• sterlingdavis

Perfect Reverse Sear Tri-tip Steak

Two perfectly cooked Tri-tip steaks ready for dinner!
Hooks Midnight (left) and Hey Grill, Hey Beef Rub (Right)

Tri-tip is one of the three types of meat I recommend to any beginner smoker to start with. When learning your pit, there are few foods as forgiving and delicious as tri-tip.

What is tri-tip? Tri-tip is a triangular muscle from the bottom sirloin subprimal cut.

You can find this delicious cut in any grade, choice, prime, and even wagyu. Each is delicious and has quickly become a family favorite at our house!

If you purchase Tri-tip from a local butcher, online, or from a grocery store, chances are you will need to trim off some fat that will not render down during cooking. Here is an example of a Snake River Farms Wagyu Tri-tip before and after trimming.

Wagyu Tri-tip
Before and After Trimming - Wagyu Tri-tip

For Tri-tip, I always use Worcestershire sauce as a binder. A binder acts as an adhesive of sorts that allows your rubs and seasonings to penetrate the meat better and deeper. Once I apply the binder, I season both sides of the Tri-tip generously.

Here is an example

Don't be shy with the seasoning!
Seasoned Tri-tip Coming To Room Temp

While the meat is coming up to room temperature, start your smoker!


  • Set smoker to 225 degrees for indirect cooking

  • When the smoker is at temperature, place the meat in the smoker

  • After 45 minutes, I check the internal temperature with a Thermapen from ThermoWorks.

  • We like a medium-rare Tri-tip in our house, so I let the meat continue smoking until it hits an internal temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit or so.

  • If you are searing the Tri-tip off on your smoker, place tri-tip on a plate and cover lightly - not tightly - in foil while the grill gets hot.

  • Increase grill temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit

  • When the grill is to temperature, place meat back on the grill. Timing for this step will be different for every cut of meat, typically at this temperature, you will cook the meat for about 3 minutes, rotate 90 degrees (get those beautiful sear marks!) and cook 3 more minutes on the first side. Flip the steak and repeat 3 minutes and rotate. Check internal temperature.

  • We want to pull the steaks off at 135 degrees Fahrenheit before pulling. When the steak is at your preferred temperature, pull the meat and let it rest for at least ten minutes before slicing. Don't forget to rest the meat! The meat is a muscle that was just over high heat, the fibers are tense and if you slice into it right away, juice that you want in your steak will run all over the cutting board. After resting ten minutes, the muscle has relaxed and absorbed most of that delicious juice back into the meat.

  • Slice and enjoy!


When you make your own, be sure to tag me in it! I love to see your creations!

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*Links to products are affiliate links, which means if you do order product, I receive a commission. Keep in mind I only recommend the tools I use every day and would recommend them to everyone!

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