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Tri-Tip Steak Sandwich

Tri-Tip Steak Sandwich

Emily Farris
Texture-wise, tri-tip is one of the best steaks you can get. But if you don’t cook and cut it properly, things can go bad quickly. Tri-tip is technically two different muscles, and the grains run different directions in each. To ensure each bite is tender and juicy, cut the tri-tip in half where the two different grain patterns meet, then slice each piece against the grain. Both the steak and aioli should be prepped the day or night before you plan to make the sandwiches. The tri-tip yields enough meat for four sandwiches, plus leftovers.



  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 heaping teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic mince


  • 1 2- pound tri-tip steak
  • 2 tablespoons Santa Maria–style seasoning or your favorite steak rub
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce


  • 4 ciabatta rolls
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound tri-tip cooked and sliced
  • 8 slices provolone cheese
  • ½ cup fresh baby arugula
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons smoked paprika aioli


  • ►SMOKED PAPRIKA AIOLI: Combine all ingredients in a bowl or jar. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, preferably overnight.
  • ►PREPARE STEAK: Rub all sides of the tri-tip with seasoning and drizzle with olive oil and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.
  • ►COOK STEAK: Set up your charcoal grill with coals under half the grate (or if you have a gas grill, only turn on half the burners.) Sear tri-tip directly over the fire for 8 minutes, 4 minutes per side. Move tri-tip to the side of the grate without coals and cook indirectly for 20 to 30 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 130ºF. Transfer to a plate or cutting board and tent with aluminum foil. Let the meat rest for 15 minutes before cutting, then slice against the grain.
  • ►ASSEMBLE SANDWICHES: Butter one side of the top half of each ciabatta roll, then add 4 ounces sliced tri-tip to the bottom half of each ciabatta roll. Top steak with 2 slices provolone cheese. Add both (separately, top piece buttered side down) to the side of the grill without coals, and cook for 45 to 90 seconds until cheese is melted and bread has just browned. Remove from grill, add equal amounts arugula to each sandwich, and equal amounts aioli to each top bun. Replace the top bun and serve immediately.

Emily Farris

Emily Farris is a food and lifestyle writer in Kansas City, Missouri (where she has three very happy backyard chickens). She’s written for Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Epicurious, Food52, and many other publications.

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