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#10 Best Wood For Tri Tip Bring Most Flavour (2022 Review)

Mr James Hall
  Aug 10, 2022 2:18 AM

Wood is a key ingredient in the cooking of any fire-grilled meal, so it's important to know which type of wood produces the best flavor.

Choosing the right wood can enhance your tri-tip and make it taste even better than you helped it would have otherwise.


Overview

Best Wood For Tri Tip

The best wood for tri tip depends on many factors such as how you will cook it and what your budget is. With that being said here are the top five recommendations based on nutrition, density, price, and taste.

What makes certain woods so better than others? Woods are classified by their smoke production, heat output, and flavor profile.

The chips and chunks that you use should produce an amount of smoke appropriate for grilling or smoking but not too much to overwhelm your dish.

You'll want to experiment with different types to find which ones deliver the most desirable results for your tastes.

Read more:


#10 Top Wood For Tri Tip Compare

Most Saving
1
  • SCORE
    9.6
    AI Score

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  • Brand
    Traeger
TOP Choice
2
TOP Choice
3
  • SCORE
    9.4
    AI Score

    FE Score is a Friendly Toast Score from our review team.

  • Brand
    Camerons
TOP Choice
4
  • SCORE
    9.4
    AI Score

    FE Score is a Friendly Toast Score from our review team.

  • Brand
    Western Digital
5
  • SCORE
    9.6
    AI Score

    FE Score is a Friendly Toast Score from our review team.

  • Brand
    Oklahoma Joe's
6
  • SCORE
    9.0
    AI Score

    FE Score is a Friendly Toast Score from our review team.

  • Brand
    Camerons
7
  • SCORE
    9.6
    AI Score

    FE Score is a Friendly Toast Score from our review team.

  • Brand
    Weber
8
  • SCORE
    9.0
    AI Score

    FE Score is a Friendly Toast Score from our review team.

  • Brand
    WESTERN
9
  • SCORE
    9.2
    AI Score

    FE Score is a Friendly Toast Score from our review team.

  • Brand
    Smoak Firewood

Last update on 2022-08-10 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API


Buying Guide

What is tri tip and where does it come from?

Tri tip is a cut of meat from the bottom sirloin; it's often referred to in different ways such as bottom sirloin or sirloin flap. Tri tip is most commonly found on its own and served as an entree, but can also be used as part of a combo meal. Tri tip is a part of the Top Sirloin, which is a muscle that works very hard in terms of both food consumption and movement. Because of this, tri tip is one of the most flavorful cuts on beef but also one of the toughest. This means that when choosing a cut of tri-tip you should try to find pieces that will still have some pink coloring in them. The key to cooking great meat is to not overcook it and allow it to retain its moisture and flavor.

 

The best wood for smoking tri tip

To understand how to select the best wood for smoking tri tip, you need to understand what to look for and how to properly prepare it. Smoke is produced when wood or other materials are burned in oxygen-free environments, often at low temperatures. The smoke generated upon combustion contains many flavor compounds, including aromatic hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides.

 

Knowing how to smoke your cut of meat isn't a difficult task but there are a few things that can make the process easier. One of these things is understanding what kind of wood you want to use in your smoker. There are many different types of woods that work well in smoking meat, but the three main types include Mesquite, Alder, and Cherrywood. Before you start smoking your cut of meat, make sure to choose the best wood for smoking tri tip.

Cherrywood

This wood is not found in much abundance, but when it is, it's usually on the west coast of North America. Cherrywood is known for its sweet flavor and mild softness. These qualities make this wood ideal for smoking because it does not produce a lot of smoke which may overpower your dish. To get the best flavor out of this wood, you should use chips instead of chunks. You can also use cherrywood as a secondary wood to boost the smoke from other types of wood that may be used in your smoker.

Mesquite

An increasingly popular choice among enthusiasts, mesquite has a unique rustic flavor that most people find appealing. Because mesquite is a very dense wood, it can be used as a primary wood in small smokers and in fact, is best for small-scale smokehouses. Because of the high heat output that this wood gives off, it's not suitable for larger smokers which often have to contend with more heat from large volumes of smoke per hour.

Alder

Most commonly found around the Pacific Northwest and west coast of Canada, many folks like to use an alder wood because of its subtle flavor and soft cut. This wood works well on all types of grills, whether gas or electric but you should avoid using this on charcoal grills because its low density makes it difficult to keep lit on these grills which can result in poor smoking results.

 

Mesquite vs Cherrywood vs Alder - what is the difference?

While all three planks of wood are very good at producing smoke and can provide complex flavor, certain factors will make one wood more desirable for your next outdoor cooking excursion.

When looking for the best wood for smoking tri tip, don't just choose from one of these three selections, because there's a bit more to it than that. We've taken some time to break down some differences between the three and how you should match them with your own needs:

Temperature

Mesquite, Cherrywood and Alder woods burn at temperatures ranging from 1075° F (650° C) to 1414° F (870° C). These temperatures produce a lot of smoke, and a lot of smoke can be overwhelming. The best wood for smoking tri tip comes from the lowest temperature range - 1000° F (538° C). For beginners, cherrywood is the best wood for tri tip because it starts out at around 1000° F (538° C), then tapers off to around 600° F (316° C). If you're just starting to smoke meat, this would be the option you'd want to go with.

Mesquite

This wood burns hotter than either alder or cherrywood and releases more smoke as a result. The density of this wood also makes it ideal for fuel in smokers that burn logs instead of chunks or chips. Mesquite has an earthy flavor, which makes it good on its own but can overwhelm other flavors if used too often. Many grillers who use mesquite say they like to mix it with hickory or applewood to add smoke flavor without overpowering their food. So, if you want to add some flavor to your meat, but don't want to overpower it with smoke, then alder is the best wood for smoking tri tip.

Cherrywood

This wood is considered tame and not very strong in terms of its ability to produce smoke. It's less dense than mesquite and can be cut into large chunks that burn slowly for prolonged periods of time. Because this wood burns more slowly than other woods, it's more suitable for smokers that are small or don't have a strong airflow. Alderwood has been known to overwhelm other flavors due to the fact that it burns quickly and continuously without producing any smoke at all.

Alder

Alder burns like a volcano, in that it releases a large amount of strong and acrid smoke for around the first 15 minutes. After this initial burn, it settles down to mostly smoke and less fire. The best wood for smoking tri tip is alder because of its combination of low density and high burning temperature. It also offers great flavors, both sweet and smoky, which makes it an ideal choice if you're new to the art of smoking meat.

Dimensions

The size of your smoker is one of the most important factors in choosing the right wood for your cooking needs. Mesquite is the thickest of the three blocks of wood, measuring 1-3" (.25 - .75 cm) in diameter. Alder is in the middle, and cherrywood is the thinnest. You can use alder for smoking meat, but the smaller diameter will make it hard to fit chips or chunks over the meat because they won't fit in between the beef and the firewood.

The best wood for tri tip is cherrywood, and it's not just because it's easier to find. Cherrywood burns hot, so it is also ideal for smokers that don't have a lot of wood room. This wood is lighter in weight than mesquite (the thinnest of all three) which makes it ideal for smokers that are considered small and lightweight - think of those kettle grills you see at home improvement stores rather than full-sized grills.

 

How to prepare tri tip for smoking

Keep in mind that ribs and short loin are tougher cuts of beef, which means they will take longer to prepare. It is still possible to prepare a tri tip while it's already partially smoked, but should you decide to do this, there will be a longer curing process and the meat should be aged for at least two weeks before eating.

Here's how you can smoke the perfect tri tip:

Carve and trim your tri tip in order to get rid of any sinews and silverskin. If you want to keep this part of the meat, feel free to remove it before smoking.

Roll the meat with a mixture of dark brown sugar, salt, black pepper, and chili powder. Apply the mixture to both sides of the tri tip.

Bring a kettle grill halfway to high heat. Once you're ready to begin cooking your tri tip, place it on the grill and cover it with a lid for about 80 minutes (this should result in medium-rare).

The above method will make sure you get a very tender and flavorful piece of meat.

 

Tri tip recipes

There's no doubt that a tri tip is best enjoyed when smoked, but it can also be served in a number of other ways.

Prep time: 10 minutes

For those looking for a simple dish without having to go through the process of grilling, this tri tip recipe is not what you're looking for. However, it's an excellent option for those who want to use a cooking method that can be done inside a smoker. In this recipe, the tri tip is cooked in a pan with red wine and butter.

Prep time: 20 minutes

This recipe starts out with the meat placed in the smoker and lets smoke for around 90 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 135° F (57° C). The vegetables are then placed on top of the meat. This dish is simple enough to prepare, but it does take a long time to cook because it has several cooking elements including smoke, water, and onions.

Prep time: 15 minutes

This recipe requires you to rub the meat with some butter, salt, and pepper. It is then wrapped in onion skins to prevent it from drying out. After it has been smoked for about three hours, this tri tip is brushed with barbecue sauce and wrapped in foil. Some of the barbecue sauce is spread on top of the meat while the rest is used as basting. The tri tip can also be cooked in a smoker without wrapping it in foil or onion skins.


FAQs

Can you smoke tri tip with applewood?

Absolutely. It's one of the best wood for smoking tri tip since its high burning temperature provides an even smoke that doesn't overpower the other flavors.

Does it matter which type of wood you buy?

Almost all types of wood will work to smoke your tri tip - some are simply more suited for smoking than others. Alder is a great choice because it helps to avoid overpowering other flavors with its earthy flavor and low density. Mesquite is also good as long as you keep the fire low and maintain the humidity in your smoker so it doesn't dry out too quickly. Cherrywood is usually used with other woods because it burns hotter than mesquite but still lets off more gentle smoke that isn't overpowering.

Is mesquite good for tri tip?

Mesquite is a very popular variety of wood. If you do decide to use it, make sure you have some extra time on your hands. Mesquite burns fast and hot, so when using it for the first time, it may be best to practice cooking something else first before trying this method with tri tip. Also, remember that mesquite has a strong smoke flavor that can overpower the other flavors in your meal.

If you love to smoke meat and want an option that will give you better results, consider a smoker with stainless steel or copper fire pits rather than one made from metal or metal mixed with wood.

Can you smoke tri tip like brisket?

Yes, but you'll have to adjust cooking times depending on the thickness of the meat. Brisket is a thicker cut of meat, so you'll have to increase your cooking time by about an hour. If you're smoking a brisket and a tri tip together with similar thicknesses, try to reduce the temperature for both.


Conclusion

If you're looking for a tri tip recipe that has many of the same characteristics as brisket, then read on. They're both flanken cuts of beef, which means that they are best prepared by being smoked over a low temperature. Both are also good choices for beginners because they are relatively easy to prepare and don't require you to use many spices or seasonings. They're also cherished by barbecue enthusiasts because they have the potential to be cooked in different ways, so you can choose what technique best fits your cooking needs.

Don't forget that the tri tip is one of the best smoking beef cuts. It's a great option to try if you're an experienced smoker and are looking to impress your guests with a tender, flavorful piece of meat. There are a variety of ways to cook the tri tip, some of which can be done in a smoker. If you do decide to use a smoker, don't forget to check out this guide on how to smoke tri tip in order to get the best results. Also, give our recipe for juicy tri tip with beer BBQ sauce a try!


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