Brisket Style Tri Tip {Easy Smoked Brisket Recipe!}

Brisket Style Tri Tip is, without a doubt, my favorite way of smoking a tri tip.  This recipe is incredibly simple and the end product tastes amazingly like a perfectly smoked brisket.

Keep reading and we will cover:

  • How to Season the Tri Tip
  • Two Step Smoking Process
  • Finishing the Tri Tip the Texas Crutch

Seriously folks, you really need to add this recipe to your bag of barbecue tricks!

Brisket Style Tri Tip

Season the Tri Tip Like a Brisket

I was working with a pretty big tri tip, about 2.75 pounds, and ended up using about three tablespoons of dry rub (recipe below).

I did not use a binder like mustard or Worcestershire sauce but it wouldn’t have been a bad idea.

The fat cap had already been removed from the tri tip I was using.  If your tri tip still has the fat cap attached you do NOT need to take it off as the fat layer is not that thick and will provide moisture and flavor during the cook.

two pound tri tip roast

Mix up the following dry rub or use your favorite brisket rub.

  • 3 tbls salt
  • 1 tbls black pepper
  • 1 tbls chili powder
  • 1 tbls brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp MSG

Apply a thorough coating of the rub to the tri tip and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before it goes on the smoker.  Alternatively, you could apply the rub the night before and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight.

Tri tip seasoned with brisket rub

Smoke the Tri Tip at Two Temperatures

I was cooking on my Z Grills pellet grill but this technique will work just fine on your Traeger or Pit Boss.

Turn on your pellet grill and set the temperature to 180F.  I really like the flavor of hickory with beef and, since that is what was already loaded into the hopper from my last cook (Smoked Hot Dog Burnt Ends), that is what I went with for this cook as well.

I placed the seasoned tri tip on the top grate along with a six inch smoke tube and water pan on the lower grate.

Seasoned tri tip on the smoker

Smoke the tri tip at 180F for two hours.  This step is all about loading up the meat with smoke flavor and laying down a beautiful smoke ring.

After the tri tip has smoked at 180F for two hours it will be at an internal temperature of around 120-125F.  If we were doing a Reverse Sear Tri Tip this would be the point at which we would pull it from the smoker and sear it in cast iron.

Instead of taking he tri tip off the smoker we are going to raise the temperature of the smoker to 275F and let it smoke for another two hours.  This step will set the bark and get us closer to a wrapping temperature.

Spritz the tri tip with water or apple juice as soon as you raise the temperature of the smoker and every 20 minutes afterwards.

Tri Tip Smoked at 275F

Finish the Tri Tip with the Texas Crutch

After the tri tip has smoked for two hours at 275F it will be at an internal temperature of around 160F which is typically when large cuts of meat hit “the stall”.

To push through the stall we are going to use the standard brisket technique of wrapping the meat in aluminum foil, aka, The Texas Crutch.

Place the tri tip onto a double layer of heavy duty foil and add some extra flavor layers.  For this cook I added two tablespoons or margarine and 1/2 cup of Head Country Hot and Spicy Barbecue Sauce.

Wrap the tri tip tightly in the foil and return to the smoker (or use your oven set at 27F) and let it cook for one more hour.

After an hour in the foil the tri tip should be at an internal temperature of around 200F and will be pretty tender.  Remove the foiled tri tip from the smoker and store in an insulated cooler (still wrapped) for two hours.  Do not skip the resting step as it is going to make the finished meat super tender!

Tri Tip in foil with bbq sauce

Slice and Serve the Brisket Style Tri Tip

After the smoked tri tip has rested for two hours carefully open the aluminum foil and pour the collected liquids into a bowl.

Cut the tri tip against the grain into 1/4 inch slices.

Either dip the slices into the collected liquids or arrange the slices on a platter and pour the juices over them and serve.  This tri tip was even more tender than the Sous Vide tri tip I made a while back and I didn’t think that was even possible!

I swear the tri tip tastes so similar to a brisket flat that most people would not be able to tell the difference in a blind taste test. If for some impossible reason you actually have any leftovers then they would be spectacular in a batch of tri tip chili.

Brisket Style Tri Tip

Brisket Style Tri Tip

Brisket Style Tri Tip

A tri tip is seasoned with a brisket rub, smoked in a two step process and finished off with the Texas Crutch.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
Total Time 7 hours 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 385 kcal


  • 2.5 lbs Tri Tip Roast
  • 2 tbsp Margarine
  • 1/2 cup Barbecue Sauce
  • Dry Rub
  • 3 tbsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp MSG


  • Combine the dry rub ingredients and mix well.
  • Apply the dry rub to the tri tip coating all side thoroughly (about 3 tbls)
  • Let the seasoned tri tip rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Smoke the tri tip for two hours at 180F.
  • Smoke the tri tip for two more hours at 275F.
  • Wrap the meat in heavy duty aluminum foil with the margarine and barbecue sauce.
  • Cook the wrapped meat for one hour at 275F.
  • Remove the wrapped meat from the smoker and allow it to rest in a cooler for 2 hours.
  • Remove the tri tip from the foil and reserve the liquids.
  • Slice the tri tip against the grain and serve with juices.
Keyword Brisket Style Tri Tip