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Tri-Tip Steak Sandwich

With Caramelized Onions & Horseradish Cream Sauce

Serves 8 to 10

Cook Time 90 Minutes

Prep time: 3 hours

For the caramelized onions:

  • 4 jumbo yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Kosher salt, for seasoning

For the horseradish cream sauce:

  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup prepared horseradish
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest, from about 1 large lemon
  • Dash Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the steak and sandwiches:

  • 4 tablespoons ground coffee
  • 2 heaping tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle pepper
  • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 pounds tri-tip, trimmed and sliverskin removed
  • 8 French bread rolls, preferably New Orleans style
  • Swiss cheese slices
  • 1 bunch watercress

The tri-tip is one of the most flavorful and versatile cuts of meat. Using a great dry rub paired with sweet caramelized onions and the unique heat of horseradish cream sauce make this a completely unique and fan favorite at any event. We first started making this as an afterthought because usually we had leftover tri-tip and the next day it was perfect to make a quick sandwich.


Technique tip: Sear the trip-tip on high heat then place on the cool side of the grill and finish cooking on indirect heat.


Swap option: Use maple syrup instead of honey for the onions, veggie oil instead of olive oil and any type of lettuce instead of watercress. Use BBQ or even a mustard based sauces instead of horseradish.


For the caramelized onions:


Thinly slice onions and separate into rounds. Place in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, a drizzle of local honey and sea salt. Then add the butter on top and let melt down into the onions. Continue to cook down until the onions are somewhat transparent, gooey and quite sticky with some of the ends crispy. Remove from heat and set aside.


For the horseradish cream sauce:


In a bowl, add all the ingredients and stir to mix well. Set aside.


For the dry rub:


In a small bowl, add all the ingredients and stir to combine well.


For the steak:


  1. Coat the tri-tip with the dry rub, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least 3 hours (could be up to a day). Remove and let set at room temperature for 30 minutes before transferring to the grill.
  2. Heat grill to 500°F.
  3. Sear meat on both sides for approximately 5-6 minutes. Remove from direct heat and place on the indirect side of the grill or reduce heat to medium-high (approximately 350°F). Continue to cook until internal temperature reaches 130°F, approximately 20-25 minutes.
  4. Place tri-tip on cutting board and let rest for 12-15 minutes before thinly slicing (across the grain). Then sprinkle with a little more kosher salt.


To assemble:


Drizzle the bottom of the New Orleans French bread, drizzle with the horseradish sauce and top with the meat, cheese, watercress and a final drizzle of the sauce.