Mouthwatering Smoked Tri-Tip Recipe: A BBQ Classic

My dear friends, are you ready to take your grilling game to the next level? Look no further than this coffee and spice smoked tri-tip recipe. This is not your average steak rub – it’s a blend of rich and bold flavors that will leave your taste buds jumping for joy.

Coffee rubbed steaks have been a secret weapon of pitmasters for years, enhancing the flavors of grilled beef with a subtle roasted flavor. But this recipe takes it up a notch with a mix of cumin seeds, ancho chile powder, and crushed red pepper flakes for some added heat. And let’s not forget about the sweetness from brown sugar and maple syrup to balance out the spices.

But why tri-tip specifically? Well, let me tell you – this cut is perfect for smoking. It may be lean, but when cooked low and slow, it becomes tender and juicy beyond belief. Plus, its unique triangular shape provides different textures and levels of doneness throughout the meat.

So get ready to impress your family and friends with this coffee and spice smoked tri-tip recipe. Just be prepared to share the recipe because they’ll surely be asking for it after just one bite!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Coffee and Spice Smoked Tri-Tip
Coffee and Spice Smoked Tri-Tip

Are you looking for a way to take your grilling game up a notch? Then look no further than this Coffee and Spice Smoked Tri-Tip recipe! Get ready to impress all your guests with a deliciously unique flavor profile that combines the smoky goodness of grilled beef with the rich aroma of cowboy coffee.

But what makes this recipe truly special is the combination of spices used in the rub. It includes cumin seeds, dried ancho chile powder, crushed red pepper flakes, and black pepper which give an earthy warmth and slight hint of heat to the tri-tip steak. And, of course, there are the coffee beans – both ground espresso and smoked coffee – for that added depth and richness. This unique blend of flavors is sure to tantalize your taste buds like never before!

Another great thing about this recipe is its versatility. Although it calls specifically for tri-tip roast, you can easily substitute other cuts of beef like ribeye or sirloin steak. You can even use the same rub on chicken or pork for a new twist on classic BBQ.

So why not give this recipe a try at your next backyard cookout? You won’t be disappointed by the delicious taste, which will have everyone coming back for more!

Ingredient List

 Get ready to indulge in the perfect combination of coffee and spice with this smoked tri-tip recipe!
Get ready to indulge in the perfect combination of coffee and spice with this smoked tri-tip recipe!

Ingredients for the Coffee and Spice Smoked Tri-Tip Recipe

For this smoked coffee tri-tip recipe you will need a combination of spices and ingredients that complement the flavors of the beef. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Tri-Tip Steak: 2 pounds of beef tri-tip roast or steak.
  • Coffee Rub: For the dry rub, you’ll need 1 tablespoon each of finely ground coffee beans, smoked paprika, chili powder, and brown sugar, along with 1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, ground cumin seeds, and dried ancho chile powder. You’ll also need ½ to 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes for some heat.
  • Salt Mixture: To season the meat, you’ll need 2 tablespoons of kosher salt and 1 tablespoon each of coarse sea salt and black pepper.
  • Maple Syrup: The sweetness of maple syrup complements the smokiness of the beef. You’ll need a tablespoon for this recipe.
  • Cowboy Coffee: You can use any blend or grind here but a medium roast is recommended. Just make sure to have three tablespoons finely ground roast coffee beans and combine it with 3 tbsp of dark brown sugar.
    Wood Chips: Select hickory or oak as they lend themselves well to beef.`

The Recipe How-To

 This smoky delight is guaranteed to impress your family and friends at the next summer BBQ.
This smoky delight is guaranteed to impress your family and friends at the next summer BBQ.

Now that you’ve got all the ingredients, let’s get started with the recipe. Here’s your step-by-step guide on how to make a Coffee and Spice Smoked Tri-Tip:

Step 1: Make the Rub

In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of dark brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of dried ancho chile powder, 2 tablespoons of finely ground espresso, 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon of ground coffee (not instant), 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, cumin seeds, and crushed red pepper flakes. Mix everything together until it is evenly combined.

Step 2: Prepare the Tri-Tip

Take your 2 pound tri-tip roast, pat it dry with paper towels and trim off any excessive fat. This will help the rub to stick to the meat effectively. Once done, season the meat generously with the rub mixture you prepared in step 1. Ensure that it is coated evenly from all sides.

Step 3: Smoke the Tri-Tip

Set up your grill or smoker for indirect grilling at a temperature of about 225°F. Add some wood chips or chunks for extra smoke flavor. Once the temperature has been reached, place your rubbed tri-tip on the grill grates and close the lid.

Smoke it for around 1-2 hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 130-135°F for medium-rare or 140-145°F for medium doneness levels. Measure this using a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat.

Step 4: Reverse Sear Method

Once you have achieved your target temperature, remove the tri-tip from grill and let it rest in a foil tent for 10-15 minutes. During this time, preheat your grill to high heat (450°F-500°F) for the reverse sear.

Place the tri-tip back on the grill and sear it for about 1-2 minutes per side, or until you get a nice crust.

Step 5: Serve and Enjoy!

Once your coffee and spice rubbed grilled beef tri-tip is done, remove it from the heat and place it on a cutting board. Let the tri-tip rest again for 5-10 minutes. Then, slice across the grain into thin strips and serve.

Pair it with some grilled vegetables or roasted potatoes and enjoy your delicious smoked coffee tri-tip recipe straight off the grill!

Substitutions and Variations

 Don't let the long list of ingredients intimidate you; the end result is truly worth it!
Don’t let the long list of ingredients intimidate you; the end result is truly worth it!

You can experiment with the coffee rub by adding or replacing some of the ingredients. For example, if you don’t have dried ancho chile powder, you can substitute it with smoked paprika or regular chili powder. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, reduce or omit the crushed red pepper flakes. You can also use brown sugar instead of granulated sugar for a richer flavor.

If you want to try a different kind of coffee, go for it! You can use ground espresso, roast coffee, or cowboy coffee instead of the coffee beans. Just make sure to adjust the measurement according to your preferred taste.

For those who prefer a saltier rub, increase the amount of coarse salt or kosher salt in the recipe. On the other hand, if you’re watching your sodium intake, reduce the amount or use sea salt instead.

If you don’t have tri-tip steak on hand, you can use other cuts of beef such as flank or skirt steak. Keep in mind that cook time may vary depending on the cut and thickness.

For a grill recipe, aim for medium-high heat at around 425-450°F and cook for 15-20 minutes per side. Alternatively, opt for reverse sear method by cooking at low temperature (225°F) until it reaches your desired internal temperature before searing it quickly over high heat.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to customization. Don’t be afraid to be creative and find what works best for you!

Serving and Pairing

 Who says coffee is just for mornings? Add a bold twist to your dinner menu with this flavorful dish.
Who says coffee is just for mornings? Add a bold twist to your dinner menu with this flavorful dish.

After smoking the tri-tip to perfection, it’s time to serve and savor the result of your hard work. When you cut into the smoked tri-tip, you’ll be welcomed with the mesmerizing aroma of cowboy coffee and a hint of spice in every bite.

To complement the smoky flavor profile, consider serving your smoked tri-tip with a side of roasted vegetables or a crisp green salad. Grilled corn or baked potatoes will also pair nicely, adding depth and heartiness to the meal. Drizzle maple syrup over grilled sweet potato wedges for a contrasting sweetness to balance out the smoky flavors.

As for beverages, red wine like malbec or cabernet sauvignon can stand up to smoked flavors. Or, if you’re looking for something lighter, try an IPA beer that can bring out the herbs and spices used in this recipe.

For a finishing touch, sprinkle some fresh chopped parsley on top of your dish. It’ll add a pop of color and freshness to your plate.

No matter how you choose to serve it, this smoked coffee and spice tri-tip recipe has bold flavors that are sure to satisfy any carnivorous craving.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 For an extra kick, consider adding ancho or chipotle chili powder.
For an extra kick, consider adding ancho or chipotle chili powder.

This smoked tri-tip recipe is perfect for make-ahead meals. You can prepare and cook the meat in advance, and then store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. This means that you can spend more time with your guests rather than in the kitchen.

If you want to enjoy this dish later, it is best to reheat it by slicing the beef thin and lightly coating it in a little oil, then placing it on a sheet or griddle pan over medium-high heat until heated through, about 1-2 minutes per side. This will ensure that your meat remains tender, juicy, and flavorful.

If you’re planning to reheat the whole tri-tip steak, preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C) and cover the roast with foil. Place the covered roast on a baking sheet and put it in the oven for 10-15 minutes until heated through. The internal temperature should reach at least 135°F (57°C).

You can also freeze smoked tri-tip before reheating. This works well if you anticipate that you won’t eat all of it within three days’ time. Simply cool down your roast first, slice it into manageable portions, and then store them in an airtight container or freezer bag. Remember to label them with the date of freezing so that you can keep track of how long it has been stored.

When reheating frozen smoked tri-tip, defrost overnight in the fridge first. Then follow one of the methods mentioned above for reheating.

With these tips, you can easily make this delicious smoked tri-tip recipe ahead of time and store or freeze it for future enjoyment without losing any of its delicious flavors.

Tips for Perfect Results

 One secret to this delicious recipe is to let the tri-tip marinate overnight for maximum flavor.
One secret to this delicious recipe is to let the tri-tip marinate overnight for maximum flavor.

Whether you’re a pro or a beginner, cooking tri-tip steak in the smoker can be challenging. However, with a few tips up your sleeve, you can make a mouth-watering smoked tri-tip that will impress your guests. Here are some tips to help you achieve perfect results every time.

Firstly, ensure that you use good-quality tri-tip meat. Choose a piece of beef that is well-marbled with fat and weighs between two to three pounds. The beef tri tip should have a thick end and taper down towards the thin point. If the thin end is too skinny, it will dry out during the smoking process.

Secondly, invest in a reliable smoker thermometer. It’s crucial to maintain an internal temperature of 225°F on the smoker when cooking tri-tip to ensure that it cooks evenly and correctly throughout. A wireless thermometer will also enable you to monitor the smoke and meat temperatures without opening the smoker lid.

Another essential tip is to let the dry rub sit on the surface of the beef tri tip for at least 30 minutes at room temperature before smoking. This helps the flavors penetrate the meat and makes it tender and juicy.

When smoking your beef tri-tip, use hardwood for the best flavor. Avoid using softwoods like pine and cedar, as they can leave an unpleasant taste on your meat. Hickory, oak, or mesquite woods are excellent choices as they add bold flavors that complement the dry rub.

It’s essential to maintain consistent airflow while smoking your beef tri tip. This ensures that smoke circulates around it uniformly and avoids hot spots on your meat that may spoil your cook.

Finally, avoid overcooking your smoked tri tip as it can become tough and chewy when cooked past medium-rare. Instead, remove it from the smoker when its internal temperature reaches 135°F for medium-rare or 145°F for medium doneness. Let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing thinly across the grain.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your smoked tri-tip will rival even the best steakhouse in town.


Before concluding this article, let me address some frequently asked questions that may arise while trying out this recipe. From cooking times to ingredient substitutions, I have compiled a list of FAQ to help you troubleshoot and get the best possible results from this coffee and spice smoked tri-tip recipe. So, let’s dive into it.

Should I season tri-tip overnight before smoking?

For a tasty tri-tip coffee, sprinkle salt generously all over the meat. If you’re not sure how much salt to use, a good rule of thumb is to use 1.5 percent of the meat’s weight, which means that 1/4 ounce or 7 grams of salt is needed for 16 ounces of meat. It’s best to let it sit uncovered in the refrigerator overnight for maximum flavor.

How long does it take to smoke tri tip at 225?

It is recommended to smoke a tri-tip weighing 1.5-2 pounds at a temperature of 225°F, which usually takes around 1 to 1.5 hours. However, cooking time may vary depending on the thickness and size of the meat. To ensure accurate timing, it is advisable to use a probe thermometer to measure the internal temperature.

How do you smoke tri tip so it’s tender?

To achieve a perfectly smoked tri-tip, follow these steps: Start by placing the unwrapped meat on the smoker for an hour to an hour and a half. Keep a close eye on it and make sure the internal temperature reaches a range of 125-130 degrees F for rare. Once it reaches this temperature, remove it from the smoker and wrap it with foil. Let it rest for 15 minutes to allow the juices to be absorbed back into the meat. If you want to keep it warm for an extended period, you may opt to put it in a cooler. However, please do not add any ice inside the cooler.

How do you keep tri-tip moist in a smoker?

As a barista specializing in coffee, I want to share some tips and tricks for making excellent barbecue. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Firstly, it’s essential to select the right cut of meat. Don’t be fooled by a bargain price; lower quality meat will always result in lower quality barbecue.

Next, before cooking, sprinkle a generous amount of salt over the meat to help it retain its moisture and enhance its natural flavor.

When it comes to injecting your meat, make sure to use a marinade that complements the flavors you’re looking for.

To prevent your meat from drying out during the cooking process, wrap it up tightly in foil to lock in moisture.

When lighting up your smoker, use less charcoal and more wood for a cleaner burn and a smokier flavor. And make sure to cook with indirect heat to ensure an even cook.

Finally, maintain precise control over your smoker’s temperature throughout the cooking process. This will help ensure that your meat is cooked perfectly and comes out just as tender and juicy as you want it to be.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this coffee and spice smoked tri-tip recipe is a match made in heaven. The combination of coffee and spices gives it a robust and unique flavor that will leave your taste buds craving more. With just a few simple ingredients, you can create a delicious and flavorful meal that your family and friends will love.

Whether you are hosting a summer barbecue or looking for something new to add to your weekly dinner rotation, this recipe is sure to impress. So why not try something different and give this smoked tri-tip recipe a chance? You won’t regret it. With the perfect balance of sweet, spicy and smoky flavors, it’s a crowd pleaser that will have everyone asking for the recipe.

So grab your ingredients and start prepping your tri-tip steak today! And don’t forget to experiment with different variations and substitutions to make it truly your own. Happy cooking!

Coffee and Spice Smoked Tri-Tip

Coffee and Spice Smoked Tri-Tip Recipe

This is a version of a recipe that was emailed to me by Williams-Sonoma. The recipe called for their coffee and spice rub. Fortunately, I was able to develop an alternative to the purchased rub. Serve this with flour tortillas, Spanish rice and recipe #237848.
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 345.9 kcal


  • 1 (2 lb) beef tri-tip steak
  • coarse salt, to taste

Ancho-Coffee and Rub

  • 1 tablespoon french roast coffee beans
  • 1 teaspoon dried ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds


  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce


  • To prepare the rub: Place the ingredients in a heated heavy skillet.
  • Shake together and allow to toast for 1 minute or until mixture begins to release a strong aroma.
  • Pour into a spice or coffee grinder and grind to a coarse powder.
  • Rub the tri-tip on all sides with the spice rub; sprinkle with salt to taste.
  • Place meat in a sealable plastic bag, seal and place in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
  • Remove the meat from the plastic bag and place on rack of smoker that has been preheated to 225deg.
  • Combine the maple syrup and hot sauce; begin basting every 1/2 hour after the first hour.
  • Smoke the tri-tip until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center registers 130deg. for medium-rare (approximately 2 to 3 hours).
  • Transfer the meat to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes.
  • Slice the meat thinly across the grain and arrange on a warmed serving platter, sprinkle with salt.
  • Serve with chipotle guacamole and Spanish rice.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 27gCalories: 345.9kcalCarbohydrates: 10.1gProtein: 29.5gFat: 20.3gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 98.3mgSodium: 341.6mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 8.2g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Easy, Meat, Mexican, Roast Beef, Southwestern, Spring, Summer
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