Grilled Tri-Tip Roast with Smoked Chile Steak Rub

The flavor and texture of Tri-Tip Roast is more like steak than a traditional Sunday roast so it is best cooked medium-rare. The uneven thickness—thicker in the middle, thinner at the tapered ends—means it will be more done on the ends than in the middle.

To help the roast cook more evenly, position the thicker part toward the coals with the thinner ends pointing away once it is moved to the indirect heat side to finish cooking.

Grilled Tri-Tip Roast with Smoke Chile Steak Rub

A dry mixture of salt, pepper, dried herbs, or spices used to add flavor and texture—the seasoning works to form a crust.

Salt is the only thing that truly penetrates the meat beyond the surface.

Salt needs 40 minutes to penetrate and flavor the meat, so any rubs with salt should be allowed to rest on the meat for at least 40 minutes (up to 24 hours) before grilling. Otherwise, apply just before placing on the grill.

Smoke Chile Steak Rub on Tri-Tip Roast

For tips for selecting a tri-tip roast and suggested finishing sauces see our detailed blog post here.

Grilled Tri-Tip Roast Recipe

2-3 lb Tri-Tip Roast
2-3 tablespoons Smoked Chile Steak Rub
Olive oil, if roast is lean
Use 1 tablespoon Smoked Chile Steak Rub per pound of meat and rub all over the surface of the roast. Allow the tri-tip to sit with rub on it for at least 40 minutes before grilling.
For Propane Grills:
  1. When ready to grill, heat a gas grill on high until over 400 degrees (10-15 minutes).

  2. Once hot (425°F or higher), clean grates with a wire brush.
  3. Create two zones of heat by turning one of the burners off on one side while keeping the others on med-high.
For Charcoal Grills:
  1. Light wood briquettes in a charcoal chimney starter and allow to burn until 90% of the coals are glowing and hot (15 minutes).

  2. Dump hot coals into one side of the grill, leaving the other side open.
  3. Place the grill grate and clean with a wire brush.
Grilling the Tri-Tip:
  1. Start tri-tip fat side up and sear the meat directly over the hot side of the grill for 5-7 minutes. Turn and sear the other side for 5-7 minutes. Move the meat to the cooler side, over indirect heat, and continue to cook for about 15 minutes (turn as needed) until the thickest part is medium rare (130-135ºF). 

    TIP: To help the roast cook more evenly, position the thicker part toward the coals with the thinner ends pointing away once it is moved to finish cooking on the indirect heat side.

  2. The thickness of the roast and desired doneness will dictate the remaining cooking time.
  3. Once the roast reaches the desired temperature, remove from the grill and transfer to a cutting board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Carve by slicing against or across the grain -- this is especially important to ensure a tender texture when serving the finished roast.
  • Some tri-tip roasts are sold untrimmed which means there can be a fairly thick layer of fat on one side. If that is the case, trim this layer to a little less than 1/4" thick.
  • If the tri-tip roast has been trimmed and little fat is present on the outside, drizzle with olive oil on each side during the cooking process to help keep the meat from drying out.

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