An award-winning recipe for Smoked Tri Tip from our very first BBQ competition, made with a wine marinated smoked trip tip and smoked slowly to perfection. Serve alone or with a delicious chimichurri sauce.
Da bomb! Scroll to the bottom for the the video.
We have learned a lot about smoking tri tip. It has evolved from a rather obscure cut of meat for us, to one of the most common meats we cook for crowds. It’s lean, incredibly flavorful, and, when cooked properly, this cut is something we hope everyone can ask his or her butcher for countrywide so they can taste for themselves how awesome it is!
Tri Tip is beef, and comes from the backside of the cow. It is where separate areas of muscle meat come together and thus you have three points to the cut, thus “tri tip”. When you buy it, it should typically be trimmed and almost ready for grilling or smoking. They are typically small, less than 2 or 3 pounds, so for a crowd you need to consider buying a bunch. Finally, buy high quality tri-tip. Marbling is key so you get the most flavor, so look for a good marble. We rarely use anything less than choice or its local farming equivalent. If you cut in half a select tri tip you quickly realize why you want to maximize the marbling in an otherwise lean cut of meat.
When trimming up tri tip, I like to mention that you have two major sides. One will have a relatively lean side and the other will have some excess fat and areas you want to trim off. The key for tri tip is trimming off all the excess fat and silver skin. Simply put, you want to expose that meat and have little to no fat that gets in the way. Tri tip, unlike its cousin, brisket, cooks fast and since it is relatively lean, it won’t render out a ton of fat, so it is key to pull off and trim any excess layers.
While I love the simplicity and flavor of salt and pepper — and you can see our signature salt and pepper tri tip here — we have won awards for this marinated tri-tip. In fact, in our very first ever BBQ competition we placed for this very tri tip! Specifically we marinade after trimming with red wine, Worcestershire, and some additional flavors. Do this from 1 hour up to 6 hours in the fridge to lock in those flavors.
We like to use cherry wood and prep the smoker to 250 degrees. Once at temp, and your meat has marinated, remove from marinade, pat dry, season with salt and pepper.
Then place on the smoker until it is done (roughly an hour or until the internal temperature reaches between 125-130 degrees).
Next, and one of the most important parts, is the wait!!!
Let those juices slowly redistribute. This part sucks when you’re hungry as hell and all you want to do is reward yourself with those sweet morsels of beefy goodness. But you must wait. It’s worth it!
Then Cut In!
Make sure to cut AGAINST those grains. Check out the video (coming in the next 2 days) if you’re unsure what that means!
Serve alone or with your favorite side. We love to serve this with Chimichurri sauce (find our recipe here). It’s so darn good!
Feel free to reward yourself before sharing with your friends. You’ve earned it.
- 2-3 pound Tri Tip, at least USDA Choice or Higher
- 1 cup red wine
- 1/3 cup Worcestershire
- ¼ cup shallot
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 tablespoons rosemary, diced
- 2 tablespoons salt and pepper rub, equal parts salt and coarse ground pepper
Trim excess fat off tri tip (see video for visual).
In a large zip lock bag add marinade ingredients and the trimmed tri tip. Seal tight and shake well to mix. Marinade for anywhere from one hour, up to 6 in a dish in the fridge, remembering to flip the marinade and bag halfway through your marinade.
Remove meat from marinade and then pat dry, remove excess rosemary and chunks.
Pre heat the smoker to 250 degrees F.
Add the tri tip. Cook for about one hour, until it reaches an internal temperature (IT) of 127 degrees.
Pull from smoker and store in a small cooler (with NO ice), or wrap tightly in foil, to let juices have the time to settle (about 15 minutes). Then remove from wrap/cooler.
Slice against to grain, this is key for tri tip due to the way the striations change over the course of the meat.
Wood Choice: We like cherry wood for this
One of my favorite things about Tri-Tip is its versatility with wine! One of the reasons I think it’s so popular at our events is that it’s fan-friggin-tastic with a full-bodied style Pinot Noir (and we do most of our events in Oregon wine country, aka Pinot country). Most folks just associate Pinot with pork or salmon, but it can totally work with beef, especially this cut. Again, this is because it’s lean, and therefore doesn’t need some big tannic wine that will work better with a fatty cut. It also takes on some great savory characteristics from the marinade and smoke, which are to die for with the savoriness of Pinot. Juicy, lean, tender, and delicious. You can totally pair this with something bigger, like Syrah, Merlot, Malbec, Tempranillo, but don’t be afraid to try it with Pinot Noir (especially a bigger style Pinot).
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For more tasty recipes, BBQ tips and tricks, check out the Recipe Index.
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