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Tri- tip: smoke or grill?

I have a tri tip roast marinating in the refrigerator. It's a small one, about 2 1/2 pounds. I've never smoked it before; always cook it on the Weber charcoal grill. Any advice about smoking a tri tip? Would it make it tough or would the smoke flavor be good? How long to smoke?

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  1. We've done both. I preferred the smoked one. This particular tri-tip was 6lbs. Hubby smoked it at 275 and it took 45 minutes. It was really good. He used apple chips.

    4 Replies
    1. re: chloebell

      Thanks for the tip! I've never tried smoking one before but I'll do it at your suggestion. I think I might have some apple chips or at least cherry ones. If it took 45 minutes, I will have time to take it out and let it come to room temp before starting it on the smoker.

      1. re: dimsumgirl

        Yes, w/ yours being 2 1/2lbs, I would think it wouldn't take long at all to smoke.

        1. re: chloebell

          Thanks chloebell. I have it resting on the counter to bring it to room temp before I start smoking it. Don't have apple chips but we have lots of mesquite and hickory, some alderwood and cherry. I'm soaking the cherry chips right now.

          I used to be perfectly happy with charcoal grilled meat and then some Texans introduced me to smoked meats! We don't get much brisket out here in CA. In fact, it's kinda hard to find but we have plenty of tri-tip so I'm gonna give it a try! Thanks for your advice.

        2. re: dimsumgirl

          Not too many chips when you are smoking it though.

      2. With a 21/2 lb tri tip, my husband, the pitmaster, said that you will wind up with shoe leather if you smoke a tri tip that size. We had tri tip last night, and he grilled it. If you look on WFD #219 (towards the end of the thread posted by rjbh20), you will see a photo of the results -- medium rare, and perfectly juicy. He grilled it over a hot fire, and then had it rest in the warming oven while we had our first course.

        1 Reply
        1. grill, it's great seared on the outside and medium rare inside.

          1. They are all about that size :)

            I wouldn't smoke it; grilling it keeps it juicy & moist, you don't want to over cook it. Depending on how hot your fire is and if it's gas or charcoal, I recommend taking the temp after its seared to get it to t he degree of done ness you desire. Enjoy it!

            1. I grill mine over hardwood charcoal and toss in soaked smoking chips. Tri-tip cooks deceptively quickly.

              2 Replies
              1. re: suburban_mom

                Thanks to roxlet and the pitmaster. I wanted to try smoking but I'll wait until I get a bigger tri tip roast. I soaked cherry wood chips and we used those in the Weber kettle. Quick cook and got it to medium rare. Really tasty and good smoke flavor. Thanks all!

                1. re: dimsumgirl

                  Hope it works out. BTW -- soaking wood chips is a waste of time unless you're looking for steam. If not, the water evaporates in a minute or so and you're back to dry chips. If you're concerned about them catching fire are burning up too quickly, wrap in foil and punch a few holes -- this reduces the available oxygen and keeps the flames down.