Grilled Tri Tip Sandwich | Spoon Fork Bacon

Our recipe for this Tri Tip Sandwich is so easy and crazy delicious! Filled with juicy and flavorful slices of grilled tri tip, melted cheese, thinly sliced red onions, and sandwiched between two thick slices of ciabatta, it’s one of our favorite sandwiches!

Tri tip sandwiches with the top off and some grilled ciabatta on the side.

I love a good Tri Tip Sandwich. The very first time I ever had tri tip was in a sandwich, from Cold Spring Tavern. It’s a hidden gem in Santa Barbara, in the woods right off the I-154, that only serve their grilled tri tip sandwiches on the weekends. I instantly became hooked and ended up going there dozens of time during my four years living in Santa Barbara.

Our sandwich today is inspired by Cold Spring’s tri tip sandwich, that I’ve loved for years. We made a couple tweaks to suit our taste, but have still kept the sandwich pretty simple so the flavor of the tri tip really shines through.

What is Tri Tip?

Tri tip is a full flavor (and lower in fat) cut of beef at the very bottom of the sirloin. The name comes from its triangle shape and its bottom “tip” location of the sirloin.

A tri tip sandwich usually consists of sliced tri tip, caramelized onions and creamy horseradish sauce. For our version, we like to use a grilled or toasted bread with a soft interior and crusty exterior (such as ciabatta or hoagie roll). We also like adding slices of melty cheese to our sandwiches.

How to Make Our Tri Tip Sandwich

Tri Tip Ingredients

Tri tip roast, 2.5 pounds with olive oil.

Tri Tip Dry Rub

Ingredients for tri-tip dry rub shot overhead.

Basting Ingredients

Ingredients for a tri-tip basting marinade.

Sandwich Assembly

Ingredients to make a tri tip sandwich. Including ciabatta rolls cheese and onion

Process

  1. Place all dry rub ingredients into a small mixing bowl and whisk together.
  2. Generously sprinkle mixture over the tri tip and rub all over the meat.
  1. Tightly wrap tri tip in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours. This will allow all the flavor to infuse into the meat. 
  2. Unwrap meat and gently pat dry. Brush with 1 tablespoon of oil
  1. Place all basting ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk together. The basting marinade will help to keep the beef moist while it cooks, as well as add a bright and tangy flavor to the beef.
  2. Preheat grill to 375˚F or place grill pan over medium-high heat and preheat oven to 350˚F. Add tri tip and sear for 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and continue to sear for 3 to 4 minutes. Lower heat to 350˚F (or medium heat) and baste roast with basting marinade. Flip and baste other side of the roast, then close grill lid. (If cooking on stovetop, place beef in oven at this time). Continue to flip and baste beef every 8 minutes for about 16 minutes for medium-rare or for 22 minutes for medium.
  1. Remove tri tip from grill or oven. Allow beef to rest for 6 to 8 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board. It’s important to allow the beef to rest so the juices can redistribute.
  2. Thinly slice beef into 1/4-1/2″ pieces for tri tip sandwich.
  1. Spread tops and bottom of rolls with creamy horseradish sauce.
  2. Top bottom rolls with a few slices of beef.
  1. Top each with 2 slices of provolone cheese.
  2. Place sandwiches until a broiler for 1 to 2 minutes, until cheese melts.
  1. Top each sandwich with red onions.
Grilled tri tip sandwich with caramelized onions on top.
  1. Gently press roll tops over each sandwich. Serve!
Grilled tri tip sandwich on a cutting board.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions

Make Ahead

The tri tip can be made up to two days ahead of time. (It’s best to slightly undercook the beef so that it doesn’t overcook when reheating). Once beef has cooled completely, tightly wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

When ready to use, unwrap beef from plastic wrap and place onto a baking sheet. Heat in oven, at 350˚F, for 10 to 15 minutes or until beef has just heated through. Remove from oven and allow beef to rest, about 8 minutes. Thinly slice and assemble sandwiches.

Freezing

We recommend tightly wrapping the beef after rubbing with the dry rub. Then place the wrapped beef in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 6 months. When ready to use transfer beef (still wrapped) to the refrigerator and thaw overnight. Unwrap and pat dry, then cook according to recipe instructions.

What Else Can Be Added to the Tri Tip Sandwich

We like keeping our sandwich simple, to really let the flavor of the beef shine through, but when we’re feeling extra some of our favorite additions are:

  • juicy, ripe tomato slices (sprinkled with a little sea salt)
  • shredded iceberg lettuce
  • sliced pepperoncini peppers (or some giardiniera!)

More Delicious Sandwich Recipes You Will Love

An assembly line for making tri tip sandwiches with all of the ingredients.
Grilled open face sandwich with tri-tip, cheese and onion.

Tri Tip Sandwich

Our recipe for this Tri Tip Sandwich is so easy and crazy delicious! Filled with juicy and flavorful slices of grilled tri tip, melted cheese, thinly sliced red onions, and sandwiched between two thick slices of ciabatta, it’s one of our favorite sandwiches!

PRINT RECIPE

Prep Time: 5 mins

Cook Time: 40 mins

Marinating Time: 3 hrs

Total Time: 3 hrs 45 mins

Servings: 4 sandwiches

  INSTRUCTIONS  

  • Place all dry rub ingredients into a small mixing bowl and whisk together. Generously sprinkle mixture over the tri tip and rub all over the meat.

  • Tightly wrap tri tip in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.

  • Unwrap tri tip and gently pat dry. Brush with 1 tablespoon of oil.

  • Place all basting ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk together.

  • Preheat grill to 375˚F or place grill pan over medium-high heat and preheat oven to 350˚F.

  • Add tri tip and sear for 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and continue to sear for 3 to 4 minutes.

  • Lower heat to 350˚F (or medium heat) and baste roast with basting marinade. Flip and baste other side of the roast, then close grill lid. (If cooking on stovetop, place tri tip in oven at this time).

  • Continue to flip and baste tri tip every 8 minutes for about 24 minutes for medium-rare or for 32 minutes for medium.

  • Remove tri tip from grill or oven and transfer to a cutting board. Allow beef to rest for 6 to 8 minutes.

  • Thinly slice tri-tip into 1/4-1/2″ pieces.

  • To assemble: Spread tops and bottom of rolls with creamy horseradish sauce. Top bottom rolls with a few slices of tri tip and top each with 2 slices of provolone cheese.

  • Place sandwiches until a broiler for 1 to 2 minutes, until cheese melts. Top each sandwich with red onions and gently press roll tops over each sandwich. Serve.

  NOTES  

  • Make Ahead: The tri tip can be made up to two days ahead of time. (It’s best to slightly undercook the beef so that it doesn’t overcook when reheating). Once tri tip has cooled completely, tightly wrap tri tip in plastic wrap and refrigerate. When ready to use, unwrap beef from plastic wrap and place onto a baking sheet. Heat tri tip in oven, at 350˚F, for 10 to 15 minutes or until beef has just heated through. Remove from oven and allow beef to rest, about 8 minutes. Thinly slice and assemble sandwiches.
  • Freezing: We recommend tightly wrapping the tri tip after rubbing with the dry rub. Then place the wrapped beef in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 6 months. When ready to use transfer beef (still wrapped) to the refrigerator and thaw overnight. Unwrap tri tip and pat dry, then cook according to recipe instructions.

Calories: 967kcal Carbohydrates: 42g Protein: 75g Fat: 55g Saturated Fat: 18g Cholesterol: 210mg Sodium: 2555mg Potassium: 1258mg Fiber: 5g Sugar: 7g Vitamin A: 950IU Vitamin C: 18mg Calcium: 415mg Iron: 6mg

CUISINE: American

KEYWORD: grilled, sandwich, tri tip

COURSE: dinner, lunch, Main Course