Tri Tip Cooked Like a Brisket

18 reviews

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Tri Tip Cooked Like a Brisket is a unique and flavorful way to prepare tri tip. While unconventional, it’s a fun technique to try at least once. Oh, and the results are pretty darn delicious too!

sliced tri tip cooked like a brisket on peach butcher paper surrounded by pickles, jalapenos, and onions.

Can You Cook Tri Tip Like a Brisket?

Believe it or not, you can cook tri tip just like you would a brisket. I’ve gotta give kudos to the Facebook group Camp Chef Smoker Smokers who presented this idea. It sounded so unique and intriguing, I just had to try it out for myself!

The key to being able to smoke a tri tip like a brisket (low and slow so you get fall-apart meat goodness) is to begin with a Prime cut tri tip. You need enough fat in your steak because tri tip is leaner than a brisket. Without enough fat in your tri tip, it can dry out on the smoker and your final results will be less than ideal.

If you happen to come across a tri tip with a fat cap on top, this is the holy grail of tri tips to smoke like a brisket. Be sure to purchase that one, and prepare yourself for what will likely be the best tri tip-brisket marriage ever.

But won’t a tri tip dry out if it’s on the smoker for this long?

As long as you have enough fat in your tri tip and you wrap it well during the smoking process, your tri tip-brisket should turn out juicy and delicious!

seasoned tri tip on a metal baking sheet

Cooking a Tri Tip Brisket Style

Cooking a tri tip brisket-style feels extremely similar to smoking a brisket. We just need to make a few changes to account for the different type of meat used. If you’re unsure of trying this out, don’t be! My youngest declared this the best brisket steak he’d ever had. It has the flavor profile of a steak with the tenderness and smokiness of a brisket. What more could you want?!

The added bonus of cooking a tri tip brisket-style? You can start this steak on the smoker in the morning, and it’ll be done by dinner! It’s basically the perfect solution when you want a brisket-like bite of beef, but you don’t have the time to dedicate to smoking a whole brisket.

To begin your tri tip-brisket journey, begin with a yellow mustard slather over the entire tri tip. This acts as a binder and will help produce a beautiful bark.

Next up, grab some of my handy-dandy Signature Beef Seasoning from Patio Provisions and season liberally over all sides of the tri tip. If you don’t have any Beef Seasoning nearby, seasoning this with my Brisket Rub will also do the trick.

meat thermometer inserted into a tri tip on a grill with the thermometer reading 162 degrees F.

How to Cook Tri Tip Like a Brisket

Once you have your tri tip seasoned, you’re ready to get this guy on the smoker. Follow the instructions below, and then scroll down to my tip section to make sure your steak comes off the smoker juicy and delicious.

  1. Preheat and smoke. With your smoker preheated to 225 degrees F, place the seasoned tri tip directly on the grill grates and smoke for 4-5 hours or until the internal temperature of the steak reaches 165 degrees F.
  2. Wrap. Remove the tri tip from the smoker and wrap tightly in peach butcher paper.
  3. Finish smoking. Place the wrapped tri tip back on the smoker and continue to smoke for another 3-4 hours until the temperature of your steak reaches 200 degrees F. (Make sure to stop right at 200 degrees, so it’ll still have some structural integrity. We don’t want it to completely shred apart since it has less fat than a brisket).

smoked tri tip on top of peach butcher paper

Tips for Cooking Tri Tip Like a Brisket

Here are some tips to help you make the best tri tip/brisket combo of your life:

  • Keep smoker temps low. This helps to prevent the brisket from drying out on the edges.
  • Wrap in butcher paper! Use a good peach butcher paper to retain moisture without softening the bark. Heavy duty aluminum foil can be used if you don’t have butcher paper, but be sure to wrap it super tightly so any liquid doesn’t have room to pool and steam the meat.
  • Cook to temperature. Use an instant read meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of your tri tip, and pull the meat off right at 200 degrees F.
  • Don’t forget to rest the meat! Allow the meat to rest for 30-45 minutes before serving.
  • Slice against the grain. Tri tip changes direction of the grain, so you may need to start slicing one way and then rotate the meat to follow the grain.

tri tip wrapped in Hey Grill Hey branded peach butcher paper on the smoker

More Tri Tip Recipes

If you’re looking for a simple recipe for tri tip, you’ve gotta try one of these recipes. I can’t really choose a favorite, so I suggest trying all three and letting your taste buds decide!

Grilled Tri Tip
Smoked Tri Tip
Smoky Joe Coffee Rubbed Tri Tip

sliced tri tip cooked like a brisket on peach butcher paper surrounded by pickles, jalapenos, onions and BBQ sauce.

Tri Tip Cooked Like a Brisket Recipe

Making some epic BBQ should be easy, and Hey Grill Hey is here to help! I’m all about helping you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero. If you want to see more of my recipes, tips, and behind the scenes action, follow along on my social channels. You can find me on InstagramFacebook, and YouTube!

Making good food should be easy, and Hey Grill Hey is here to help! Over at Patio Provisions, we have sauces, rubs, and more to save you time and energy when you’re busy at the grill. Check it out today!

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Tri Tip Cooked Like a Brisket

By: Susie Bulloch (
5 from 18 votes
Tri Tip Cooked Like a Brisket is a unique and flavorful way to prepare tri tip. While unconventional, it's a fun technique to try at least once. Oh, and the results are pretty darn delicious too!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time9 hours
Resting Time45 minutes
Total Time10 hours




  • Fire up the smoker. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F.
  • Prep the tri tip. Slather the tri tip in yellow mustard and season on all sides with the Beef Seasoning or you can make my brisket seasoning (link in recipe notes below).
  • Smoke the tri tip. Place the tri tip directly on the grill grates and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F (this will take approximately 4-5 hours).
  • Wrap and smoke. Remove the tri tip from the smoker and wrap it in peach butcher paper. Place the wrapped tri tip back on the smoker and continue to smoke until the internal temperature reaches 200 degrees F (this should take about 3-4 hours with the whole smoking process taking 8-9 hours).
  • Rest and serve. Remove the tri tip from the smoker and allow it to rest still wrapped in the butcher paper for 30-45 minutes. Slice and serve.


If you don't have any Beef Seasoning on hand, you can use this recipe for Brisket Rub instead to season your tri tip.


Calories: 364kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 147mg | Sodium: 206mg | Potassium: 738mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 26IU | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 4mg

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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Reader Reviews

36 Reviews

  1. Howard says:

    I really like the recipe. I made it according to directions and it was good. This was my first time smoking a tritip. But I’m now wondering is there a need to really wrap the tritip after it reaches 160F and continue cooking until 200F? I understand the need for the “crutch” with a brisket but for a tritip wouldn’t it be better to just pull and eat at 150-160F? My question is the wrap really tenderizing the meat or is it just overcooking it? Thanks in advance for the help!

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      You don’t need to wrap if you don’t want to. It’s a totally optional step.

  2. Maikaaloa Clarke says:

    I’m making pastrami with a tritip instead of brisket and your instructions for smoking the tritip are so helpful. It’s been brining for a week. Next the rub and into the smoker. 🙂 I’m so glad I found your recipe. Thanks again!