Smoked Tri-Tip Roast, Reverse Seared
Tri Tip Roast, smoked and reverse seared.
Servings Prep Time
5people 15minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
3.5hours 20minutes (rest)
Servings Prep Time
5people 15minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
3.5hours 20minutes (rest)
  • 12-1/4 to 3 lb Tri-tip Roast, trimmed
  • 2tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1tsp Granulated Garlic
  • 2tsp Black Pepper, freshly cracked, heavy grindWe only use “Tellicherry Pepper”
  • 2tsp Olive, Canola, or Avocado OilOur oil is infused with garlic and rosemary
  1. Typically I just buy Choice Grade Tri-tips, usually in bulk and untrimmed for better pricing. But if you are buying them individually, opt for the roasts that have a good grain to them (streaks of fat) and or the ones that are “gushier” when you poke them. If they are gushy as opposed to firm to the touch, they will be more tender. I remove most of the fat from the Tri-tip Roasts (if bought untrimmed) and I always tenderize them with a “Jaccard”, as seen at top left of photo. If you dont have one of these you can use a fork for the same purpose, but it will take a lot longer. Basically you will be piercing the roast with hundreds of fork pierce marks, on both sides. This does a great job of tenderizing the steaks, and it is absolutely necessary when prepping a tri-tip roast. The seasoning is simple, a light sprinkling of granulated garlic, heavy kosher salt seasoning, and heavy cracked black peppercorn seasoning on both sides. We have a variable grind pepper grinder (top right in photo) which we set for the most course grind setting. I have given you approximate measurements of the seasonings, but you want your seasoned steak to look like the ones in the photo. After seasoning I set the roast(s) on the smoking chamber grate on the left side of our smoker, away from the firebox.
  2. In the firebox, I start up a few charcoals and once they are going, I place a piece of my smoking wood on top. As seen in the photo, I placed a small piece of cherry wood on top of the three coals and then placed a few unlit coals on the side of those coals, to keep the coals going. Usually I use a larger piece of wood so I dont have to replace it, but that little piece of cherry was convenient when I got things going.
  3. Now your job is to keep the smoke going and the temperature low, which means adding the minimal amount of charcoal needed (2 or three at a time) and replacing smoke wood, if needed, to smoke meat for 1.5 to 2 hours. Note in the picture that there is a small amout of bluish smoke coming out of the silver exhaust pipe. This is what you are looking for. What kind of woods to use? Any hardwood will work. In our area, the native hardwoods are oak and manzanita, but there are some great nut and fruit harwoods available in the valley including cherry, apple, pear, peach, almond, walnut, and so many more. Does the meat taste different when using different smoke woods? Yes it does, but not significantly. I think you are more likely to pick up the subtle differences on poultry and fish. I love to smoke Turkey with cherry wood!
  4. After your “Cold Smoking” period is done, it’s time to ramp up the fire. In the photo you can see the amount of coals that were added to the 2nd piece of cold smoking wood that I already put in the firebox. I get them going very quickly with a propane torch (highly recommended for any BBQer). Alternative is to start the cooking coals in a Weber charcoal starter to the side of your smoking coals, and then toss around the firebox when they are graying.
  5. After adding the cooking coals, I put a charcoal grate over the firebox. And now it is time to keep an eye on your Tri-tip(s) with internal thermometer. A probe and cable thermometer is the preferred method, so you dont have to keep opening the smoker (which would slow down cooking). Once the roasts reach 115F, it is time to sear the steaks. At this point I drizzle cooking oil on both sides of the roast(s). Then I put them on the cooking grate in the firebox. They will cook pretty quickly from here and I usually leave the fire box lid open for more searing. But if I want less searing and more cooking, I will close it. During the end of the searing phase I am frequently probing with an instant read thermometer for temp at the middle of the meat. I am looking for 130F for medium rare, and 137 for medium. The temperature can change very quickly so pay close attention at this time.
  6. Remove your steak from the smoker and place on serving platter (or in tupperware) and lightly cover with foil. I recommend a resting period of 20 minutes to let the juices redistribute throughout the steak before serving. When slicing you want to cut against the grain. For the Tri-tip roast, that means that you start slicing on the wider tri-angle side (not the more pointed tri-angle sides), and if you look closely, you will be able to observe the direction of the grain. Serve and enjoy and do spoon that “Au jus” in your serving platter over your servings! There will be lots of smoke flavor in it.
Recipe Notes

Cooking tools utilized that may interest you:


Pepper Grinder

Tellicherry Peppercorns

Oklahoma Joes Longhorn Smoker

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