Next to brisket, tri-tip is the perfect meat to smoke. Smoked tri-tip is juicy and super flavorful when it is cooked properly.
However, to get perfectly moist and juicy tri-tip, you must know what temperature to smoke it. You must also know how long to smoke tri-tip at this temperature.
Smoking tri-tip at 200°F will create moist and juicy meat in 2-6 hours.
- What Is Tri Tip?
- Can You Smoke Tri-tip at 200?
- What’s the Best Wood for Smoking Tri-tip?
- Can You Overcook Tri-tip?
- Can You Over Smoke Tri-tip?
- How Long to Smoke Tri Tip at 200
- How to Smoke Tri Tip at 200
- Final Thoughts
What Is Tri Tip?
Before we get to the smoking time of tri-tip, we must discuss what tri-tip is. A tri-tip is a triangle-shaped cut of beef. This is why it is called tri-tip.
The tri-tip is cut from the bottom part of the sirloin. The average tri-tip weighs approximately 2-3 pounds. However, an untrimmed tri-tip can weigh 5 pounds due to the fat cap and silver skin.
Can You Smoke Tri-tip at 200?
Yes, you can smoke tri-tip at 200°F. However, some people believe 200°F is too low for smoking tri-tip. These people have some concerns about food safety when smoking meta at 200°F.
The tri-tip must rise above the temperature danger zone (40°F and 140°F) within 4 hours. The temperature danger zone is where bacteria multiply rapidly.
Nevertheless, if you maintain a stable temperature of 200°F, the tri-tip will get out of the temperature danger zone within 4 hours.
What’s the Best Wood for Smoking Tri-tip?
Unfortunately, use any wood to smoke tri-tip. You must choose your woods carefully. Some woods can overpower the flavor of the tri-tip.
Hickory is the popular choice for smoking tri-tip. However, red oak, mesquite, apple, maple, and pecan also work well with tri-tip.
Can You Overcook Tri-tip?
Tri-tip is no different than any other cut of beef. So, yes, you can overcook tri-tip.
It usually takes a few hours to smoke tri-tip. However, if you leave it in the smoker too long, it will start to dry out. Therefore, you will end up with tough, chewy tri-tip.
Can You Over Smoke Tri-tip?
Most people believe that there’s no such thing as too much smoke. However, you can expose the tri-tip to too much smoke.
When your smoker starts producing smoke, it will be dense and heavy. Most experts call this dirty smoke. Dirty smoke can give the tri-tip an unpleasant, overly smoky flavor.
The tri-tip can also over-smoke if you leave it in the smoker too long. When tri-tip is smoked too long, a substance called creosote forms. Creosote is a dense, oily substance that covers the meat giving the tri-tip a bitter flavor.
This is why you must time the tri-tip’s smoking time right.
How Long to Smoke Tri Tip at 200
Generally speaking, it takes about 1-2 hours to smoke tri-tip per pound. However, it’s best to use a meat thermometer instead of the cooking time to tell if meat is done.
Do not depend on the built-in thermometer on the smoker’s dome or door to gauge the internal temperature of the tri-tip. These thermometers measure the smoker’s ambient temperature, not the temperature of the tri-tip.
Purchase a separate smoker thermometer. You can leave the thermometer in the meat and monitor the temperature from your house if you are using a Bluetooth or wireless smoker thermometer.
Depending on your desired doneness, you can remove the meat when its temperature reaches the intended temperature.
For a rare tri-tip, smoke it to 130°F. For medium-rare tri-tip, cook the tri-tip to 135°F.
A medium tri-tip will have a temperature of 145°F, and a medium well tri-tip will have a temperature of 150°F. A well-done tri-tip has a temperature of 160°F.
I recommend cooking tri-tip to medium-rare. However, you can cook it to any temperature you desire.
You can also remove the tri-tip from the smoker 5-10 degrees before it reaches your desired temperature. The tri-tip has to rest for at least 20 minutes before you slice it. If you do not let it rest, the juices will spill out of the meat, making it tough and dry.
The meat’s temperature will continue to rise as it rests. Removing the tri-tip a few degrees before it reaches it’s intended prevents the tri-tip from overcooking.
How Long to Smoke a 1.5 Pound Tri Tip at 200
Remember, smoking tri-tip takes about one to two hours per pound. Therefore, a 1.5-pound tri-tip will take 1.5-3 hours to cook. However, check the tri-tip’s temperature after an hour to monitor its progress.
How Long to Smoke a 2 Pound Tri Tip at 200
Smoking a 2-pound tri-tip takes about 2-4 hours. However, check the tri-tip’s temperature after 2 hours to ensure it does not overcook.
How Long to Smoke a 3 Pound Tri Tip at 200
It takes about 3-6 hours to cook tri-tip at 200°F. However, check the tri-tip after 3 hours to prevent it from overcooking.
How to Smoke Tri Tip at 200
It does not matter whether you use an electric or offset smoker; the process for smoking the tri-tip is the same.
Set up your smoker and preheat it to 225°F. Trim your tri-tip using a sharp knife. Remove all the silver skin and pockets of fat from the tri-tip.
Some tri-tips can have a dense, thick fat cap on the bottom of the meat. This fat will not melt as the meat cooks, so you must trim it away.
Next, coat the tri-tip with oil to help the seasoning stick to the meat. You can season the tri-tip generously with salt and pepper. Alternatively, you can use your favorite BBQ rub to season the tri-tip.
Place the tri-tip into the smoker and smoke it for 2-6 hours, depending on its size, or until it reaches your desired temperature.
Remove the tri-tip from the smoker and place it onto a plate. Wrap the tri-tip loosely with foil and let it rest for 20 minutes.
Slice the tri-tip against the grain using a sharp knife. Cut it into thin slices for the best results. Next, serve the tri-tip.
Tri-tip is one of the best meats to smoke. Now that you know how long to smoke it at 225°F, you can expect juicy moist meat every time you smoke this beautiful cut.
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.