Smoky Joe Coffee Rubbed Tri Tip

January 20, 2016

Coffee Rubbed Tri Tip is beefy goodness in all of its glory right here, people. I love beef. I have a few cuts that I favor above the others and tri tip is one of those no brainers for me. It is beautifully marbled and packed with flavor. Bonus points for being pretty easy to grill without overcooking. I think it’s a great starter cut for beginning grillers. And this particular Smoky Joe Coffee Rubbed Tri Tip is a great starter recipe for beginning pitmasters. The tri tip is slow smoked (I used my pellet grill) over indirect heat for 3 hours before being seared over screaming hot coals. It’s the best of both worlds, low and slow BBQ and hot and fast grilling.

Smoky Joe Rubbed Tri Tip

You get a great rub recipe, a good long smoke on some beef, and happy tummies at dinner. If you haven’t jumped into making your own rubs, now is the best time to start. I have been making rubs for a while now and this is our newest favorite. There are some pretty prominent flavors and I couldn’t figure out what to name it. I posted a pic on Instagram and asked everybody to weigh in and my favorite was the “Smoky Joe.” I thought it fit perfectly! The smokiness comes from smoked paprika and the coffee crystals are the Joe.

Smoky Joe Beef Rub

This isn’t the first ever coffee rub (coffee and beef are an amazing combo) but I’ve found that coffee grounds can get bitter when cooked over high temperatures. I knew I wanted to sear this tri tip for a beautiful dark bark, but I still wanted that coffee flavor. That’s where the not secret anymore ingredient comes into play. Instant coffee crystals! You get that amazing, rich coffee flavor without any bitterness from burned coffee grounds. Such an amazing pairing with the chili pepper, cayenne, and coriander in the rub. This rub is savory, earthy, and has a deep richness that melts into the tri tip. Like buttah. Hope you guys love this coffee rubbed tri tip like we do!

coffee rubbed tri tip

Smoky Joe Rubbed Tri Tip

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time : 5 mins
Cook Time : 3 hrs
Total Time : 3 hrs 5 mins
Servings : 3 people



  • 1 2-3 lb tri tip

Smoky Joe Beef Rub

  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee crystals
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole coriander (crushed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder


  • Combine all of the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl and set aside.
    various seasonings being mixed together in a mortar and pestle
  • Trim any excess fat off of the tri tip and liberally season with the dry rub.
    uncooked tri tip seasoned and resting on wood cutting board
  • Start your smoker on the lowest heat setting (mine runs about 175-180 on Smoke) and place the seasoned tri tip on the grill grates. Close the lid and smoke for 3 hours.
  • Take the tri tip off the grill and place a cast iron skillet on the grill grates. Turn the temperature up to the highest heat setting (at least 400 degrees) and allow the grill pan to preheat.
  • Place the smoked tri tip in the grill pan and sear on each side for 4-6 minutes. Use an internal thermometer to monitor the temperature of your tri tip. Pull the tri tip off the grill at 120 degrees for rare, 130 degrees for medium rare, 140 for medium.
  • Allow the tri tip to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing against the grain. Serve immediately.
    Tri Tip Steak Smoked with Smoky Joe Coffee Rub cooked to medium rare and sliced
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21 thoughts on “Smoky Joe Coffee Rubbed Tri Tip

  1. thanks very much for the recipes, just wondering what type of coffee , does it matter what type of instant coffee grounds (crystals) are used . and thankyou again .

    1. Hey Dan- you can use whatever brand of instant coffee you like. I’ve used the Folgers brand for this recipe, but I’m sure any difference in brand would have little effect on the final flavor.

  2. Have you ever tried on Brisket? Doing a brisket on my pellet grill tomorrow and considered running brisket tonight and leaving in refrigerator overnight. Thoughts?

    1. If you want to do it in the oven, I would try using the same temperature recommendations in the recipe. Then sear in a hot skillet on the stovetop for a nice crust on the outside.

  3. Would this rub be appropriate to put on the night before and let set in fridge? Didn’t know if the coffe component or other ingredients would not be good for overnight. I typically do this with any rub before smoking or grilling

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