How Long to Smoke Tri Tip at 225: Expert Tips for Perfect Smoky Flavor

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Cooking a delicious tri-tip can be daunting for many novice cooks, but with the right tips and techniques, it is possible to achieve amazing results. One of the most important things to know when smoking a tri-tip is how long it should be cooked at 225 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is low enough to slowly break down the tough fibers in the meat while still allowing the fat to render and create a juicy, tender piece of beef.

Knowing how long to smoke tri tip at 225 will help you get the perfect result every time. This article discusses the ideal time for tri-tip at this temperature and some helpful tips for achieving maximum flavor and texture.

How Long to Smoke Tri Tip at 225?

For best results when smoking Tri Tip, it should be preheated to 225°F and rubbed with salt and pepper or BBQ rub. The Tri Tip should cook for about 1 hour and 40 minutes, flipping it halfway through cooking time to ensure even cooking. The internal temperature should reach 140°F before removing it from the smoker. For a 3-pound Tri Tip, the cooking time will be slightly longer, around 2 hours and 10 minutes.

How Long To Smoke 3 Lb Tri Tip At 225?

How Long To Smoke 3 Lb Tri Tip At 225

The ideal time to smoke a 3 lb tri-tip at 225°F is approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes. Flipping the tri-tip over every hour is recommended to ensure even cooking. Trimming excess fat before placing the meat in the smoker is also essential. When the meat thermometer registers a temperature of 5 degrees below the desired level of doneness, it is recommended to broil the meat in the oven for a few minutes to develop a browned and caramelized crust. After letting the meat rest for 20 minutes, it can be thinly sliced and served with favorite sides and sauces.

How Long To Smoke Tri Tip At 225 On A Gas Grill?

To smoke tri-tip at 225°F on a gas grill, preheat and prepare it with salt and pepper or your favorite BBQ rub. Place it on the preheated grill and let it cook for about 1 hour and 40 minutes, flipping it halfway through the cooking time so it cooks evenly. Once the tri-tip has cooked for 1 hour and 40 minutes, check its internal temperature with a meat thermometer, which should reach 140°F before removing it from the grill. Let the tri-tip rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving it with your favorite sides and sauces.

How Long To Smoke Tri Tip At 225 On A Charcoal Grill?

When smoking tri-tip at 225 on a charcoal grill, it is important to note that this cut of beef should not be overcooked due to its lean nature. It typically takes 60-90 minutes to cook to a medium-rare temperature of 127 degrees Fahrenheit.

The grill should be set up for indirect cooking using a small amount of charcoal placed around the edge of the grill and wood chunks on top. The meat should be coated with olive oil and generously seasoned with salt and pepper before being placed on the grill.

Once the desired temperature is reached, it is essential to wrap the tri tip in foil and place it in a cooler for 30 minutes to an hour to allow the juices to redistribute evenly. This method is affordable for serving a delicious steak dinner to a larger group.

How Often Should You Check The Temperature Of The Tri Tip While Smoking It At 225 Degrees?

Depending on the size of the tri-tip and the desired level of doneness, it is recommended to check the temperature every 30 minutes to one hour using a reliable meat thermometer. It is crucial to insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat without touching the bone to get an accurate reading. Overcooking the tri-tip can result in a dry and tough end product, so checking the temperature regularly is essential to ensure it is cooked to perfection.

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What Are Some Popular Rubs And Marinades For Tri-Tip Before Smoking?

What Are Some Popular Rubs And Marinades For Tri-Tip Before Smoking

Before smoking, it is essential to apply a dry rub or marinade to the meat to enhance its flavor.

Many popular rubs and marinades for tri-tip include the Santa Maria seasoning, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, and salt. Other popular options include soy sauce-based marinades, Worcestershire-based marinades, and herb rubs, which typically consist of rosemary, thyme, and other herbs. Some barbecue lovers prefer adding sweetness to their dry rubs, including brown sugar.

Regardless of the choice of rub or marinade, ensuring the meat is fully coated and allowed to marinate for several hours before smoking is crucial. This will allow the meat to absorb all the flavors, resulting in a tender, juicy, and flavorful smoked tri-tip that will impress.

Should You Trim The Fat Off Tri-Tip Before Smoking?

When smoking tri-tip, some people may doubt whether to trim the fat off the meat. According to expert advice, trimming the fat off the tri-tip before smoking is unnecessary. Leaving some fat on can add moisture and flavor to the meat. However, whether to trim the fat off or not can ultimately depend on personal preference.

For those who prefer to trim off the fat cap, a sharp knife can gently get under the layer of fat and cut it away from the meat before cooking. Regardless, it is important to properly season the meat and cook it to an internal temperature of 125-135°F, depending on the desired doneness. After cooking, let the tri-tip rest for 10 minutes before slicing it across the grain.

How To Know If Tri Tip Is Done?

If you’re wondering how to know if tri-tip is done, there are a few different methods you can use, but here are the three that I find work best:

  1. Use a meat thermometer – This is the most accurate way to determine if your tri-tip is done. For medium-rare, you’ll want to cook your tri-tip to an internal temperature of 130-135°F. For medium, aim for 140-145°F, and for medium-well, 150-155°F. Make sure to insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat for the most accurate reading.
  2. Use the finger test – This method takes a bit of practice, but it’s a great way to gauge how done your tri tip is without cutting into it. First, make a fist with your hand and feel the fleshy part of your palm below your thumb. This is what medium-rare meat should feel like when you press it with your finger. If you want your tri tip more well-done, move your finger to the next part of your palm (for medium, it should feel like the base of your thumb, and for well-done, it should feel like the center of your palm).
  3. Look for visual cues – If you don’t have a meat thermometer or are not confident in your finger-test skills, you can also look for visual cues. Your tri tip should have a pinkish-red center with some browned edges for medium-rare. For medium, the center should be more pink than red; for medium-well, there should be just a hint of pink.

What To Serve With Smoke Tri-Tip?

What To Serve With Smoke Tri-Tip

When serving smoke tri-tip, I like to keep things simple and let the meat shine. That said, I find a few side dishes complement it particularly well.

  1. Roasted Vegetables – Roasting vegetables brings out their natural sweetness and adds a delicious caramelized flavor. My go-to vegetables for serving with smoke tri-tip are carrots, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes.
  2. Garlic Mashed Potatoes – Creamy and flavorful garlic mashed potatoes are the perfect comfort food to pair with a smoke tri-tip. They’re also incredibly easy to make – boil potatoes, mash them with butter and garlic, and season to taste.
  3. Grilled Asparagus – Grilling asparagus adds a smoky flavor that pairs perfectly with the smoke tri-tip. Before grilling, I lightly brush the asparagus with olive oil and season them with salt and pepper.
  4. Baked Beans – Baked beans’ sweet and savory flavor is a classic pairing for smoked tri-tip. You can make your own from scratch or doctor canned beans with bacon, onion, and your favorite seasonings.


What Kind Of Wood Chips Are Suited For Smoking Tri-Tip?

Some commonly used wood chips for smoking tri-tip types include wood pellets, wood chips, and wood chunks. Wood pellets are not recommended for smoking tri-tip as they do not produce enough smoke. Wood chips are thin strips of wood that can be used in any grill or smoker, but they tend to burn quickly, making them less ideal for larger cuts of meat like tri-tip. Wood chunks, however, are great for smoking tri-tip as they burn longer than wood chips and can serve as the heat source or be mixed with charcoal.

When selecting the best wood for tri-tip, oak, hickory, and pecan are popular as they burn hot and long enough for a brisket to be smoked at 250-300 degrees. Oak is recommended as it produces a smokey flavor without overwhelming the meat, while pecan and hickory have a slightly milder and stronger smoke flavor.

Should You Soak Wood Chips In Water Before Using Them For Smoking Tri-Tip?

According to factual data, there is no real reason to soak wood chips before using them in most situations. Soaking wood chips may prevent your smoker or grill from working correctly and lead to longer cook times, ultimately drying out your meat. Additionally, soaking wood chips can impart off flavors and lead to disappointing results.

When wet wood is added to a smoker, it produces steam rather than smoke, which can cause the smoker’s temperature to fluctuate erratically, resulting in steamed meat and potentially overcooking.

While some experts believe that soaking wood chips can provide a slower burn, it all comes down to personal preference. Ultimately, it’s essential to learn how to control temperatures in your smoker rather than relying on wet wood chips.

What Is The Ideal Smoker Temperature For Smoking Tri-Tip?

The smoker temperature for smoking tri-tip is between 175°F and 225°F. This temperature range ensures optimal smoke absorption while allowing the meat to cook until an internal temperature of 130°F to 135°F is achieved. Smoking tri-tip for several hours is unnecessary, as the intramuscular tissue is not dense like brisket, and fat pockets need not be rendered for a prolonged time.


In conclusion, smoking tri-tip at 225 degrees requires patience, attention to detail, and a willingness to experiment. While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how long to smoke tri tip at 225, a general guideline is 1 hour and 40 minutes. However, the key to a perfectly smoked tri tip is not just the time you smoke it but also the internal temperature and type of wood you use. With a little practice and experimentation, you’ll be able to achieve mouth-watering, smoky tri-tip every time.


How Long to Smoke Tri Tip at 225

Recipe by Maura BraunCourse: Beef, Blog


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As someone with plenty of experience and expertise in smoking meats, I’ve found that tri tip is one of the most flavorful and tender cuts of beef out there. But, as with any meat, knowing when it’s done cooking is crucial to ensure you get the perfect texture and flavor.


  • A 2lb tri tip

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • BBQ rub (if desired).


  • Preheat your smoker to 225°F and prepare your tri-tip with salt and pepper or your preferred BBQ rub.
  • Once your smoker is up to temperature, place your tri tip on the grates and let it cook for about 1 hour and 40 minutes, flipping it over halfway through to ensure even cooking.
  • The best way to determine the tri-tip is by checking the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. You’ll want to aim for an internal temperature of 140°F before removing it from the smoker.
  • Once your tri tip has reached the desired temperature, it must rest for about 10 minutes before slicing into it. This allows the juices to redistribute and ensures the meat stays tender and flavorful.

5 thoughts on “How Long to Smoke Tri Tip at 225: Expert Tips for Perfect Smoky Flavor”

  1. It appears that you enjoyed eating multiple pieces of something before going to sleep 😊it looks delicious! I’m excited to give this method a try.

  2. I never considered smoking a tri-tip before, but it seems logical, especially for smaller get-togethers when a brisket would be excessive.

  3. Maura, it appears impressive! Personally, I favor using the reverse sear technique, assuming you are familiar with it. Moreover, this particular cut of meat has two distinct grain directions. By altering the angle of your slice halfway through, you can achieve a more tender bite. It’s advisable to slice it thinly since it can be a bit tough. Finally, don’t forget to enhance its flavors by adding some delicious chimichurri sauce.


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