Remove the fat cap along with any excess hard fat and silver skin from a tri tip roast. Prime roasts are ideal due to their increased marbling.
We use a blend of salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic and onion, brown sugar, and coffee. But any brisket rub gets the job done. No binders or dry brining are necessary with this recipe.
Smoking at 250ºF for 3-4 hours allows a great bark to develop while the tri tip reaches an internal temperature of 160ºF to 170ºF before wrapping to finish the cook.
Wrapping the tri tip speeds up the remaining cook, taking the tri tip to an internal temperature of 203ºF in 90-120 minutes at 250ºF. Optional: Wrapping with beef tallow or butter adds moisture.
Foil is easier to work with, but butcher paper allows the tri tip to take on extra smoke and creates a crunchier bark. You can unwrap and smoke an additional 5-10 minutes at the end of the cook to remove excess moisture on the bark.
Tenting with foil and letting the meat rest for 30 minutes before slicing ensures all the juices stay in the meat.
Slicing "against the grain" is a must for tender slices of tri tip. The pattern of muscle fibers (or grain) in tri tip require slicing in two different directions.
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