Tri Tip Burnt Ends {Crunchy, Spicy, and Delicious in Four Hours}

In our latest quest to create some Extraordinary BBQ we made up a tasty batch of Tri Tip Burnt Ends!  This recipe is very easy to follow and will get a few pounds of burnt ends on you table in just about four hours.

Burnt ends made from a tri tip are not as good as those made from a brisket point but they are good enough that I will be making another batch soon!

Let’s jump in and start making some great barbecue 🙂

Tri Tip Burnt Ends

Cut and Season the Tri Tip

I started with a 2 pound tri tip roast and cut it into cubes that were about an inch thick. While it is usually important to slice a tri tip against the grain the fact that it got cut into cubes means that anyway you go should turn out fine.

You will get a few smaller pieces around the edges of the roast but don’t worry, they will turn out tasty and crunchy 😉

I tried to keep the original shape of the tri tip while I was cutting the meat but that was just to give you an idea of how big the cubes of meat were.

Tri Tip Cut into Cubes

One the meat had been cut into cubes it was time to season them heavily with a dry rub.  I went with the following:

  • 3 tbls Salt
  • 1 tbls Black Pepper
  • 1 tbls Sugar
  • 1 tbls Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp MSG

I worked in batches by adding 1 tablespoon of rub at a time, mixing well and allowing the rub to penetrate the meat for 15 minutes before adding more rub.

All told I used a little over three tablespoons of rub for the two pounds of meat.

Let the meat rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes after the last batch of rub has been added.

Cubes of Seasoned Tri Tip

Smoke the Tri Tip to Make Burnt Ends

I turned on my Z Grills pellet grill and set the temperature to 180F burning hickory pellets.  I placed a six inch smoke tube filled with smoldering hickory pellets on the bottom grate and the cubes of seasoned tri tip on the top grate.

I wanted to get a deep smoke flavor into the meat cubes so I let them smoke at 180F and the smoke tube for two hours.

Cubes of Tri Tip on the Smoker

After two hours in heavy smoke I raised the temperature of the grill to 250F to help set the rub and speed up the cook.

After an hour at 250F the tri tip burnt ends were looking fabulous!  The sugar in the rub was just starting to caramelize, the smaller bits had taken on a little crunch and the meat was ready for a bath in bbq sauce!

Tri Tip Smoked for Three Hours

Simmer the Burnt Ends in Barbecue Sauce

The meat got transferred to a foil pan and was coated with two cups of bbq sauce.  Beef does extremely well with a sauce that is spicy with some sweetness so I went with the Apple Habanero bbq sauce from Head Country but you can use whatever sauce that floats you boat.

I tossed the burnt ends in the sauce to make sure they were well coated.  The pan was placed back on the smoker and the burnt ends were allowed to simmer in the sauce, uncovered, for one hour at 250F.

Tri Tip Burnt Ends in BBQ Sauce

After the burnt ends had simmered in the sauce for an hour they came off the smoker and were ready to eat!

The tri tip burnt ends were not as succulent as traditionally burnt ends made from a brisket point but that is expected since tri tip is a much leaner cut of meat.  Despite not being as good as burnt ends made from a brisket these morsels were slightly crunchy, smoky, salty and beefy.  I did like these more than burnt ends made from Spam and they were also much better than Poor Man’s Burnt Ends made from a chuck roast.

All told I will call this recipe a great success and will be making it again!

Tri Tip Burnt Ends

Tri Tip Burnt Ends

Tri Tip Burnt Ends

A two pound tri tip roast is cubed, seasoned and smoked to make a delicious batch of burnt ends.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 45 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Calories 395 kcal


  • 2 lbs Tri Tip Roast
  • 2 cups Barbecue Sauce
  • Dry Rub Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp MSG


  • Combine dry rub ingredients and mix well.
  • Cut tri tip into one inch cubes.
  • Season the tri tip cubes with three tablespoons of the dry rub, mixing well to coat.
  • Smoke the seasoned meat cubes at 180F for two hours.
  • Raise the temperature of the smoker to 150F and smoke for one more hour.
  • Transfer the burnt ends to a foil pan and toss with barbecue sauce.
  • Return the pan to the smoker and cook for one more hour at 250F.
  • Remove the pan from the smoker and serve.
Keyword Tri Tip Burnt Ends