Mastering the Art of Tri Tip on Pellet Grill

Written by: Najma A.



Time to read 6 min


Cooking a tri tip on pellet grill is a culinary adventure that combines the delicious flavors of smoke and fire with the convenience of modern technology. Tri-tip, a triangular cut of beef from the bottom sirloin, is known for its rich marbling and bold flavor. When cooked on a pellet grill, it has a unique smoky taste and a perfectly tender texture. In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to master the art of cooking tri-tip on a pellet grill, from selecting the right meat to achieving that mouthwatering sear. Get ready to elevate your grilling game and impress your family and friends with this delectable dish.

Choosing the Right Tri-Tip

The journey to a perfect tri-tip begins with selecting the proper cut of meat. Here are some tips to help you make an informed choice:

  1. Size Matters: Tri-tip typically ranges in weight from 1.5 to 3 pounds. The size you choose depends on your crowd and cooking preferences. A more giant roast will yield more servings but may require more time on the grill.
  2. Marbling: Look for tri-tip with good marbling – those fine streaks of fat running through the meat. Marbling enhances the flavor and juiciness of the roast.
  3. Thickness: A consistent thickness is essential for even cooking. Avoid tri-tip cuts that are overly tapered or uneven.
  4. Trimming: While some fat is desirable for flavor and juiciness, trim excess fat from the surface to prevent flare-ups during grilling.

Preparing Your Tri-Tip

Once you have your tri-tip, it's time to prepare it for the grill. Follow these steps:

  1. Seasoning: Tri-tip pairs beautifully with a simple yet flavorful rub. Create your own by mixing kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Rub the mixture generously onto all sides of the meat. Let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.
  2. Brining (Optional): Some grillmasters prefer to brine their tri-tip for added moisture and flavor. A basic brine includes water, salt, sugar, and optional aromatics like herbs and garlic. Submerge the roast in the brine for several hours or overnight before grilling.
  3. Pellet Selection: Choose the suitable wood pellets for your grill. For tri-tip, fruitwood pellets like apple or cherry can impart a mild, sweet smokiness that complements the beef's flavor. Mesquite and hickory pellets are bolder options for a more pungent, smoky taste.
Choosing Right Tri Tip

Setting Up Your Tri Tip on Pellet Grill

Setting up your tri tip on a pellet grill is crucial in ensuring a delicious and perfectly cooked meal. Follow these essential steps to get started:


Begin by choosing a high-quality tri-tip roast. Look for one with good marbling, a consistent thickness, and minimal excess fat. Before grilling, season the meat generously with your preferred rub or marinade. Allow it to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Pellet Selection:

Select the suitable wood pellets for your pellet grill. The type of wood pellets you choose will influence the flavor of your tri-tip. Popular options for tri-tip include fruitwood pellets like apple or cherry for a mild, sweet smokiness or bolder choices like mesquite and hickory for a stronger smoky taste.


Turn on your pellet grill and set it to the desired temperature. For tri-tip, a low and slow approach is recommended. Preheat the grill to around 225°F (107°C). This temperature allows the meat to absorb the smoky flavor gradually.

Drip Pan Placement:

Place a drip pan or aluminum foil tray under the grill grates. This serves two purposes: it catches drippings to prevent flare-ups and simplifies cleanup later.

Indirect Cooking:

For tri-tip, you'll use the indirect cooking method. Position the meat on the grill grates opposite the fire pot or heat source. This setup ensures the meat doesn't cook directly over the flames, allowing for even and controlled cooking.

Pellet Hopper:

Ensure that your pellet hopper is filled with an ample supply of wood pellets. This ensures that the grill maintains a consistent temperature throughout the cooking process.

  1. With these steps completed, your pellet grill is set up and ready to go. Place the seasoned tri-tip on the grill grates with the fat cap facing up. Close the grill's lid and let it smoke for approximately 45 minutes to an hour or until the meat's internal temperature reaches 120°F (49°C). A digital meat thermometer is a handy tool to monitor the temperature accurately.
  2. Once the tri-tip has reached this temperature, increase the grill's heat to 400°F (204°C) to begin the searing phase. Open the lid and move the roast directly over the heat source. Sear each side for 2-3 minutes or until you achieve a beautiful caramelized crust.
  3. After searing, remove the tri-tip from the grill and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a tender and flavorful roast.
  4. Finally, slice your perfectly grilled tri-tip against the grain into thin slices for maximum tenderness and flavor. Now, you're ready to serve your eager guests your deliciously smoked and seared tri-tip. Enjoy your culinary masterpiece!
Setting Tri Tip on Pellet Grill

Grilling Your Tri Tip on Pellet Grill

Grilling your tri tip on pellet grill is where the magic happens, transforming this cut of beef into a tender, smoky masterpiece. Here's how to grill it to perfection and how long to cook tri tip on pellet grill:

  1. Initial Smoke: With your pellet grill preheated to 225°F (107°C) and the tri-tip seasoned, it's time to start cooking. Place the meat on the grill grates with the fat cap facing up. This position allows the fat to render and baste the meat as it cooks. Close the lid and let the tri-tip smoke for about 45 minutes to an hour. The goal here is to infuse that delicious smoky flavor into the meat.
  2. Temperature Monitoring: While smoking tri tip on pellet grill, use a digital meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature. You're aiming for an internal temperature of 120°F (49°C). Remember that the meat will continue to cook during the searing phase, so this initial temperature is lower than the final target.
  3. Increase the Heat: Once the tri-tip reaches 120°F (49°C), it's time to crank up the heat. Increase the grill's temperature to 400°F (204°C) to begin searing. Searing creates a flavorful crust on the outside of the meat while maintaining its juiciness.
  4. Sear the Tri-Tip: Open the grill lid and move the roast directly over the heat source. Sear each side for about 2-3 minutes or until it develops a beautiful caramelized crust. Stay away during this phase; keep a close eye on the meat to prevent overcooking.
  5. Resting: After achieving the desired sear, remove the tri-tip from the grill and let it rest on a cutting board or platter for 10-15 minutes. Resting allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring a juicy and tender result when you slice into it.
  6. Slicing: When it's time to serve, locate the grain of the tri-tip. This cut has a unique grain pattern that runs in two different directions. To maximize tenderness, slice against the grain. Aim for thin slices, which will be more tender and flavorful.
  7. Serve: Arrange your beautifully grilled tri-tip on a platter and serve it to your eager guests. It pairs wonderfully with various side dishes, such as grilled vegetables, baked potatoes, or a fresh salad.

Following these steps, you'll achieve a perfectly grilled tri-tip bursting with smoky flavor and tender juiciness. Slow smoking and high-heat searing on a pellet grill create a mouthwatering dish that will impress your family and friends. Enjoy the delicious fruits of your grilling labor!

Grilling Tri Tip on Pellet Grill

About One Stop Halal

Welcome to the Home of the Halal  Beef. We carry various beef cuts that are hard to find elsewhere. We deliver to your doorstep anywhere in the United States within 1-2 business days.


Cooking tri tip on pellet grill is a rewarding experience that yields a mouthwatering dish bursting with smoky flavors and tender juiciness. By choosing the right cut of meat, seasoning it to perfection, and following the grilling steps outlined in this guide, you'll be well on your way to becoming a tri-tip grilling expert. Whether serving a small family dinner or hosting a backyard barbecue, your guests will surely be impressed by your mastery of this California classic. So fire up that pellet grill, embrace the art of slow smoking, and savor every bite of your perfectly grilled tri-tip.

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