Tritip Burnt Ends

by Doug Scheiding, Rogue Cookers

Tritip is the bottom sirloin on a steer where three muscles come together. Generally considered California or Santa Maria BBQ, this cut has been the darling of BBQ and steak lovers here lately for its rich flavor, tenderness, and budget-friendly price. Smoke and then reverse-sear it like a steak—or, cook it like a brisket and then make these burnt ends.

325 °F

6 Hours


1 tritip (approximately 3-4 lbs)

Head Country All-Purpose Marinade 

Head Country Championship Seasoning, Original 

2 C. Head Country Bar-B-Q Sauce, Apple Habanero 

1 C. Head Country Bar-B-Q Sauce, Sweet & Sticky 

6-8 oz. cooking liquid leftover from brisket cook (beef broth works, too) 

Apple juice for spritzing 

Hardwood recommendation: Oak or hickory


“Burnt ends made from brisket or pork belly are wonderful nuggets of fatty deliciousness.  However, I can personally only handle a few of them as they are so rich. This recipe is a great lean beef alternative and is a quicker cook than brisket.” —Doug


Step 1. Preheat grill to 325 degrees F.  


Step 2. While the grill preheats, trim the fat cap off the bottom of the tri tip. Then, flip the tri tip over and trim all the silver skin off the top.


Step 3. Look closely at the grain on the top. Use your knuckle to make what I like to call the Knuckle Notch (or use a knife to score) about a quarter of an inch deep down the middle, separating where the grains meet from the left and right side. Usually, there is a line of fat here as well. Doing this will help you be able to tell the direction of the grain, and where it changes, when slicing the tri-tip after smoking.


Step 4. Rub tritip in Head Country Marinade. Shake on a medium layer of Original Seasoning, being sure to coat all sides. Shake on a slightly lighter layer of High Plains Heat Seasoning. 


Step 5. Put tri tip on the grill. Spritz every 30-45 minutes with apple juice. Cook to an internal temperature of 198-200 degrees F, like a brisket. This will take about 4 hours, depending on the weight of the tri-tip. Remove tri tip from the grill. 


Step 6. Increase the cook temp on your grill to 375 degrees F


Step 7. Combine 16 oz. (2 C.) of Head Country Bar-B-Q Sauce in Apple Habanero, 8 oz. (1 C.) of the Sweet & Sticky flavor, and 8 oz. of brisket juice (beef bouillon broth) in a bowl. Heat on the grill or microwave to lukewarm. Pour sauce mixture into a loaf pan (4×6”) for a single tri-tip, or a half pan (10×12”) for multiple tri-tips. 


Step 8. After the tri-tip has cooled some, cut against the grain (use your Knuckle Notch for guidance) into cubes, about ¾-1” pieces. Place the cubed meat into the pan with the sauce mixture.


Step 9. Place the pan on the grill. You’ll notice the sauce mixture will begin to boil slightly around the edges. Cooking at this high of a temperature will help reduce the sauce over the next 1.5 hours, thickening and intensifying the flavor.  


After the sauce has thickened, get the toothpicks out and enjoy!