Tri-tip smoked in a Pit Barrel Cooker

When I lived in Paso Robles, CA Santa Maria style tri-tip with beans with pico de Gallo salsa was a regular meal. But being me I prefer smoked tri-tip. On a recent trip to Costco, they had this great looking prime tri-tip so I decided that was what is for lunch today.

One drawback to smoking over the reverse sear method is you do not get that great bark. But smoking gives a great flavor and is moist all the way thru.

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Raw seasoned tri tip on butcher paper

Two or three hours before you want to cook you should take the tri-tip out of the refrigerator and prepare it. Remove any excess fat and all silver skin.

If leaving the meat on the counter at room temp freaks you out season it and put it back in the fridge. But letting it warm up will ensure more even cooking.

As to seasoning keep it simple. I mix equal parts coarse salt, cracked black pepper, and dried garlic that is in big chunks. To the outside of the meat, I rub on some olive oil. The olive oil helps the seasoning stick to the meat but you can leave it off. Give the meat a good coating of the seasoning mix and it’s ready to rest.

Charcoal with fire in a charcoal chimney.

While the meat is warming up, light some charcoal and get the grill ready.

Raw, seasoned tri tip on a grill with a thermometer

With the Pit Barrel Cooker, you can definitely hang your roast but I lay mine on the grill grates. I use a Wireless Thermometer that has two probes. One gets inserted into the thickest part of the roast and the other monitor’s barrel temperature. But you do want to cook your meat to temperature and not by time.

Half cooked tri tip on a grill with a thermometer

On today’s cook, the barrel temperature ran from 275F to 305F. After the meat hit 120F I turned the roast over. Cook time was just under one hour. I was expecting it to take longer but all is good.

For today’s cook, I cooked the tri-tip until an internal temperature was 131F then I pulled the meat off and let it rest.

Cooked asparagus on a grill

While the meat was resting I put some asparagus on the cooker. Seasoned very simply with olive oil and salt. Very similar to how I cooked the bok choi in the last recipe.

Cooked trip tip that has been sliced. The tri tip is medium rare.

This is what I was treated with when I cut into the tri-tip after it had time to rest.

The perfect side dish for this would be creamy cauliflower potato salad.

Cooked tri tip on a grill, this is a pin for pinterest

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Cooked trip tip that has been sliced. The tri tip is medium rare.

Tri-tip smoked on a Pit Barrel Cooker

Easy tri tip cooked on the Pit Barrel Cooker
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American, keto
Keyword: bbq, smoked, tri tip
Servings: 4
Calories: 367kcal
Author: James Strange


  • 2 Pounds Tri-tip
  • 1 teaspoon Olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black pepper Course gound
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried garlic I used minced garlic


  • To make the spice mixture combine salt, black pepper, and dried garlic.
  • Add one teaspoon of olive oil to the tri-tip and rub to evenly coat the meat. Add your spice mix ensuring that you get it on all sides. Let the roast warm up at room temperature.
  • Light your charcoal and preheat the smoker
  • Place your tri-tip on the smoker and close the lid. Cook until your desired temperature has been achived.
  • Remove the tri-tip and let it rest. After it has rested slice across the grain.


Calories: 367kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 147mg | Sodium: 411mg | Potassium: 736mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @james_strange_eats or tag #james_strange_eats
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