped every 15 minutes to ensure even cooking
- It is not necessary to wrap tri-tip in foil as it is a short cook, and wrapping will prevent the meat from absorbing smoke flavor
- - One Tri-Tip
- Your favorite beef rub or make your own with the following:
- Paprika – ½ Cup
- Kosher Salt – ½ Cup
- Brown Sugar – ½ Cup
- Garlic Powder – ½ Cup
- Onion Powder – ¼ Cup
- Chilli Powder – ¼ Cup
- Cumin – ¼ Cup
- Black Pepper – 2 Tablespoons
Season the tri-tip with a dry rub.
Set your electric smoker up to cook between 225° F in 275° F
Fill the wood chip tray with hickory, pecan, cherry or your favorite smoking wood.
Place a chilled tri-tip on the grill, and insert the meat the number in the thickest part of the tri-tip.
Cook until the internal meat temperature reaches around about 115° F (which should take about 1.5 hours).
Once the tri-tip hits around about 115°F, remove it from the smoker.
Reverse sear the tri-tip at a high heat for 3 or 4 minutes on each side until the meat reaches 130°F for rare and 140°F for medium.
Tri-Tip Reverse Sear Method
The most common way pitmasters smoke tri-tip is by using reverse sear method. This involves partially smoking the tri-tip before finishing in a pan or on the grill. To reverse sear the tri-tip in your electric smoker, smoke the meat until the internal temperature reaches around about 115° F.
Then sear the tri-tip in a hot pan or the grill until the internal meat temperature reaches 140° F for medium rare or 130 for rare.
Reverse searing is a technique that involves smoking the meat at a low temperature until it is almost cooked to the desired doneness, and then finishing it off with a high-heat sear. This helps to create a beautiful crust on the exterior of the tri tip while keeping the interior juicy and tender.
To reverse sear tri tip on an electric smoker, smoke the meat at a low temperature until it reaches an internal temperature of around 110-120 degrees Fahrenheit, and then finish it off with a sear on a hot grill or in a cast iron pan.
Best Wood Flavors for Smoking Tri Tip
|Mesquite||A strong, heavy wood with a bold, earthy flavor. Often used for grilling beef due to its ability to stand up to the rich flavor of the meat.|
|Hickory||A strong wood with a robust, smoky flavor. A classic choice for smoking beef due to its strong flavor and ability to impart a deep smoke ring.|
|Maple||A mild wood with a subtle, sweet flavor. Can be used to add a hint of sweetness to the smoky flavor of beef.|
|Peach||A mild wood with a sweet, fruity flavor. Can be used to add a touch of sweetness to the smoky flavor of beef.|
|Apple||A mild wood with a sweet, fruity flavor. Can be used to add a hint of sweetness and a slight tang to the smoky flavor of beef.|
The Best Way to Prepare Tri-Tip for Smoking
When trimming, leave a 1/4 inch of fat on the underside to help protect it the meat during the cook. This fat insulation will keep the meat moist and add flavor. Only remove fat that won’t render. Fat is always good for flavor and moisture but also for protecting any smoking meat.
Apply a decent amount of barbecue rub all over the tri-tip, especially barbecue rather goes well with meat. If you are a good recipe for rub, check this out. Here is a good rub recipe. If you want to buy a rub, I would highly recommend Killer Hogs or Slap Yo Daddy.
What Equipment Do You Need?
|Electric smoker||A device used to smoke meat using electricity|
|Meat thermometer||A tool used to measure the internal temperature of meat|
|Wood chips||Small pieces of wood used to add flavor to smoked meat|
|Grill or pan||A cooking surface used to sear the tri-tip|
Does Tri Tip Need to be Flipped?
Tri-tip is a thin cut of meat. It’s not thick roasting meat like brisket or a pork butt. It’s best to flip it maybe every 15 minutes just, so it cooks evenly. However, electric smokers do not really have hotspots, and you should have an even heat flying around your smoker. If you find that the underside of your meat cooks faster — then flip it.
Various Methods for Cooking Tri-Tip
|Reverse sear||Partially smoke the tri-tip before finishing in a pan or on the grill|
|Flip||Turn the tri-tip over every 15 minutes to ensure even cooking|
|Wrap in foil||Not necessary for short cooks under 2 hours, as it can prevent the tri-tip from absorbing smoke flavor|
|Slice against the grain||Cut the tri-tip in a way that makes it tender, not chewy|
Does Tri-Tip Need to be Wrapped in Foil?
You don’t need to wrap tri-tip in foil because it’s a short cook. We only wrap briskets, pork shoulders and other large cuts of meat because they need hours in the smoker and need protection. Also, tri-tip is a lean cut and is will dry out easily if left it in the smoker for a long period.
For short cooks under 2 hours, there’s no need for wrapping. Wrapping will stop the tri-tip from absorbing the smoke flavor—which defeats the purpose of cooking meat in a smoker.
It is not necessary to wrap tri-tip in foil as it is a short cook, and wrapping will prevent the meat from absorbing smoke flavor. Tri-tip should take around 2 hours to cook in an electric smoker and a quality meat thermometer is recommended to ensure precision in cooking.
Wrapping will prevent the tri-tip from absorbing smoke flavor. Tri-tip should take around 2 hours to cook in an electric smoker and a quality meat thermometer is recommended to ensure precision in cooking. It is important to note that tri-tip is a lean cut of meat that is best served rare or medium rare, but can become dry if overcooked.
It is also different from thick cuts of meat like brisket or pork butt, as it is a thin cut that should be flipped every 15 minutes for even cooking.
How to Know When Tri-Tip Reaches Done Temperature
Tri-tip is best served medium or medium rare, and I think you’ll find this is the way most pitmasters will prepare tri-tip. A 130° F temperature will be rare, and 140° F will be medium rare. If you’re doing the reverse sear, remove the meat from the smoker at an internal meat temp of 1:15°F and finish on the grill or fryer until it reaches an 130 or 140° F internal.
Tri-tip can easily become dry if overcooked, which is why it is best served rare or medium rare. Tri-tip is also different from thick cuts of meat like brisket or pork butt, as it is a thin cut that should be flipped every 15 minutes for even cooking.
Always use quality thermometers. Get yourself a good instant-read thermometer and make sure that you’re cooking meat to precision. Cheap thermometers will give you inaccurate readings. I highly recommend the thermometers I use. These thermometers are affordable and high-quality. The TP19 and the TP20 to make sure that all your meat is cooked safely and to perfection.
Smoked Tri-Tip On A Masterbuilt Electric Smoker
Tri-Tip is Best Served Rare or Medium
Tri-Tip is a lean cut of meat and is best serve rare or medium rare. Most cooking videos show tri-tip looking very rare. If you prefer meat well-done, a tri-tip may become dry if overcooked. If you prefer your meat well-done, just be aware that a tri-tip is easy to dry out when overcooked. This is because tri-tip is a lean and does’t have much fat to keep it moist and tender as other cuts of meat do. So pay attention to the cooking time and monitor the meat with a thermometer.
How Long Does It Take to Smoke a Tri-Tip?
If you are cooking your tri-tip in an electric smoker, it should take about 2 hours to cook at a temperature range of 250° F to 300° F. This is because most electric smokers do not go much higher than this temperature range, so cooking your tri-tip at these temperatures will give you the best results.
It is important to note that the cooking time may vary slightly depending on the size and thickness of your tri-tip, as well as the specific model of electric smoker that you are using. If you are in a hurry and want to cook your tri-tip faster, you can finish it off with a reverse sear or by baking it in the oven at a higher temperature. This will help to ensure that your tri-tip is cooked to perfection and ready to enjoy in no time.
Slicing Tri-Tip Like a Pro
As with most meats, slice tri-tip against the grain to make sure that the meat is nice and tender. Treat a tri-tip as you would a brisket flat. Slicing with the grain will make the meat chewy. To slice tri tip, start by trimming off any excess fat and slicing the meat against the grain into thin slices. This will help to ensure that the tri tip is tender and easy to chew.
Can you Get a Smoke Ring on Tri-Tip?
You probably won’t get much of a smoke ring on a tri-tip because it’s only a short cook, so it won’t get much in the smoke. Also, electric smokers are nearly impossible to get smoke rings on some meat.
Tri-Tip vs. Brisket
The only thing tri-tip and brisket have in common is it’s from the same animal. Brisket is a long cook because it contains a lot of fat and connective tissue. A brisket could take 15 to 18 hours, whereas a tri-tip is a smaller, leaner cut of meat that will only take under 2 hours to cook.
The tri-tip is from the hindquarter of the animal and is attached to the sirloin. Brisket is from the forequarter and is a hard-working muscle, which is why brisket is tough. Tri-tip and brisket should be cooked differently. Brisket needs to be cooked low-and-slow, whereas tri-tip is a lean cut and should only be cooked for a few hours.
What is Tri-Tip?
Tri-Tip is a triangular-shaped piece of meat that is found at the bottom of the sirloin, on beef. This lean cut of meat usually weighs around 5 lb, and at first it’s hard to tell if it’s actually a steak or a small roast. Your butcher may not be aware of a tri-tip, so you might have to talk to him about it (although this cut is becoming more popular, so the butcher should know about it).
Tri tip is a staple of Santa Maria-style barbecue, which originated in the central coast of California. It has since gained popularity in other parts of the country, particularly in barbecue-centric states like Texas and Tennessee.
Common Ways Tri-Tip is Cooked
Tri tip can be cooked using a variety of methods, including grilling, smoking, and roasting. One of the most popular ways to cook tri tip is on a Santa Maria-style grill, which is a wood-fired grill with a grate that can be adjusted to different heights. Another popular method is smoking the tri tip on an electric smoker.
The ideal temperature for cooking tri tip is around 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows the meat to slowly cook and absorb the smoky flavor from the wood chips. Tri tip should be cooked to an internal temperature of 135-140 degrees Fahrenheit for medium-rare. It is important to use a meat thermometer to ensure that the tri tip is cooked to the proper temperature.
It is not necessary to wrap tri tip while smoking it, but some pitmasters choose to wrap it in foil or butcher paper towards the end of the cook to help retain moisture and prevent the exterior from getting too charred.
Cooking tri tip on an electric smoker will typically take anywhere from 2-4 hours, depending on the size of the cut and the desired level of doneness. It is important to monitor the internal temperature of the meat and the smoker temperature throughout the cook to ensure that the tri tip is cooked to perfection.
Tri tip pairs well with a variety of seasonings and rubs, but a simple blend of salt, pepper, and garlic powder is all you really need. Feel free to experiment with other herbs and spices to find the combination that works best for you.
Tri tip pairs well with a variety of wood flavors, but some of the best options include oak, hickory, and mesquite. Experiment with different types of wood to find the combination that works best for you.
|1||Season the tri-tip with a dry rub.|
|2||Set the electric smoker to a temperature between 225°F and 275°F.|
|3||Fill the woodchip tray with hickory, pecan, cherry, or your preferred smoking wood.|
|4||Place the tri-tip on the grill and insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat.|
|5||Cook until the internal temperature reaches 115°F, which should take around 1.5 hours.|
|6||Remove the tri-tip from the smoker and reverse sear it on a hot pan or grill until the internal temperature reaches 130°F for rare or 140°F for medium rare.|
|7||Let the tri-tip rest for 10 minutes before slicing against the grain and serving.|
How to Get More Smoke in your Electric Smoker
Smoke tubes are a great way to get some extra smoke into your electric smoker. These handy tools will double your smoke output, which makes it the perfect accessory for an electric smoker. As you would know, electrics produce less smoke than other smokers, so having smoldering wood from a tube is a game-changer for electric users.
To use a smoke tube, all you do is fill the metal cylinder with wood pellets, light the end, and wait for the wood to smoke. Then, place it in your electric smoker and watch the smoke roll out. There are several products on Amazon, you can check them out here.
Homemade Rub Recipe for Tri-Tip
It’s always better to make your own barbecue rub at home. Store-bought rubs contain too much salt, so I like to make my own to control the ingredients. It’s also much cheaper to make a large batch of rub. Here is a great homemade rub recipe that you can try.
- - ½ Cup Paprika
- - ½ Cup Salt
- - ½ Cup Sugar
- - ½ Cup Granulated Garlic
- - ¼ Cup Granulated Onion
- - ¼ Cup Chili
- - ¼ Cup Cumin
- - 2 Tablespoons Black Pepper
- - 2 Tablespoons Dry Mustard
- - 1 Tablespoon Cayenne Pepper
- Combine all the spices together in a large mixing bowl
- Store rub in rub shakers