View Full Version : Tri tip cooking

01-28-2020, 10:07 PM
Hi. I want to try cooking a tri tip roast in my smoker
In terms of temperature do you bring it up to the same temperature as a briske? I ask because where I bought it the butcher referred to it as a California brisket. He said it is more tender.

01-28-2020, 10:30 PM
I cook tri tips in my vertical charcoal smoker often. Cook them just as you would on a BBQ. I usually bring mine up to 135 - 140* then let 'em rest maybe 10 mins.

01-28-2020, 10:36 PM
Definitely do not bring it up to the same temp as a brisket! It'll be hard as a rock. As Viticulture said, 135-40 should be your target.

01-28-2020, 10:41 PM
I smoke them til about 120-125, then give it a good sear on a hot grill to bring it to mid rare. You can probably go to medium. Never even thought about trying to cook it like a brisket. Perhaps others have.

Mike in Roseville
01-28-2020, 10:55 PM
California Brisket??!!! LOL

Please don't cook it like a brisket. Rather, cook it like a steak. Bring it to 125-145 dead center depending on how you like your steak. The ends are tapered so they will be more done than the center. So if you like it medium...but your guests like it well done...cook the center to medium.

More important than how you cook it, is how you cut it. Note the grain...cut cross grain. Sometimes the grain curves...sometimes it doesn't.

Gary Tomato
01-29-2020, 12:42 AM
I’ve cooked many many tri-tips, smoked to 135°, seared and reverse seared and always happy with the finished product. I’ve smoked it like brisket and had a satisfying result too. Harry Soo has a video on cooking tri-tip you could check it out as well as a few posts on the forum too for tips

01-29-2020, 12:58 AM
bleu cheese and pico de gallo, just sayin'

01-29-2020, 05:24 AM
I bring them up to about 115 and sear to 125 and rest to about 130. Cut thin across the grain. As already noted, some change grain directions more so than others. It is our family’s preferred steak (even over fillet or ribeye)

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01-29-2020, 05:36 AM
a nice dark rub, smoker going @250 diluted acv spritz a couple times until i.t. 130. Then I rest in a cooler. Perfect every time

01-29-2020, 08:05 AM
Thanks those are good tips... I will cook it more like a steak or a roast. I had no idea they were tender like that.

El Ropo
01-29-2020, 08:37 AM
Think of it as an odd shaped prime rib roast, and cook accordingly. The most evenly cooked PRR is cooked at a very low temp to promote even pink from edge to edge. Cooking at higher temps will give you the donut effect where there is a large ring of brown on the outside of the roast with a small area of pink in the middle (you want to avoid this). Cook at no higher than 250F till it is 10F-15F below target temp, remove and rest for 10-15 min to stop carryover cooking, then sear on blazing hot fire to finish the crust. Seasoning is up to you, SPOG is all that is needed though. Dry Brining is an option too, but not necessary at all. Some people choose to skip the sear at end and cook to just below target temp then rest. There will always be a little carryover cooking, so keep that in mind when deciding what temp to cook the meat to.

01-29-2020, 09:02 PM
I see a lot of people on Facebook boasting about cooking a Tri Tip like a Brisket to 202 - 205 internal. Yes you can do that, just like you can cook a Ribeye or a NY Strip to 200 plus, but you are going to ruin a beautiful, tender piece of meat. As everyone else has already commented, cook it to no more than medium. I like mid-rare done on a reverse sear.

Also pay careful attention to the direction of the grain because it changes about midway through the roast. It will always be more tender sliced against the grain, and a lot of first timers mess this up. Here's a link to a picture.

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=vxo1W%2b9Y&id=989EDBF3ABB9EB01D2454BE18E57EC4E07E0D9D3&thid=OIP.vxo1W-9Y83ulV71EDTocJQHaFU&mediaurl=https%3a%2f%2fwww.traegergrills.ca%2fon%2 fdemandware.static%2f-%2fLibrary-Sites-TraegerSharedLibrary%2fdefault%2fdw530c26a6%2fimag es%2fblog%2f20170329_Timberline-Tips-Tritip-Against-The-Grain-Infographic_BG.jpg&exph=550&expw=766&q=tri+tip+steak+grain+picture&simid=608040701399599067&selectedIndex=0&ajaxhist=0

01-29-2020, 09:24 PM
Thanks that's a good photo. I will try to watch for that. Would you cut the long side in half then cut across the grain?

01-29-2020, 09:42 PM
I personally slice the long side first then rotate and cut against the grain. Great piece of meat, I'm sure you will enjoy!

01-29-2020, 10:10 PM
Maybe your butcher was referring more to the "regional" nature of things.

Texas = Brisket
Cali = Tri-tip

Please don't ruin a good tri-tip by taking it to 205 internal!:cry:

Mike Twangzer
01-30-2020, 08:32 AM
Quite a while ago, someone cooked a tri tip until it could be pulled like pulled pork. Couldn't find the thread though. IMHO, I think it was a waste of great meat but it was an experiment. I have sous vide a tri tip for several hours and then seared the heck out of it. Came out great.

Big George's BBQ
01-30-2020, 10:02 AM
As stated cook till 125-130 and then a good sear Make sure to cut against the grain

01-30-2020, 11:21 AM
As others have said. Think of it as a small roast or a large steak and cook it accordingly.

Here is a link to how I cook my Tri-Tip.


checkrd past
01-30-2020, 01:07 PM
There is a guy on you tube that call it a poor mans brisket. I always wanted to try it

Pulmah Finger
01-30-2020, 04:59 PM
Tri-tip is a great cut for big gatherings, I usually give it a good rub and get the grill smoking hot. Sear it on both sides then indirect heat around 400degF, pull it off at 120-125 in the middle and let it rest for 10min.

like mentioned you will get well and med-well on the ends, rare med-rare in the middle, and any left overs can be reheated without over cooking.

These cuts use to be cheap now they are getting a little spendy.

Music Junkie
01-30-2020, 10:17 PM
I bring them up to about 115 and sear to 125 and rest to about 130. Cut thin across the grain. As already noted, some change grain directions more so than others. It is our family’s preferred steak (even over fillet or ribeye)

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We get them untrimmed and clean them up myself. I like to keep the fat cap after clearing out any silver skin, and drape it back over the bottom while smoking at 225-250. Once they reach an IT of 120-135 (depending on preference - we cook several for get-togethers and we make some for every taste), they go on the gasser at 400-500 for a min or so each side. Let em rest and slice against the grain.

We are lucky enough to get them for $2.98/lb at the local store and the family loves it.


01-31-2020, 02:16 PM
It's known as a Trisket if you cook it like a Brisket.

02-01-2020, 07:07 AM
I bring them up to about 115 and sear to 125 and rest to about 130. Cut thin across the grain. As already noted, some change grain directions more so than others. Agree 100%

02-02-2020, 02:17 AM
I have grilled Tri-Tip on a Santa Maria Style grill, I have smoked Tri-Tip on a smoker, I have done "Cowboy Fondue" with Tri-Tip on pitch forks, I have probably cooked more Tri-Tip than anyone on this website. I have done "seared" "reverse seared" "dutch oven" blah, blah , blah. I love looking at Tri-Tip photos where the person has done every painful time consuming process to get the ultimate Tri Tip, and then sliced it parallel to the grain. Please do not cook Tri-Tip like a brisket----unless you like shredded overcooked beef.--Others in this thread have hinted that perhaps treating a Tri-Tip like a steak is awesome----I CONCUR--but please, please, please slice perpendicular to the grain---time spent making a Tri-Tip awesome can best be ruined by improper slicing

02-02-2020, 10:52 AM
I've been cooking tri-tips for well over 30 years and have tried several different methods. These days the only way I cook a tri-tip is the reverse sear method as others have posted. Smoke that roast @ 250 -275 until 120 -125, then sear it up to medium rare to medium. Then, and this is very important, wrap it in foil and let it rest for at least 30 mins in a cambro or ice chest, then slice across the grain