Tri-Tip Steaks Done 3 Ways: Barbecue Style, Coffee Rub, and Molasses and Chili

Good things come in threes and the tri-tip steak cut is proof of it. We all love a nice tri-tip steak, also known as the "bottom sirloin steak" or the "Santa Maria steak," but using that same basic steak seasoning in your spice cupboard for a cut like that seems a little wasteful. So, we're giving you a Recipe of the Month Special with THREE different flavourful ways to cook that tri-tip steak: Classic Barbecue Style, Coffee Rub, and Molasses and Chili.

 tri-tip steak recipe, barbecues galore

Before we get going on the different recipes, you'll need to whip up some Cowboy Compound Butter to enjoy once all your steaks are cooked - click here to check out that recipe before you move on. Don't worry, we'll wait for you. 


Welcome back - now let's get started on our prep work. Below are three cuts of tri-tip steaks that are waiting to be seasoned and grilled! Onto the recipes... 

tri tip smoked steak recipes, barbecues galore


Classic Barbecue Styled Tri-Tip


  • 5 – 2 lb. Tri-Tip Steak
  • 3 tsp Salt
  • 3 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp Onion Powder
  • 2 tbsp. Tumbleweed All-Purpose Rub
  • 6 tbsp. Suckle Busters Original BBQ Sauce


STEP 1: First, stop drooling. We know the ingredients smell great but we have a job to do. Mix all dry ingredients into a small bowl.

tri-tip steak recipe, barbecues galore


STEP 2: Coat all sides of your Tri-Tip Steak nice and evenly. Remember to pat the ingredients into the steak like you're comforting your best friend (because it soon will be).

STEP 3: Throw your best friend onto the smoker (we're talking about the steak here - we don't want any police officers at our doors) and follow main instructions found by scrolling below.

STEP 4: After the Classic Barbecue Style Tri-Tip is placed on the grill, brush the top side with Suckle Busters Original BBQ Sauce before you flip it. After you flip it, brush the other side as well - you can flip it again to crystalize the barbecue sauce if you'd like.


Coffee Rub Tri-Tip


  • 5 – 2 lb. Tri-Tip Steak
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Instant Coffee Crystals
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 tsp Tumbleweed All-purpose Rub
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Ground Coriander
  • ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • ½ tsp Mild Chili Powder


STEP 1: Mix all of those delicious dry ingredients into a small bowl.

tri-tip steak recipe, barbecues galore

STEP 2: Coat all sides of that beautiful Tri-Tip Steak. Remember, press it into the meat so it stays locked in.

tri-tip steak recipe, barbecues galore

STEP 3: Preheat your smoker and then place your evenly coated steak onto your smoker and follow the main instructions found again, by scrolling below. 


Molasses and Chili Tri-Tip


  • 5 – 2 lb. Tri-Tip Steak
  • ¼ Cup Brown Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Dark Molasses
  • 3 Tbsps. Light Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbsps. Rice Vinegar (Original)
  • 2 Tbsps. Minced Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. Mild Chili Powder
  • ¼ tsp Pepper


STEP 1: Firstly, mix the Brown Sugar and Molasses in a bowl until it gets nice 'n' thick and the sugar starts to dissolve. After, add in all of the remaining ingredients to create the magical marinade. 

tri-tip steak recipe, barbecues galore
tri-tip steak recipe, barbecues galore
tri-tip steak recipe, barbecues galore

STEP 2: Place that beautifully cut Tri-Tip steak into large Ziploc or FoodSaver styled bag - or any other bag that has a solid seal on it - and pour your marinade into the bag.

tri-tip steak recipe, barbecues galore
tri-tip steak recipe, barbecues galore

STEP 3: Let the steak sit in marinade for at LEAST one hour in the fridge. For the best flavour, we recommend four hours. After marinating, remember to keep the marinade - DO NOT throw that deliciously-filled bag away.

STEP 4:  Now that you've let your steak soak up the marinade, let's throw that magical meat onto your smoker. Follow the main directions below.



STEP 1: Get your smoker up to 235°F.

charcoal grill, barbecues galore

STEP 2: Place your steak (or all three types of steaks, if you're feeling ambitious today) on the top grate of your smoker. If you don't have a top grate, you can use the main cooking grate, but just keep an eye on your temperature. 

tri-tip steak recipe, barbecues galore

STEP 3: Smoke the steaks for 1-3 hours or until internal temperatures are roughly 125°F (rare) to 160°F (well done). The Barbecue Brain 2.0 is really helpful with this because you can read your temperatures from your smart phone.

STEP 4: While the steaks are cooking, get your grill going and get it HOT. We are going to reverse sear the steaks. Don't worry if you don't have a grill, you can use a cast iron pan or griddle - but make sure that its HOT. If you don't have a grill or a cast iron pan/griddle... go get one! 

Here's a general guide of what temperatures you might want:

  • Rare: 125°F (52°C)
  • Medium rare: 135°F (57°C)
  • Medium: 145°F (63°C)
  • Medium well:150°F (66°C)
  • Well done: 160°F (71°C)

STEP 5: Once your steak(s) have reached your desired internal temperature, pull it from your smoker and place it on the grill or on a HOT cast iron to achieve those gorgeous grill marks and darkening. 

For the Molasses and Chili Tri-Tip, place the steak back in the marinade bag or baste the steak with the remaining marinade before searing.

STEP 6: Once the outside of the steaks are done searing for 2 to 3 minutes per side, plate the steak and let it rest until the internal temperature reaches about 135°F (for medium). 

tri-tip steak recipes, barbecues galore

Cook steak(s) to your preference but make sure you keep an eye on your internal temperatures because, as Ken would say, temperatures never lie. 

STEP 7: While the steaks are resting, add 1 or 2 discs of the Cowboy Compound Butter on top of the Barbecue Style Tri-Tip.  

STEP 8: Enjoy your perfectly cooked steak with an ice cold beer, or maybe a glass of red wine if you're feeling fancy - unless you're underage, then you get to enjoy juice. 

 tri-tip steak recipe, barbecues galore


Side Dish Recommendations

Although just eating all three of these steaks in one sitting is enough to fill your heart as much as it would fill your appetite, we've got a few side dish recommendations that pair well with these innovative tri-tip steaks

  • Smoked Mac and Cheese
  • Roasted Broccoli
  • Roasted Baby Potatoes
  • Stuffed Potatoes
  • Grilled Asparagus
  • Creamed Corn

tri-tip steak recipe, side dishes, barbecues galore


Recipe written by barbecue enthusiast Andrew Plaza. Follow him on Instagram for more barbecue goodness by clicking here.

Back to blog

Subscribe to our Hotline Newsletter and be the first to get exclusive discounts!