Tri Tip Sandwich

Kent Rollins Tri Tip Sandwich

Howdy and thanks for stopping by the backyard! I’ve got a special treat for y’all today – a tri-tip sandwich. Tri-tip is really popular out in the Western United States, and it is spreading like wildfire. This is a great cut of beef to smoke and put on a sandwich with a delicious, creamy sauce. Get ready, now – you’re going to want to add this recipe to your regular barbecue spread. Let’s get to it.

Tri-Tip Beef

The tri-tip cut comes from the bottom of the sirloin area. Sirloins are known for their great flavor and being lean and tri-tips do not disappoint. Just be sure not to overcook, or they can get a little tough. Tri-tips will have grain running in two different directions. We are going to rub this meat and smoke it, low-and-slow on indirect heat until we reach a temperature about 120 degrees.

Tip: Always slice thin and against the grain for maximum tenderness.

Here’s the Rub

Rub lime juice all over the tri-tip and rub with the spices from the recipe below. If you’ve been with me for a while you know that I love using coriander and sometimes coffee in the rubs for beef roasts. After you cover every single crevice with the rub, you’ll want to put the roast in the ice box to chill for at least 12 hours.

Before you heat up the smoker, remove the tri-tip from the ice box and bring to room temperature.

Tip: I like to use lime juice as a natural tenderizer for steaks, that won’t overpower the flavor.

Check out the Cowboy Kent Ariat Collection

Smoking the Tri-Tip

Clean out the smoker, add some Hardwood Fogo Oak Charcoal and Applewood, and bring to about 250 degrees. Check the temperature of the meat with an internal thermometer and when the temperature gets to about 115, double wrap the roast in peach paper.

Place back in the smoker, seam side down, until the roast gets to about 125. This should only take about 20 minutes or so. Then it’s time to chow down and do your happy dance.

Mix up the Special Sauce

When I was cooking out on the trail, I always tried to make sandwiches hearty and full of flavor. Cowboys work hard all day and need some food that will stick to their ribs, and a plain old sandwich just isn’t going to cut it.

This sauce will take the tri-tip sandwich to the next level. This sauce is so good you’ll want to put it on everything you’ve got. Start with Duke’s mayonnaise, and add some Worcestershire sauce. Mix some horse radish and some minced garlic in. Add sour cream and honey and whisk all together. Add course ground pepper and chill in the ice box so all of those flavors mix together.

Tip: When using horseradish in a sauce, balance it out with something sweet, like honey.

Sandwich Time

When you are making a sandwich, it is the small, extra touches that really kick up the sandwich and make it special. Always take the time to toast the buns, whip up a special sauce, and add layers of flavor. The beauty of making a good sandwich is that there are no rules, and you can make it however you want. Just make it good!

Let the tri-tip cool for about 20 minutes before slicing. Set the buns on the grill for a couple of minutes, while you chop up some red onion and some green leafy lettuce. Load up the bun with sauce, meat, onion, and lettuce and dig in. The crispy crunch from the lettuce and onion will combine with the melty, peppery sauce and tender meat and leave you with a sandwich that will knock your socks off.

Thank y’all once again for stopping by and sharing our food with your family and friends.


Tri Tip Sandwich - Cowboy Kent Rollins

Prep Time 12 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 13 hours 50 minutes


  • 3.5 - 4 lb. tri tip trimmed
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup coffee grounds
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons dry mustard
  • ½ cup coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • ½ cup coriander
  • ½ cup Kent’s Mesquite Seasoning see substitution
  • 8 - 12 Hamburger buns
  • Lettuce for serving
  • Purple onion thinly sliced for serving

Special Sauce

  • 8 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • cup worcestershire sauce
  • 6 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 4 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons coarse ground black pepper


  • Rub the lime juice all over tri tip.
  • In a small bowl, combine the coffee, brown sugar, dry mustard, black pepper, garlic powder, coriander and Mesquite seasoning. Generously rub the seasoning all over the tri tip. Cover and place in the ice box for at least 12 hours.
  • Bring the tri tip out of the icebox about 30 minutes before cooking to let it warm close to room temperature.
  • Heat the grill to approximately 220 to 250 degrees F. I like to use a blend of oak hardwood charcoal and apple wood for flavor. Be sure the grill is cleaned and oiled.
  • Place the tri tip on the indirect heat side. Close the lid and smoke for approximately 30 to 40 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches about 115 degrees F.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the special sauce ingredients above. Cover and let place in the icebox until ready to serve.
  • Remove the tri tip from the grill/smoker and double wrap it in pink butcher paper. Place it back on the indirect side of the heat and cook another 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches about 120 degrees. F.
  • Remove the tri tip from the grill/smoker and let rest about 20 minutes. The internal temperature will climb to about 125 degrees. F. Thinly slice against the grain.
  • Toast the hamburger buns and place about 4 to 6 ounces of meat on top. Layer with lettuce, purple onion and special sauce. Top with the bun and serve.


Tip: let the tri tip cool to room temperature then chill it for about 30 minutes for easier slicing.
Kent's mesquite seasoning is available at or use your favorite...
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