How to Make Smoked Tri-Tip Sandwich (4 Steps to a Succulent Steak Sandwich)

One of my favorite things to make on a Sunday afternoon is a steak sandwich.

People usually use strip or sirloin steak.

But have you tried tri-tip to make your sandwich instead?

Tri-tip might be a little more tricky to cook.

But the taste makes it 100% worth it!

So follow my steps below for the perfect steak sandwich!

What Kind of Cut is Tri Tip?

This cut comes from the bottom of the sirloin and it forms a triangular shape.

Hence, it is called the ‘tri tip’.

Much like any other cut of beef, its texture will become too tough if it’s cooked longer than the recommended time.

Should Your Trim Tri Tip?

Before you smoke your cut of meat, it’s best to make sure that it’s been properly trimmed.

While it may seem like just a simple thing, it can make a very big difference to your final product. 

Trimming down the excess fat on your steak will ensure that it’ll cook more evenly.

And you’ll also reduce the chance of having to deal with fat drippings dropping through your grill grates. 

These not only make your gas grill or smoker harder to clean, but they can also cause your smoker to flare up during your cook.

What Is The Best Bread for a Tri-Tip Sandwich?

You should use either an Italian roll, a French roll, a sub roll, a hoagie roll, or a potato roll for a tri-tip sandwich.

Picking the right read is essential for a great tri-tip sandwich.

You don’t want any too soft or hard.

Too soft and the bread will go soggy and too hard and it will be hard to chew. 

Also, don’t forget to toast the buns!

How Do You Smoke Tri Tip?

You can use leftover tri-tip or smoke a piece, especially for this sandwich.

Below is the rough guide to smoking tri tip, but you can see the detailed recipe for smoked tri tip in 6 steps here.

Once you’ve trimmed, seasoned, and marinated your tri-tip you can begin smoking it.

You’ll want to start by preheating your smoker to 225 ℉.

Depending on the size of your tri-tip, you should expect the smoking time to take around an hour and a half — give or take. 

You should also constantly monitor the internal meat temperature with a meat thermometer.

Tri-tip steak tastes the best when it’s medium-rare, so we’d recommend taking it off the heat when it reaches 135 ℉.

That way, it can have a finishing temperature that’s close to 140 ℉.

What Wood Is Best for Smoking Tri Tip?

Tri-tip goes well with oak wood, alder wood, or even mesquite!

Red meat can handle the stronger types of wood.

What Temperature to Cook The Tri Tip At?

You want to cook your tri-tip at 225°F.

Depending on the size of your tri-tip, you should expect the smoking time to take around an hour and a half — give or take. 

How Long to Cook Tri Tip?

If you’re looking to cook a medium-rare tri-tip steak, then you should take it off the heat as soon as the meat hits 140 ℉.

And if you’re looking to serve it well done then just wait until the tri-tip has an internal temperature of 165 ℉.

How to Slice Tri Tip

Here is how to cut a tri-tip steak step by step:

Step 1: You’ll need to make the cut of meat off of the smoker and let it rest for at least 10 minutes.

Step 2: A tri-tip cut has one long side and a shorter side. You’ll be able to pinpoint where these two parts meet up. The grain of the meat will be slightly different here, so just cut the piece in half.

Step 3: Next, you’ll need to observe the direction of the grain for each piece. Take your knife and begin to slice perpendicular to the grain. It is best to make sure your slices are on the thinner side.

It is important to note that you shouldn’t cut straight down. Hold your knife at a slight angle and cut on a bias.

A Delicious Rub for Tri Tip

We have a very simple recipe for a great dry rub that we’d like to share.

The dry rub ingredients that you will need are;

  • Rosemary
  • Crushed black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt

What You Need for Tri Tip Sandwich

To create this epic tri-tip sandwich you will need:

Beef tri-tip roast

Olive oil

Red wine vinegar

 Whole grain mustard or dry mustard

4 bread rolls (preferably ciabatta rolls)

Creamy horseradish sauce or some delicious mustard aioli

Slices of cheese

Fried onions or caramelized onions

Step by Step Guide for Our Classic Tri-tip Sandwich Recipe

Step 1: Make The Rub

You’ll want to begin by grabbing a bowl and mixing all of your dry ingredients for the dry rub.

Step 2: Marinade The Tri Tip

Wash your hands and tear off a big piece of plastic wrap. You’ll be using this to wrap your marinated tri-tip.

After you’ve done that, just place the cut of meat into the fridge for a minimum of three hours to a maximum of 24 hours.

Step 3: Season The Meat

Next, simply rub the dry rub all over your piece of tri-tip.

Make sure to cover all of the sides so that all of that flavor just seeps into the meat.

Step 4: Once you’re ready to cook the meat, just take it out of the fridge and unwrap it.

Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into a bowl and begin brushing this oil over your entire tri-tip.

After this, you can begin smoking it at 225 ℉ until the meat’s internal temperature is at 135 ℉

Step 5: While that’s smoking, grab another bowl and mix the red wine vinegar, olive oil, and whole grain mustard or dry mustard.

This will be the basting marinade. 

Step 6: Take the tri tip off the heat as soon as it gets to the temperature of 135 ℉.

Go ahead and brush on your homemade basting marinade.

Step 7: Preheat a cast iron over medium-high heat and sear for 1-2 minutes per side.

Step 8: Tent and rest for 15 minutes and then slice. 

Step 9: Slice your cool cooked tri-tip roast into quarter-inch or half-inch slices.

Step 9: Like toast your bread rolls, then cut them into the half with a serrated bread knife. A sharp knife will work too. 

Step 10: Spread the horseradish sauce into both bread halves, then top one half with three to four slices of meat.

Add on some cheese, then place the whole thing into an oven. Be sure to take it out once the cheese melts. 

Step 11: Finish everything off by placing on the fried or caramelized onions, then close the sandwich with the other bread half. And you’re done!

Can You Use Leftover Tri Tip?

You can just as easily make it with any leftover tri-tip meat you may have in your fridge.

You can just cover the leftover meat in some basting marinade, then place it in the oven or on a grill for a little while.

After that, just slice your tri-tip leftovers nicely and place them on some nicely toasted bread buns. 

Classic Tri Tip Sandiwch

This juicey tri tip sandwich recipe will keep you asking for more!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Marinating Time3 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 5 mins
Course: lunch, main
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Author: Charlie

Equipment

  • Pitboss Grill

Ingredients

Dry Rub Ingredients

  • Rosemary
  • Crushed Black Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Kosher Salt

Tri Tip

  • 2 lb beef tri-tip roast
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Basting Marinade

  • 1/3 cup of Red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of whole grain mustard or dry mustard

Assembly

  • 8 slices of cheese
  • A cup of creamy horseradish sauce or some delicious mustard aioli
  • A cup of fried onions or caramelized onions
  • 4 bread rolls preferably ciabatta rolls

Instructions

  • You’ll want to begin by grabbing a bowl and mixing all of your dry ingredients for the dry rub.
  • Next, simply rub the dry rub all over your piece of tri-tip. Make sure to cover all of the sides so that all of that flavor just seeps into the meat.
  • Wash your hands and tear off a big piece of plastic wrap. You’ll be using this to wrap your marinated tri-tip. After you’ve done that, just place the cut of meat into the fridge for a minimum of three hours to a maximum of 24 hours.
  • Once you’re ready to cook the meat, just take it out of the fridge and unwrap it. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into a bowl and begin brushing this oil over your entire tri-tip. After this, you can begin smoking it at 225 ℉ until the meat’s internal temperature is at 135 ℉
  • While that’s smoking, grab another bowl and mix the red wine vinegar, olive oil, and whole grain mustard or dry mustard. This will be the basting marinade.
  • Take the tri tip off the heat as soon as it gets to the temperature of 135 ℉. Go ahead and brush on your homemade basting marinade.
  • Preheat a cast iron over medium-high heat and sear for 1-2 minutes per side.
  • Tent and rest for 15 minutes and then slice.
  • Slice your cool cooked tri-tip roast into quarter-inch or half-inch slices.
  • Like toast your bread rolls, then cut them into the half with a serrated bread knife. A sharp knife will work too.
  • Spread the horseradish sauce into both bread halves, then top one half with three to four slices of meat. Add on some cheese, then place the whole thing into an oven. Be sure to take it out once the cheese melts.
  • Finish everything off by placing on the fried or caramelized onions, then close the sandwich with the other bread half. And you’re done!

Hope you enjoy those juicy tri-tip sandwiches!

Smoke On!

Charlie

Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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