Smoked Tri-Tip Sandwich with Chimichurri Sauce

5 from 4 votes
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This smoked Tri-Tip sandwich recipe makes for a meaty sandwich, sliders for a crowd, or a great leftovers idea. Cook up the roast, slice, and add a tangy and herbal chimichurri sauce. Finish with some greens and onions and you have a flavorful toasty bread steak sandwich.

Tri Tip Steak Sandwich with a beer.
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Recipe Highlights

  • Easy to substitute any cut of tender beef but tri tip is our favorite.
  • Modify with raw red onions, caramelized onions, or your favorite pickled peppers. It’s so simple to customize.
  • Serve this Tri Tip Sandwich with slider buns for a crowd-pleasing appetizer.

Tri-Tip is a Great Option for a Steak Sandwich

It is a fulfilling and satisfying lunch to eat a tri-tip sandwich. The tri-tip will provide you with enough beef for a mile-high pile of beef strips. Take a bun and stuff it full of the ingredients.

A tri-tip sandwich is an exclusive treat we have in store for you today. In the Western United States, tri-tip is extremely well-liked and is catching on like wildfire. With a tasty, creamy sauce, this is a fantastic cut of beef to smoke and serve on a sandwich. Get prepared because you’ll want to include this tri-tip sandwiches recipe in your typical BBQ menu. Let’s start now.

Ingredients

This recipe starts with good quality tri tip and good quality bread. And when it comes to picking a bread you want it to be easy to bite into.

  • Focus on softer breads like brioche, hoagie rolls, ciabatta rolls, or a rustic sliced loaf (our preference).
  • Baguettes or French bread can be rough to bite into and hard to toast up on a stove top.
  • For the filling of the sandwich use a fresh chimichurri sauce, layer of red onion, arugula, and pickled red peppers.

It’s an easy recipe to make because the main star is the beef and the sauce. For seasoning you can use a simple rub like our salt, pepper, and garlic (or SPG) rub or you can use our beef seasoning with herbal notes and a little heat. Coat the roast in olive oil and then liberally apply the seasoning which would be roughly 3 tablespoons.

Chimichurri Sauce

A chimichurri sauce is like a South American Pesto or French Pistou. It’s primary ingredient are fresh parsley, garlic, and shallots, and then olive oil. You can do like the traditionalists and chop everything by hand. Or you can do like us and toss all of your ingredients into a food processor and pulse a few times, saving your hands the job of chopping. Ours is a nod to Argentina (which means no cilantro) with some of the following ingredients:

  • Parsley
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Red Chili Pepper
  • Oregano
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

A little bit of the sauce goes a long way for lots of sandwiches so plan on one cup of chimichurri sauce for four sandwiches. About the same if you do a tray of tri-tip sliders. If you love heat then tri our  jalapeño chimichurri for even more goodness.

Roast

Tri-Tip is a lean cut of meat that is located toward the base of the sirloin. When butchered from the surrounding tissue, the cut has a distinct triangle shape, thus the “tri” in the name. A tri tip roast flavor profile is typically tender (versus tough) with marbling throughout the cut. This makes it a great option when selecting a beef cut for a sandwich.

Wagyu Tri Tip

Alternatively a top sirloin, strip steak, or flat iron are great options for this recipe.

Cooking

For this sandwich we like smoked tri tip for a little extra flavor. You can use a grilled tri tip as well and it’s just as juicy. We have a full guide on how to grill tri tip.

  1. Prepare the grill for smoking targeting 250 degrees Fahrenheit. We recommend using oak or a fruit wood.
  2. Place the seasoned tri tip on In the smoker and smoke for 45 minutes to one hour. We like rare to medium rare and target 125 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit using a good instant read thermometer.
  3. Let the tri-tip roast rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Tri Tip on the smoker

Recommended Thermometer: Thermapen One

Alternative Ways To Cook

Slicing

Tri-Tip has two different directions in which it needs to be sliced because of the way the grains lay. It’s important to slice against (or perpendicular to) the grain to avoid breaking the cells and drying out the sandwich.

On a cutting board start at the thin end and make pencil thin slices against the grain. As the cuts get closer to the center of the roast, rotate the roast to cut against the grains on the opposite end and finish the slicing.

Cutting against the grains for this sandwich is important as it helps keep the delicious texture when biting into the steak when it’s in a roll and avoids it being chewy, or pulling the entire slice out as you bite into the sandwich.

Building the Sandwich

  1. Start by toasting the sliced bread. Preheat flat griddle or large skillet to medium heat. Apply one side of the bread with olive oil or butter and place that side on the hot pan. Move around the pan gently for 2 minutes or until it is lightly toasted.
  2. Coat the non toasted side with a layer of the chimichurri, then add the sliced tri-tip. Top with onions, arugula, and hot pickled peppers and add the top of the sandwich bread. Cut and serve.

If using buns or sliders you can warm them in an oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes so they are soft. Then cut them in half and layer the sandwiches which is great when making these for a crowd.

Wine Pairing Ideas

First, this goes great with beer but if looking for wine most folks will recommend red wine with smoked steak. But doused in this bright sauce with all its herbaceous and acidic flavors opens it up to white wine.

White wine with steak? You betcha! Look for something with strong herbal and lemony characteristics that mimic the sauce, like crisp acidic Sauvignon Blanc or herbal Grüner Veltliner. Since the meat is sandwiched between lots of this sauce and two thick pieces of bread, it won’t be the main focus here nor get in the way of enjoying a crisp white wine.

But since the Argentineans are credited with inventing this heavenly sauce you can honor them by serving it with the traditional pairing for this dish — an Argentinean Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Holding a tri tip sandwich in my hand.

Other Sandwich Recipes

This post was originally published in October of 2014 and updated in July 2022 with new photos, reader feedback, recipe steps, and details for seasoning.

About Vindulge

Mary (a certified sommelier and recipe developer) and Sean (backyard pitmaster) are co-authors of the critically acclaimed cookbook, Fire + Wine, and have been creating content for the IACP nominated website Vindulge since 2009. They live in Oregon on a farm just outside Portland.

Tri Tip Steak Sandwich
5 from 4 votes

Tri Tip Sandwich Recipe with Chimichurri

Smoky tri-tip thinly sliced and topped with amazing chimichurri sauce on a role. Great for a crowd or even mini sliders.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 4 sandwiches
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Ingredients 

Instructions 

Smoked Tri Tip

  • Preheat smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit using oak or fruit wood like apple or cherry.
  • Coat roast in olive oil and season the roast with the beef seasoning.
  • Place the seasoned tri tip in the smoker and smoke for 45 minutes to one hour. We like rare to medium rare and target 125 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit using a good instant read thermometer.
  • Remove from smoker and let rest 10 minutes. Then slice thinly against the grains.

Tri Tip Sandwiches

  • Start by toasting the sliced bread. Preheat flat griddle or large skillet to medium heat. Apply one side of the bread with olive oil or butter and place that side on the hot pan. Move around the pan gently for 2 minutes or until it is lightly toasted.
  • Coat the non toasted side with a layer of the chimichurri, then add the sliced tri-tip. Top with onions, arugula, and hot pickled peppers and add the top of the sandwich bread. Cut and serve.

Notes

Note: The chimichurri adds a lot of flavor, the red onion and arugula add additional texture and some heat. 
Gas Grill: We recommend you grill if using gas. Set one burner to medium-high heat. Grill the tri tip direct over the flame for 5 minutes (or until you see a nice crust) and then flip and continue to grill direct an additional 5 minutes. Then move to the side with no flame (indirect) and cook until it reaches your desired internal temperature.
Alternatively you can use our guide on how to smoke on a gas grill for this recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 598kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 51g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 147mg | Sodium: 245mg | Potassium: 1068mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1632IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 264mg | Iron: 9mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Course: dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American, bbq, sandwich
Servings: 4 sandwiches
Calories: 598
Keyword: chimichurri ideas, Chimichurri Sauce in the Food Processor, smoked tri tip, smoked tri tip sandwich recipe, tri tip sandwich, tri tip sandwich recipe
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mary cressler headshot

Vindulge

About Mary


I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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13 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious recipe! I’ve served it for many dinner parties. The meat has held temperature for over an hour wrapped in foil and kitchen towels in a casserole cozy or cooler. The chimichurri is perfect with the trip tip.

  2. Love, love, love chimichurri sauce! You have inspired me to start putting it on everything.