How to Smoke a Tri Tip Roast from Costco on a Pellet Grill!

One of my favorite cuts of beef at Costco is the Tri Tip roast.  My Costco does not always have tri tips in stock but when they do it seems like they are always Prime Grade.

Keep reading and learn what this cut of beef is, why it is considered special and how I like to cook it.

What is a Tri Tip?

The tri tip comes from the bottom of the sirloin primal and gets its name from its triangular shape which results in it having three “corners”.

Prime Tri Tip at Costco

The tri tip is the “Sister Cut” to the picanha (Top Sirloin Cap Roast) which is located on the top of the sirloin primal.  Because the picanha has a slightly triangular shape it is often mistaken for the tri tip but they are very different cuts of beef.

Currently Costco is selling tri tip for $11.99 per pound which makes it a great value compared to the current prices for ribeyes and strip steaks.

The flavor profile of the tri tip is quite beefy and the meat is about “medium” on the tenderness scale.  The surface of a tri tip often looks like it has great marbling but the cut is usually very lean.

Blade Tenderized

My only serious complaint about the Costco meat department is that they blade tenderize any piece of beef that is not still in its cryovac packaging and the tri tip is no exception.

You can tell that the roast has been blade tenderized by the notation on the label.

Costco Blade Tenderizes the Tri Tip

Blade tenderization is the process of running meat through a machine that punches a bunch of small holes to break up the muscle fibers.

On one hand this is great because it makes the meat more tender.  On the other hand it introduces the risk of bacterial contamination which means that to be safe you should cook the meat to Medium (145F) instead of Medium Rare (135F).

I believe Costco blade tenderizes their steaks as an alternative to wet aging which allows them to reduce their turnover time.

Cooking Instructions

Tri tip is usually associated with the California grilling scene where it is called a Santa Maria steak and cooked directly over high heat charcoal.

Here is a great video showing you how to cook a Santa Maria style tri tip.

I prefer to slow cook this roast on my pellet grill.

I will season the tri tip with Traeger’s Chili and Garlic dry rub then smoke it at 225F for about 90 minutes until it hits an internal temperature of 135-140F.

For wood pellets you can either use the Traeger Gourmet Blend or the Kirkland Signature pellets.

Tri Tip Cooking on a Pellet Grill

Slicing the Tri Tip for Maximum Tenderness

One of the most important things about the tri tip is that it will be the most tender when sliced against the grain.

While that might seem obvious, the trick is that the orientation of the grain does a subtle shift about halfway through the roast.  You can start out slicing against the grain only to realize later on that you are now slicing with the grain.

Take a minute to study the grain structure before you start slicing and adjust your slicing position as you work through the roast.  Figuring out the grain is not that hard as long as you are aware that it shifts.

Tri Tip Sliced Against the Grain

Tri Tip Sliced Against the Grain

Smoked Costco Tri Tip

A Costco Tri Tip is seasoned with a dry rub and smoked on a pellet grill until done. The tri tip is thinly sliced against the grain and served as an awesome sandwich.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 455 kcal


  • 1 Tri Tip Roast
  • 4 tbsp Traeger Dry Rub or beef rub of choice
  • 1 package Costco Artisan Rolls
  • 1 container Artichoke and Jalapeno Dip from La Terra Fina


  • Season the tri tip liberally on all sides with the beef rub.
  • Allow the seasoned tri tip to rest at room temperature for one hour.
  • Preheat your pellet grill to 225F.
  • Put the tri tip on the grill and cook for 90 minutes until an internal temperature of 135F is reached.
  • Remove the tri tip from the grill and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
  • Slice upon the Costco Artisan Rolls and toast the inside.
  • While the toasted bread is still warm, slather with the Artichoke Jalapeno Dip.
  • Slice the tri tip thinly across the grain and add to rolls for an amazing tri tip sandwich!
Keyword Costco Tri Tip

Good morning and welcome to the site dedicated to helping you find great products at Costco and other stores! My name is David Somerville and these are hands on reviews of products that I have bought and used or am seriously considering purchasing. I do most of my shopping at the Costco in Baton Rouge, Louisiana but will check out any other Costco warehouses I find while travelling. Please get in touch with any questions and let me know of any great products that deserved to be featured in this blog!

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