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+ servings
Closeup of smoked Tri Tip on a black slate being sliced.
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5 from 12 votes

The Best Slow Smoked Tri Tip Recipe

Smoking tri tip has never been easier! Full of flavor and incredibly tender, this tri tip is smoked low and slow to perfection. And it takes less than 2 hours!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time1 hr 45 mins
Course: dinner
Cuisine: American, BBQ
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 303kcal
Author: Amanda Mason


  • Smoker any type


  • 3 lb tri tip
  • 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons coarse salt
  • 2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • ½ Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper


Dry Rub Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper.
  • Put the steak in a large glass dish. Spread the seasoning over the entire tri tip ensuring to press the rub into the steak.
  • Once the steak is completely covered on all sides, cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, up to 24 hours.

Smoker Instructions

  • Prep the smoker and preheat it to 225°F.
  • Put the meat directly on the smoker rack, fat side down.
  • At a slight angle, insert a digital thermometer into the side of the steak ensuring the tip is all the way in the center.
  • Smoke low and slow until the desired temperature is met.
  • Using tongs, remove the steak from the smoker and place in a dish. Wrap the smoked meat tightly in aluminum foil and allow to rest for 7-10 minutes.
  • After the resting period, put the steak on a cutting board and slice against the grain. The thinner the slices, the more tender the steak.
  • Serve immediately.


  • If you're in a hurry, you can skip the marinating process and go straight to smoking. But the more the dry rub sits on the meat in the fridge, the more flavorful the steak will be.
  • Generally, it takes around 30 minutes per pound to smoke tri tip at 225°F, so plan accordingly. 
  • Always smoke to temperature, not time. 
  • If you've ever questioned when a steak is done at a certain temperature, refer to this temperature range list below.
    • Extra Rare or Blue: 80-100°F
    • Rare: 120-125°F
    • Medium Rare: 130-135°F
    • Medium: 140-145°F
    • Medium Well: 150-155°F
    • Well Done: 160°F and above
  • Use a digital meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the meat.
  • It tastes best when cooked to medium-rare. To avoid dry and hard to chew steak, don't overcook it.
  • Remove it from the smoker when it is about 5 degrees of your final desired target temperature. During the resting period, the internal meat temperature will continue to slightly raise.
  • Wrapping the meat tightly in aluminum foil during the resting period helps trap in the moisture. The fats and juices from the stek will get reabsorbed during the resting period.


Calories: 303kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 1835mg | Potassium: 590mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 248IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 3mg