Smoked Tri Tip Chili

5 reviews

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This Smoked Tri Tip Chili is the perfect, hearty chili when you have leftover tri tip to use up, or you’re simply looking for a tasty meal on a cool day. Packed full with all the good stuff, this chili will leave you full and satisfied.

Wooden ladle taking a scoop out of a red dutch oven full of smoked tri tip chili. Text overlay reads: Smoked Tri Tip Chili.

Tri Tip Chili

Stop the search for a smoky beef chili! You’ve found it! With a great tomato base as the flavor, and a kick of spice from the blend of chilis and peppers in the seasoning mix, this is the best chili ever. Not only that, but you’ll find the tri tip is tender as well with a robust beef flavor profile.

I like to go big with my chili – which means I pack it full of tons of good ingredients. Not only is it full of tender tri tip, but you’ll also find bell pepper, beans, onion, diced tomatoes, and lots of seasoning as well. Feel free to alter this chili to your liking, and add or substitute ingredients to fit your family’s preferences.

Four bowls full of ingredients for chili seasoning, including smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and seasonings.

Tri Tip Chili Seasoning

The seasoning in this chili makes for some tasty magic. Here’s what you’ll need to make this chili the perfect combo of savory with a bit of heat. (Full ingredient amounts can be found in the printable recipe card below):

  • Sea salt
  • Smoked paprika
  • Chili powder
  • Black pepper
  • Cumin
  • Mexican oregano
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Crushed red pepper

You can adjust the amount of cayenne and crushed red pepper to make your chili more or less spicy. 

Olive oil being drizzled over chopped veggies in a baking dish.

Leftover Tri Tip Chili Recipe

The instructions for this chili call for you to make your tri tip fresh before you add it to the chili, but feel free to use up any leftover tri tip in this recipe as well. Some of my favorite methods for making tri tip are linked at the bottom of this post, but I think you’ll be pleased if you make the tri tip from the recipe card for this particular chili.

The tri tip in this recipe is fall apart tender. And while many will scoff at cooking this tri tip to this texture, trust me when I say it makes all the difference in this chili!

Seasoned tri tip on a baking rack in a smoker.

Tips for Making Tri Tip Chili

Ready to dive in to this recipe? Take a quick pause and check out these tips first. They’ll help you make the most out of your meal.

  • Cook that steak! Tri Tip is typically cooked to medium rare, but it has amazing flavor and texture when cooked until it falls apart. The meat in this recipe becomes decadent and so rich!
  • Don’t forget toppings! I love a loaded chili. Top this batch with sour cream, cheese, chopped raw onions, avocados, candied jalapenos, and even crumbled up corn chips for some added texture and flavor.
  • Change up your method. If you have time to smoke the tri tip and veggies earlier in the day, you can add them to a crock pot or dutch oven with the rest of the ingredients and let it all simmer on low heat for hours until you’re ready to serve.

Wooden ladle dipping into a red pot of tri tip chili.

More Tri Tip Recipes

Tri tip is an amazingly flavorful and juicy steak that is just as delicious smoked as it is grilled. Eat it as-is, or enjoy it on a sandwich, and check out some of these popular tri tip recipes from Hey Grill Hey!

Tri Tip Chili Recipe

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Smoked Tri Tip Chili

By: Susie Bulloch (
5 from 5 votes
This Smoked Tri Tip Chili is the perfect, hearty chili when you have leftover tri tip to use up, or you’re simply looking for a tasty meal on a cool day. Packed full with all the good stuff, this chili will leave you full and satisfied.
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 25 minutes
Servings6 people


  • 1 2-3 pound tri tip roast
  • 1 large sweet onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 14-ounce can pinto beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 14-ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste

Chili Seasoning Spice Blend

  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


  • Preheat the smoker. Preheat your grill or smoker to 225 degrees F using your favorite hardwood. I recommend oak for this recipe.
  • Prep the veggies and steak. While your grill preheats, prepare your meat and vegetables for smoking. Lay a large piece of aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Evenly spread the onions, peppers, and garlic across the foil and drizzle with the olive oil. Set an elevated cooling rack over the vegetables and place the tri tip on the rack.
  • Make the seasoning. In a mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the chili seasoning spice blend. Sprinkle the rub on all sides of the tri tip and sprinkle any remaining rub over the vegetables on the sheet pan.
  • Smoke the meat and vegetables. Set the baking pan on the grate of your smoker, close the lid and smoke the veggies and meat at 225 degrees F for about two hours.
  • Make the chili base. When your tri tip and vegetables are almost done smoking, prepare the base of your chili. Pour the tomatoes, beef broth, and beans into a large pot. Remove the vegetables and meat from the grill. Carefully pour the smoked vegetables into the pot with the tomatoes and beans. Slice the tri tip into small pieces and stir that into the chili pot as well.
  • Finish cooking the chili. Finally, stir in the tomato paste. Cover the pot and simmer over very low heat for 2 more hours. This time simmering is crucial to a chili that is well balanced and tri tip that will melt in your mouth. Stir the pot regularly while simmering to prevent burning. You can also do this step in a crock pot on low heat.
  • Add toppings and serve immediately. Serve your finished chili with sour cream, avocados, candied jalapenos, and a sprinkle of your favorite cheese.


Calories: 632kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 62g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 147mg | Sodium: 496mg | Potassium: 1806mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1592IU | Vitamin C: 59mg | Calcium: 185mg | Iron: 9mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

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Recipe Rating

Reader Reviews

8 Reviews

  1. Jim Ingram says:

    Substituted tri tip with left over smoked brisket. The best chili I have ever had. Thank you for the recipe!

  2. Karen Marion says:

    I’ve made tri tip chili before with leftover and it was amazing. I’m going to test your recipe out. My tweek … no beans. I’m in Texas. LOL! Not to say it isn’t good in chili, but completion chili can’t have beens. I’ll let you know!

  3. Mitzie Going says:

    Mitzie: This turned out to be the absolute best Chili recipe we’ve ever had! I had to make some adjustments as I only had about 1 lb of leftover smoked tri-tip and I didn’t find this recipe until after we’d smoked the beef (without the vegetables) so . . . : I added 1 lb. of ground beef and I used lots of fresh – from – my – garden – tomatoes. Also I mixed all of the spices and sprinkled 1/2 over the beef as it was browning and about a 1/4 of the spices I sprinkled over the veggies as they were cooking in my Dutch Oven and then combined with the browned beef. Amazing results! Thank you!

  4. Pam says:

    Made this today with left over smoked tri tip. It was wonderful, served it cheese, onions and home made flour tortillas. Yummy

  5. Tom says:

    This chili was amazing. I made a few tweaks (extra garlic, some chipotle pepper powder, and added the tomato paste to the cooking veggies since I was using leftover tri tip). Delicious!

  6. Steve says:

    Great recipe. It was really good. I went a little heavy on the Cayenne, but I like a spicy chili.

  7. Heather says:

    So good!!!!

  8. Mike says:

    Made this today and it was amazing