Traeger Tri Tip: Reverse Sear Style

The delicious Tri Tip. It seems to be gaining in popularity these days. Due to the continual rise of brisket prices and the amount of servings a brisket produces; the Tri Tip roast can be a nice alternative. If I compare tri tip vs brisket, I would say the tri tip is more like steak and the brisket is more like a roast. The Tri-Tip is a convenient size for a family; also making it a more economical choice for a simple family dinner (briskets can weight 10-15 pounds, creating a lot of leftovers).

What is a Tri Tip Steak?

But what is a Tri Tip Steak you ask? Well simply put, it comes from the bottom sirloin subprimal cut of a beef. It has great marbling, and when cooked right, it can be one of the most juicy steaks you’ve ever had. Part steak, part roast and absolutely delicious; it really is BBQ’s best kept secret that is sure to pleasantly surprise backyard BBQ’s! The best part? It’s super easy to prepare and cook! This is a reverse sear tri tip recipe which means we cook on low for about 45 minutes with smoke and then sear at the end.

The Tri Tip cut is located in the bottom sirloin area of the beef which is just below the tenderloin.

Beef cuts


I’ve been smoking / searing the Tri Tip steaks on my Traeger Ironwood 650 pellet grill. It seems to always turn out perfect with this simple to follow recipe. As my daughter calls it the Triple T, “Tri Tip Traeger”. We will go over everything you need to know in order to do a tri tip on a pellet grill. Pair it with our Texas Cavier or cheesy smashed potatoes for a perfect weeknight meal!

If you’re into the Tri Tip, then you will probably be interested in the Picanha steak as well.

You’ll only need about 1 hour to smoke/sear the Tri Tip; so it’s a great cut to use when you are short on time. 

How to make a Tri Tip on a Traeger

Equipment: 

Ingredients:

  • Tri Tip (~5 pounds)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Your favorite Beef Rub 

Serves: 4-5 

Instructions: 

  • I always get my Tri Tips from a local Butcher that knows what they are doing. Large grocery stores do not typically keep Tri Tip steaks. I usually ask for the largest Tri Tip they have (~5 pounds)

How to Prep and Trim a Tri Tip

  • You will want to trim off the excess fat. 
  • After the trimming, I salt the Tri Tip for 20 minutes. This helps pull the moisture to the surface. The salt then dissolves into this moisture and re-enters the meat. This creates a brine effect. It will make the Tri Tip have extra flavor and increase juiciness.
  • After the 20 minutes, quickly rinse the Tri Tip. Pat dry and get your favorite beef rub. Make your own or use your favorite store bought one!
  • I apply my rub generously. My rub does not have too much salt in it. I recommend using a little more caution with the rub, if it has generous amounts of salt in it (as we salted the Tri-Tip prior to applying the rub). If salt is minimal, you can go heavy on the rub.
Tri-Tip with generous amounts of rub
  • While your Tri Tip sits with the rub, fire up the Traeger and set it to 200F.
  • Once the Traeger is at temp, I put the Tri Tip in for 50 mins. This seems to be enough time to get a smokey flavor into the Tri Tip.
Tri Tip on Traeger Smoker Pellet Grill

  • After the 50 mins, I remove the Tri Tip from the Traeger and wrap in foil. I crank up the Traeger to 500F. The Tri-Tip remains off the grill (wrapped in foil) while the Traeger’s heat rises.
  • Once the Traeger is at 500F, unwrap the Tri-Tip and put it back on the grill for the final searing (Keep the foil for later).
  • Sear each side roughly 4 minutes each until you reach an internal temp of 130F. Use an instant read thermometer for an accurate reading.
Thermoworks Thermapen
Quit guessing and use an Instant Read Thermometer. Thermoworks makes the fastest and most accurate.
  • Once you hit the temp, remove the Tri Tip and wrap in the foil again; letting the Tri Tip rest for 15 minutes. The rest is crucial because the juices will be reabsorbed back into the center of the Tri Tip. If you cut into the Trip Tip too early, you will lose a lot of the juices.

How to Cut a Tri Tip Properly

  • Once the resting period is over, it is time to cut the Tri Tip. We will now go over how to cut tri tip steak properly. It’s important you do this right. Cutting tri tip steak has to be done against the grain. This will create a more tender steak. Also cut it the width of a pencil ahead. Essentially the same width as you would cut brisket. The picture below shows that I cut across the grains of the meat. This will make it much more tender to eat.
Finished and Cut Traeger Tri-Tip
Tri Tip cut across the grains of the meat = more tender Tri Tip.

And that’s how you do a Tri Tip on Traeger grills. You can really do this on any pellet grill that can smoke and get to searing temperatures. Because many smokers do not get to optimal searing temperatures; some people will use their smoker for the start and then use their gas or charcoal grill for the final sear. Use whatever tools you have at your disposal.

Snake River Farms Wagyu Tri Tip
Snake River Farms American Wagyu Black Grade
Finished and Cut Traeger Tri-Tip
Print Recipe
4.43 from 14 votes

Traeger Tri-Tip : Reverse Sear Style

Part steak, part roast and absolutely delicious; it really is BBQ's best kept secret that is sure to pleasantly surprise backyard BBQ's! The best part? It's super easy to prepare and cook! This smoked and reverse seared recipe is so easy and delicious, you'll be sorry you didn't try it sooner!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 10 mins
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: reverse sear tri tip steak, smoked tri tip, traeger tri tip, tri-tip, tri-tip roast
Servings: 5 people
Calories: 570kcal
Author: Michael Haas

Equipment

  • Traeger Pellet Grill
  • Sharp Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Meat Thermometer

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs Tri Tip Trimmed
  • Kosher Salt
  • Your Favorite Beef Rub Homemade or Store Bought!

Instructions

  • I always get my Tri Tips from a local Butcher that knows what they are doing. Large grocery stores do not typically keep Tri Tip steaks. I usually ask for the largest Tri Tip they have (~5 pounds)
  • You will want to trim off the excess fat. 
  • After the trimming, I salt the Tri Tip for 20 minutes. This helps pull the moisture to the surface. The salt then dissolves into this moisture and re-enters the meat. This creates a brine effect. It will make the Tri Tip have extra flavor and increase juiciness.
  • After the 20 minutes, quickly rinse the Tri Tip. Pat dry and get your favorite beef rub. Make your own or use your favorite store bought one!
  • I apply my rub generously. My rub does not have too much salt in it. I recommend using a little more caution with the rub, if it has generous amounts of salt in it (as we salted the Tri-Tip prior to applying the rub). If salt is minimal, you can go heavy on the rub.
    Tri Tip with Rub
  • While your Tri Tip sits with the rub, fire up the Traeger and set it to 200F.
  • Once the Traeger is at temp, I put the Tri Tip in for 50 mins. This seems to be enough time to get a smokey flavor into the Tri Tip.
    Tri Tip on Traeger Smoker Pellet Grill
  • After the 50 mins, I remove the Tri Tip from the Traeger and wrap in foil. I crank up the Traeger to 500F. The Tri-Tip remains off the grill (wrapped in foil) while the Traeger's heat rises.
  • Once the Traeger is at 500F, unwrap the Tri-Tip and put it back on the grill for some final searing (Keep the foil for later).
  • Sear each side roughly 4 minutes each until you reach an internal temp of 130F. 
  • Once you hit the temp, remove the Tri Tip and wrap into the foil again; letting the Tri Tip rest for 15-20 minutes. The rest is crucial because the juices will be reabsorbed back into the center of the Tri Tip. If you cut into the Trip Tip too early, you will lose a lot of the juices.
  • Once the resting period is over, it is time to cut the Tri Tip. It’s important you do this right. Cut the Tri Tip against the grain of the meat. This will create a more tender steak. Also cut it the width of a pencil ahead. Essentially the same width as brisket.
  • Enjoy!
    Finished and Cut Traeger Tri-Tip

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5lbs | Calories: 570kcal | Protein: 75g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 236mg | Sodium: 200mg | Potassium: 1165mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 5mg
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2 thoughts on “Traeger Tri Tip: Reverse Sear Style”

  1. I did a 3 lb tri-tip so I shaved a couple minutes off of what the recipe called for; for a 5 lb tri-tip. Followed the rest of the instructions verbatim and I was not disappointed. Very delicious and juicy!

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