For a perfect medium-rare on a pellet grill, the internal temperature of the tri-tip has to reach 130 degrees Fahrenheit. The size of the tri-tip and desired doneness can influence cooking time but most tri-tips are done in 1 and 1/2 hours.
Tri-tip roast is one of the most popular cuts of beef in California, where it was discovered. It’s a particularly popular dish amongst people in Santa Maria, which has one of the most vibrant barbecue cultures on the west coast.
How Long Does it Take to Smoke Tri-tip on a Pellet Grill?
The amount of time required to smoke a tri-tip depends on the size of the steak, the temperature settings of your grill, and the pellets you use.
If we’re talking about a tri-tip steak cooked over hickory pellets on an average smoker/grill set at about 225 degrees Fahrenheit (107 degrees Celsius) with the lid on, then plan on about 30 minutes per pound of tri-tip.
For a standard-sized tri-tip, you’ll need a total time of about 1 to 1 and a 1/2 hours to reach the ideal temperature for perfect medium-rare. You’re looking for an internal meat temperature of 130-135 degrees F.
Don’t forget that timing can vary considerably from one person’s smoker to another, so don’t be surprised if yours takes a little bit longer or shorter.
Why Use a Pellet Grill for Tri-Tip?
It can be hard to get an evenly cooked tri-tip, but pellet grills make it easy! The pellets burn at consistent temperatures, so you can estimate how long it will take for your steak to reach its ideal doneness level.
Tri-tip is a tough cut of beef that requires a longer cooking time than most other cuts of beef, and pellet grills are designed for this so your tri-tip cooks perfectly every time.
Pellet grills use pellets made from compressed sawdust, which give off a lot more smoke than traditional charcoal or briquettes; the smoke flavor penetrates deep into the meat to get that perfectly cured taste even with less visible smoke.
Temperature to Cook Tri-tip on a Pellet Grill
It’s best to cook your tri-tip at 225°F until it reaches an internal temperature of 130°F (for medium-rare). The best way to check the temperature is to place a thermometer in the center of your meat, where the meat is thickest.
If you prefer steak at another temperature, here are the internal temperatures required:
|How You Like Your Meat||Ideal Temperature Range|
Best Wood Pellets for Pellet Grill Tri-Tip
Pellets are made from compressed sawdust, and you can use them for cooking a wide variety of foods. If you’re new to using pellets in your grill, you may wonder what kind of flavor they add to your meat.
Hickory is a perfect choice for grilling because it’s a strong wood that can withstand high temperatures.
Hickory pellets are known for their bold flavor and distinctive aroma. They’re great for smoking meats like tri-tips, pork ribs, or brisket. You’ll get that classic “pit barbecue” hearty flavor that you can’t beat.
This is the most widely used type of pellet in the realm of grilling, and it can be combined with a different kind of pellet to make it milder.
Oat pellets are made from oats (surprise), making them much more delicate than other pellets. They have a nutty taste that goes well with lighter foods like poultry or fish.
Oat pellets imbibe a unique flavor to any meat. The resulting smoke is milder than other types of wood pellets and is best suited when you want something different from the traditional hickory or mesquite flavors.
Cherry pellets are made from cherries that give them their unique flavor. The smoke produced by cherry pellets is sweet and fruity, and it pairs wonderfully with more robust meats. Their taste is excellent for adding sweetness to your dishes while grilling.
Pecan pellets are made from pecans and other nuts like almonds, contributing to their nutty flavor profile.
They also have a slightly spicy and sweet vanilla tinge that makes them ideal for poultry dishes like turkey burgers or grilled chicken breasts. All these elements combine to make a deep and complex flavor that won’t overpower rich red meat.
Mesquite pellets are made from mesquite wood chips, and they are even stronger than hickory pellets. This is the way to go if you want something hardcore for your red meat – mesquites have a bold, smoky flavor that some people love, but others might find it overpowering.
Popular Pellet Grill Cooking Methods for Tri-Tip
Using the Reverse Sear Method
If you’re looking for a different way to cook your tri-tip steak, consider using the reverse sear method. This method involves cooking your steak at a low temperature and then searing it at a high temperature (typically in a cast iron skillet) to finish it off.
The benefit of this method is that it gives a nice outer crust while still being tender and juicy on the inside. So it’s still a medium-rare piece of heaven when it’s done cooking.
The Popular “225 and Let it Ride” Method
The famous “225 and let it ride” method is one of the most effective ways to cook tri-tip steak on a pellet grill. The process involves cooking the meat at a low temperature for an extended period of time.
This allows the meat to cook slowly and develop flavor. It also helps the connective tissues in the meat to break down, making it even more tender and juicy. This method can take up to 18 hours of cooking time.
To utilize this method, cook your steak at 225°F until it reaches an internal temperature of 125°F for medium-rare or 130°F for medium, before searing them on either side to create that delicious crusty texture.
What is the Difference between Bottom Sirloin and Tri-tip Steak?
The bottom sirloin and tri-tip steak are different ends of the same portion of the steer.
The tri-tip steak comes from the round portion of the steer (near the flank), and it tends to have a decent amount of marbling. One defining feature between them is that the tri-tip steak has a triangular shape.
The bottom sirloin tends to be the more inexpensive cut of beef – it was even called the “poor man’s brisket.” For those looking to barbecue on a budget, this makes it ideal as an alternative to tri-tip.
Just keep in mind that this meat is tougher than tri-tip and has a chewy consistency. This is why a marinade and slow cooking method are perfect for bottom sirloin.