Smoked Tri-Tip with basil tomato salsa

Tri-tip is just like Lego. You can make anything out of it. This time we smoked it and served it as an appetizer. This is an excellent recipe for a late summer evening when you want to sit outside with friends for as long as possible.

The Tri-Tip is a cut of beef that you can prepare in many ways. We’ve already cooked it like a steak in a mustard marinade, and we’ve even pulled it. It was all tasty. This time we’re going to smoke it like a brisket.

For this preparation, we remove all the fat and membranes on the outside. We want the dry rub we are going to make to adhere well. If we would leave the fat, most of the rub will flow away with the melting fat.

To make the rub stick, we rub it with Tabasco. You don’t have to worry that the meat will become too spicy. You can still taste Tabasco, but the heat has disappeared after the sauce has been heated. This is, by the way, the easiest dry rub we can make. It only contains salt, paprika powder, raw cane sugar and garlic granulate.

You can now also clearly see the triangular shape from which the tri-tip owes its name. You can also see the coarse strains of muscles running through it. The intention is to cut the meat perpendicular to those muscles to make the meat as tender as possible.

We bring the Kamado to a temperature of about 160°C (320F) with a chunk of smoke wood. In this case, we placed a block of beech.

Then the tri-tip can be placed on the grates, and we insert a thermometer into the meat. To make sure the probe is precisely in the right place, insert it diagonally, far into the thickest part of the meat. Then you pull the probe back a little bit until the thermometer shows the lowest temperature. Then you know that the tip of the probe is placed correctly.

Another probe also measures the temperature above the grates next to the meat. This is because this is different from the temperature in the lid that your Kamado indicates. Sometimes the difference is too much, and then the sugars in your dry rub burn.

After almost 3 hours, the correct core temperature has been reached, and we will wrap the tri-tip in aluminium foil and let it rest. While resting, the moisture that has been forced out will return to its place. Resting half an hour is enough, but if it takes a little longer before you want to serve the meat, you put the package in a cool box, and you can keep it warm for hours.

When unpacking the tri-tip, you will see that there is still some moisture in the foil. Don’t throw this away. We pour this back a little over the meat once we’ve cut it. If you have some leftovers after eating, you can also reheat the leftovers in this liquid.

With the tri-tip, we serve a tomato/basil salsa. We made a nice plate that everyone could grab a piece of. This way, you can easily fold it around the salsa and eat it in one bite.

If you are going to make this tri-tip let us know in the comments below. Or better! Take a photo and post it on Instagram. Tag @bbq.heroes so we can see what you made.


  • A whole tri-tip
  • Tabasco
  • 1 tbsp coarse salt
  • 1 tbsp paprika powder
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp garlic granulate

For the tomato basil salsa

  • 300 grams cherry tomatoes
  • ½ red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • A handful of chopped basil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • A little salt to taste


  1. Remove hard pieces of fat and membranes from the outside of the tri-tip. Mix the salt, paprika, sugar and garlic granulate.
  2. Brush the meat with Tabasco and sprinkle the dry rub over all sides of the meat.
  3. Light the grill and ensure an indirect temperature of about 160°C (320F).
  4. Place a chunk of smoke wood, place the tri-tip on the grates and insert a thermometer into the meat.
  5. Close the lid and wait until the meat has a core temperature of 97°C (207F).
  6. Meanwhile, make the tomato/basil salsa by finely chopping the tomatoes, onion, garlic and basil. Mix well with the olive oil and season with a bit of salt.
  7. When the desired core temperature has been reached, wrap the tri-tip with aluminium foil and let it rest for at least half an hour.
  8. Cut the tri-tip perpendicular to the grain of the meat into thin slices and serve with the salsa.

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