All About Food · Beef · Recipes

Hickory Smoked Tri-Tip with a Sweet and Spicy Homemade Rub

One afternoon there was a knock at the door and it was the UPS guy.  He had this huge box on his dolly, told me it weighed about 100 pounds and asked where I wanted it.  I had him put it in the garage and waited for the Husband to get home from work.  Turns out my mother-in-law bought us a smoker.  We had always admired hers and have been talking about learning to smoke foods and then viola!  We now have one!  

The Husband and I do not have too much prior experience with smoking food but we have plenty of experience eating it, ha ha!  Assemble the smoker-check!  Get a thermometer -check!  Wait for the Husband to have a day off-check!  This morning I went to the grocery store and got a 3 1/2 pound piece of tri-tip and some seasonings to make a rub.  Below is our (definitely a joint effort) recipe for smoked tri-tip with a sweet and spicy rub.

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What you will need:

3 – 4 pound tri-tip, fat trimmed

Charcoal

Hickory wood chips, soaked

2 T vegetable oil

(for the rub)

2 T onion powder

2 T garlic powder

1 T sea salt

2 T cumin

2 T paprika

2 T white pepper powder

3 – 4 T brown sugar

1 T cayenne pepper

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What you will do:

1.  Light charcoal and when coals are white add a couple pieces of the soaked wood chips in your smoker.  You are looking for a temperature of 225-250 degrees F.  

2.  Meanwhile, prepare the ingredients for the rub and set aside.  Trim any excess fat from the tri-tip and rub with the vegetable oil.  Apply the rub and pat into the meat on both sides.  Let the tri-tip sit at room temperature while your smoker is coming up to temp.  

3.  When smoker is 225-250 degrees F, add the tri-tip and smoke for 2-3 hours.  Adjust airflow in smoker to maintain correct temperature.  When tri tip has reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees F, remove and let rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing in.

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TIP:  Just as the tri-tip is done, we placed over the hot coals and wood chips.  This gave a nice sear and also enriched the flavors of the rub.  

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TIP:  The best thermometer is a dual thermometer.  The one we used had a meat probe and also a separate probe for the internal temperature of the smoker.  It had a wireless unit that would monitor the temperatures from the living room.  This made it easy so we didn’t have to keep going in and out to monitor our temperatures.  The most challenging part to smoking food is maintaining a good temperature for your smoker.  Too hot your meat cooks too fast, too cold your meat doesn’t cook fast enough…Sort of like goldilocks and the three bears…you want it just right!

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I have always heard people talk about a smoke ring and I think we achieved that.  This tri-tip turned out better than we could have imagined, especially for our first time smoking.  We can’t wait to smoke something else.  I love learning new techniques for cooking and I can now add smoking foods to my repertoire.  It definitely will take some time to master but not difficult at all.  I know my recipes usually have an Asian flare so the flare for this one? A Korean girl made the rub??  That works, right?  Ha ha!  Be on the look out for many more smoked food recipes!

Cheers and happy eating!

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4 thoughts on “Hickory Smoked Tri-Tip with a Sweet and Spicy Homemade Rub

    1. Thank you Fat In Manhattan! She is cute and she knows it, hahaha! My rub worked great for the smoker but would work baking or indoor/outdoor grilling too! Thanks for your comment and cheers and happy eating! ~Fay

  1. Smokers are common in back yards around here, with many that are homemade, and so big you can walk into them. (smoking salmon) I tried my hand at smoking ribs in my BBQ last year, it was a fail. (too hot and burnt them) This recipe looks delish!

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