Spicy and Sweet Smoked Tri Tip

Tri tip is one of my favorite cuts, and unfortunately is very hard to find locally. So when I do find them, I like to make the most of it.

The tri tip is a cut of beef from the bottom sirloin subprimal cut. It is a small triangular muscle, usually 1.5 to 2.5 lbs. I found out about them and fell in love when I was on the west coast, where it is much more prevalent. A good tri tip was perfect on the grill to feed 2-3 people in an hour, but going into the smoker really brings it all together.

A fun side note before the recipe: I developed the Sweet Heat Beef rub specifically for tri tip, and I highly recommend its usage here.

Spicy and Sweet Smoked Tri Tip

Spicy and Sweet Smoked Tri Tip


  • 1 Tri Tip
  • 1/4 Cup of Sweet Heat rub


  1. Bring your smoker up to temp at 225F
  2. Pat the tri tip dry with paper towels, then liberally coat the whole thing with rub
  3. Put it in the smoker with a thermometer.
  4. Pull at 115 for rare, 120 for medium rare. which is roughly 2 to 3 hours


  • I do not recommend cooking tri tip past medium rare. I also recommend pulling it at 125 for medium rare, and letting it rest. It will come up to temp on it’s own.
  • At least from Trader Joes and the local butcher shop, pre marinated tri tip are fine, but for a bare roast, this rub is superb.
  • This is a hard to find cut some places. I’ve even been to butcher shops here in PA where they don’t know what I’m talking about. Trader Joes is the best national place I can recommend.


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