Red Wine Marinated Smoked Tri Tip

4.13 from 16 votes
Jump to Recipe

Sharing is caring!

An award-winning recipe for Tri Tip Marinade from our very first BBQ competition. Made with tender Tri Tip and smoked slowly to perfection. Serve alone or with a delicious chimichurri sauce.

Slices of Red Wine Marinated Smoked Tri Tip with Chimichurri Sauce
Tri Tip is cut off the sirloin of a cow.

We have learned a lot about smoking Tri Tip over the years. 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, tender and delicious.

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!

Smoked Marinated Tri Tip resting on a cutting board

The Cut – What is Tri Tip?

Tri Tip is beef, and comes from the backside of the cow or the bottom sirloin. It is where separate areas of muscle meat come together and thus you have three points to the cut. 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 want to really see marbling then try Snake River Farms Tri Tip, it’s amazing.

How to Prepare Tri Tip

When trimming Tri Tip, remove the excess silver skin and small pockets of fat on the outside.

You want to expose that meat and have little to no fat or silver skin that gets in the way. Unlike its cousin, brisket, it 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.

Tri Tip Marinade

While I love the simplicity and flavor of salt and pepper — and you can see our signature salt and pepper tri tip here — the best tri tip marinade uses wine and then we smoke it for added flavor. In fact, in our very first ever BBQ competition we medaled using this recipe.

Tri Tip Marinade Ingredients

After trimming, our tri tip marinade recipe uses the following ingredients:

  • Fruity red wine, like Syrah or Zinfandel
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Rosemary

Place in a gallon size bag and add the meat and refrigerate anywhere from 2 to 6 hours. After six hours the wine tends to over power the flavor of the beef which we don’t want. We feel 2 is plenty.

How to Smoke Tri Tip

We like to use cherry wood and prep the smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the smoker is at temp, remove from marinade, pat dry, season with salt and pepper.

A whole Tri Tip cooking on a smoker

Then place on the smoker until it is done (roughly one hour or until the internal temperature reaches between 125-130 degrees for rare).

Checking temperature of beef with a digital thermometer

We always recommend using a good digital thermometer to check your temp, like this one in the pic.

Resting the Meat

Next, and one of the most important parts, is the wait!!!

Beef resting on a wood cutting board

Let those juices slowly redistribute for 15 minutes, then cut in. This part is hard when you’re hungry and all you want to do is reward yourself with those sweet morsels of beefy goodness. But you must wait. It’s worth it! 15 minutes is all you need before you can cut into this delicious cut of beef.

How to Slice Tri Tip

Make sure to cut AGAINST those grains. Check out the video below if you’re unsure what that means! We show you exactly how to cut a Tri Tip Steak. What is important to know is that typically you will see two directions the grain runs on a tri tip. So we will cut against the grain then rotate the roast and then continue cutting.

Slices of Tri Tip sliced against the grains.

Serve alone or with your favorite side. We love to serve this with Chimichurri sauce (find our recipe here). It’s so darn good!

Wine Pairing

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).

This post was originally published in July of 2017, and updated in June of 2020. Updates included the steps in the trimming. The recipe remains the same.

*This post contains affiliate links. We only recommend products we use and love! And all of the products mentioned above are those we use regularly.

If you like this recipe we’d truly appreciate it if you would give this recipe a star review! And if you share any of your pics on Instagram use the hashtag #vindulge. We LOVE to see it when you cook our recipes.

Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Red Wine Marinated Smoked Tri Tip with Chimichurri Sauce
4.13 from 16 votes

Smoked Red Wine Marinated Tri Tip Recipe

An award-winning recipe for Smoked Tri Tip, made with a wine marinated smoked tri tip and smoked slowly to perfection.
Prep: 2 hours
Cook: 1 hour
Resting Time: 15 minutes
Total: 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


For the Tri Tip

  • 2 pound Tri Tip, We use Snake River Farms
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

For the Marinade

  • 1 cup red wine, , Syrah or Zinfandel
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire
  • ¼ cup diced shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tablespoons fresh rosemary, diced

For the Rub

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon 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. Marinate for two hours, (up to 6) in a dish in the fridge, remembering to flip the marinade and bag halfway through the marinade time.
  • Remove meat from bag and discard marinade. Pat meat dry, remove excess rosemary and chunks. Mix the salt and pepper in a small dish and season roast.
  • Pre heat the smoker to 225 degrees F using a fruit wood like cherry or apple.
  • Add the tri tip. Cook for about one hour, until it reaches an internal temperature (IT) of 125 degrees for rare or 135 degrees for medium rare.
  • Pull from smoker and rest for 15 minutes (or wrapped and stored in a small cooler with NO ice to keep warm if done early or needing to be kept warm before serving).
  • Slice against to grain, this is key for tri tip due to the way the grains change along the tri tip. Serve with your favorite sauce.



Wood Choice: We like cherry wood for this


Calories: 473kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 147mg | Sodium: 2094mg | Potassium: 1067mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 43IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour
Resting Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American, barbecue, bbq, meat
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 473
Keyword: smoked tri tip, smoked tri tip recipe, tri tip, tri tip marinade, tri tip steak
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!

mary cressler headshot


About Mary

I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

You May Also Like:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. 5 stars
    I’ve made this several times and am in the process of making sin this evening for dinner! It’s amazing and we like ours between a rare and medium rare. The chimmichuri sauce is super easy to make and adds a great flavor. We drink the rest of the Shiraz with dinner:)

  2. Can you clarify when you put the rub of salt and pepper on? I was assuming you would put it on after removing from the marinade and prior to putting in the smoker. Then again, my assumptions are often wrong.
    Thank you and love the site.

    1. Trent, great question, we put the rub on after the marinate and prior to cooking as you suggested! We will make sure to clarify and thanks for the feedback!

  3. 1 star
    Well I’m thinking that the internal temperature on this recipe of 127°. Is 100% incorrect. Pretty disappointing… I also think that “smoking” at high altitudes takes double the time. Just saying.
    * Please adjust so no one gets sick!

    1. Melissa, I’m sorry you feel the temperature of 127 didn’t meet your needs. We cook to a rare steak which is completely safe. If you are not a fan of rare, you can certainly increase the temperature to your desired temperature. Perhaps 135 to 140 for medium. So I can assure you that no one will get sick from a steak cut and cooking to 127. As for high altitude and smoking, typically altitude and lower oxygen levels impacts more water boiling. Having lived at 7,000 feet I never saw any increase or decrease in cooking temperature for smoking or grilling, although we did for boiling water. To be honest we never really tracked.

    2. Oh no. That comment was embarrassing for her.
      Often people just have a misconception or were told things incorrectly than try to pass that on only to have something like this happen. Hopefully she invests some time into learning about smoking.

      1. I agree, our hope is to help others understand that what we may have learned growing up has changed and to also validate that you can cook to your desired temperature. Hopefully she has had a chance to try it out!!

    3. 5 stars
      The internal temperature of beef (or any meat) is a matter of personal preference. I eat meat from well done (like brisket), to done (fowl), to medium rare (pork), to rare (steak), to raw (beef tartare). It is a matter of personal preference only, not a safety issue if you get good quality meat from a reputable butcher. I tried the smoked tri-tip, and at rare, it was a delight with the chimichurri sauce. Admittedly, the red wine marinated version was, in my opinion, not as good as the plain version. To the plain version, I added onion granules (1 Tbsp) to the rub, and I rubbed the tri-tip with pressed garlic 24 hours before cooking. I smoked it with a milder wood (apple), and it turned out magnificent.

      Keep in mind that tastes differ and just because you do not agree with a particular facet of a recipe, it does not make it wrong. I am a garlic-aholic and as such, I add garlic to my version. If you do not like garlic, don’t!

  4. This looks AMAZING but what I especially love about this post are your tips for buying the right cut. I have such a hard time figuring out how to get the best cuts of beef at the store/butcher because we rarely ever buy or eat beef, and your tips were SO helpful! Thank you!

  5. That waiting picture is cracking me up! Don’t you know that a watched tri-tip doesn’t, um, boil?

  6. Tritip with chimmichurri always seems like a perfect summer combo to me – i like how this one is marinated in red wine and since the red wine is already open might as well keep working on using it while you wait for the tri tip….

  7. I really need to start cooking more! This recipe looks delicious! I’m so hungry now! Haha