This is a phenomenal two ingredient Smoked Santa Maria Tri Tip recipe. The first part of the recipe is a low-and-slow cook, and the second part is a hot searing. You’ll love the flavors!
🍽️ Why This Works
Two Ingredients | Seriously, just two! That is my favorite kind of meal! Choose the same seasoning and Grill Tri Tip instead of smoking it for your next bbq.
Hands-Off | This recipe is very forgiving and doesn’t require a lot of attention. The low temperature smoking gives you plenty of time to get other projects done!
Tri Tip: We signed up for a Butcher Box delivery and were fortunate enough to have this come. It is a triangular shape and comes from the “tip” of the sirloin.
Smoked Pepper: I had some bourbon barrel smoked malabar pepper I was dying to use. The flavors smelled so good!
Step One: Heat your grill to 200-225 degrees. This will be a low-and-slow recipe to start, so set up the grill for indirect heat. I added the plate setter to the Kamado grill.
Step Two: Add wood chips to the grill. I used a Hickory, as the strong flavor complements the beef. If you aren’t sure about meat/wood pairing, make sure to check out the Smoking Cheat Sheet as a great guide.
Step Three: Prepare the dry rub. I used a bourbon smoked peppercorn, but the texture was more coarse than I wanted. I put it in the food processor and pulsed it a few times, but it didn’t grind down to the level I wanted, so I broke out the coffee grinder. That worked perfectly!
Step Four: Coat the entire tri tip with the pepper (or whatever rub you choose). Make sure to get all sides.
Step Five: Smoke tri tip for about 30 minutes and then check the temperature to see how far it has come. Temps can raise quickly and you don’t want to overcook the meat. Remember that it’s all about the temperature, not necessarily about the amount of time on the grill.
Step Six: Remove the tri tip when the temperature is about 10 degrees lower than the desired end temperature.
Note: A little goes a long way. A small trickle of smoke is extremely effective for a longer grill time. Too much, and it will become overpowering!
Step Seven: Set up the grill for direct heat. Bring the temperature up to 400-425 and place the tri tip back on the grill to sear for 3-4 minutes on each side.
Remove the meat, bring it inside and tent it is foil to let it rest for 10-15 minutes. The temperature at this point will be dialed in!
❗ Expert Tips
Trim the excess fat off of the meat before rubbing on the pepper. This can take 5-10 minutes, but it is worth it. We like to use kitchen shears as it can cut really close to the meat.
Monitor the temperature with a wireless meat thermometer. This is the best way to make sure that you end up with the desired final temperature.
Use whatever rub you like. This is more about learning the “how to” rather than the actual use of the Bourbon Smoked Peppercorn.
Save some of the tri tip and grind it up to make nachos! Smoked Tri Tip Nachos were amazing! We test out a lot of our recipes into secondary ones and this is one that will be produced into a post soon. The smoked peppercorn sent these nachos into the stratosphere. We ground up some tri tip, added some seasoning to it and then piled on a huge sheet pan of nachos. There wasn’t a chip left on the pan.
Plan on 30 minutes per pound. This assumes an indirect heat. It is best to use a meat thermometer to determine when to remove it.
Absolutely! The hot sear will seal the out layer of the meat, and provide a wonderful flavor while keeping the juices locked inside. Make sure to keep the grill at 400-425 when searing.
The key is the way you slice it. There are two general rules to follow: 1) Cut against the grain (Note that the grain changes direction at the seam in the meat), and 2) Slice thinly. Follow those two tips for a perfect cut!
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Smoked Santa Maria Tri Tip
- 2 lbs Santa Maria Tri Tip
- ¼ cup Rub We used a ground Bourbon Peppercorn
- Heat the grill to 200-225 degrees. This will be a low-and-slow recipe to start, so set up the grill for indirect heat. I added the plate setter to my grill.
- Add wood chips to the grill. I used a Hickory as the strong flavor will complement the beef.
- Trim off the fat from the Tri Tip. We suggest using kitchen shears as they will get close ad it is really easy.
- Prepare the dry rub. If the rub is more coarse than you like, put it in the food processor and pulse it a few times. A dedicated coffee grinder works well too.
- Coat the entire tri tip with the pepper (or whatever rub you choose). Make sure to get all sides.
- Place the meat on the grill and set the timer for about 30 minutes. I suggest you go out to check to see how it is going and gauge a first temperature check. Smokers heat up, go down and cooking is gauged by temperature, not necessarily 100% by time. Check early so you aren't disappointed.
- Remove the tri tip when the temperature is about 10 degrees lower than the desired end temperature.
- Set up the grill for direct heat. Bring the temperature up to 400-425 and place the tri tip back on the grill to sear for 3-4 minutes on each side.
- Remove the meat, bring it inside and tent it is foil to let it rest for 10-15 minutes. The temperature at this point will be dialed in!