Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Smoked Tri-Tip Sandwich with Beer Cheese Horseradish Sauce

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received no compensation for this post. I am an affiliate seller. 

Last weekend, I was shocked to see that my local grocery store had some nice-looking beef tri-tip. They were richly marbled and at a reasonable price, so I didn't hesitate to buy one. 

My game plan was to smoke it, sear it, and then slice it up for some killer roast beef sandwiches the next day. I love it when a plan comes together.

Roast Beef Tri Tip Sandwich Beer Cheese Horseradish Sauce
Shaved smoked beef tri-tip, fried onions, and beer cheese horseradish sauce on an onion roll.

I used sharp white Vermont cheddar in the sauce because I needed something bold to compete with the horseradish. I could just drink this sauce.

The recipe is below all the notes and pictures.

The Prep

The prep was simple. I made a basic rub with salt, pepper, garlic, and smoked red chiles. I lightly oiled the roast, seasoned it, and put it into the smoker.

Certified Angus Beef® Brand Tri-Tip
The good: The Certified Angus Beef® Brand lets me know I am getting quality beef that will be tender and juicy. The bad: That poor tip was lopped off. I just wanted to put this here so you would know that I didn't do that to that poor tri-tip. Alexis joked that since it was missing a tip, it's no longer tri-tip. 😆

That's the kind of marbling I've come to expect from C.A.B.
That's the kind of marbling I've come to expect from C.A.B.

How I cook tri-tip on the Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX
Coarse kosher salt, 16-mesh black pepper (dustless), granulated garlic, and smoked red chiles were enough to power up this beef.

The most time-consuming prep was making the fried onions. I sliced sweet Vidalia onions on a mandoline. I dusted them with seasoned flour.....

Thermoworks TimeStick is a handy tool for the grill and kitchen.
I let them go for 90 seconds at 350°f in the deep fryer. I always keep a Thermoworks TimeStick or TimeStick Trio by my grills and in the kitchen. Seriously, I have 5 of these. If you've seen me cooking at an Eggfest, then you've seen me with one of these on a lanyard around my neck. 

Sure, I could have bought a can of fried onions, but a delicious sandwich deserves better than that, don't you think?

The Grill Set-Up

I used my Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX pellet grill for this cook using an Oak-Hickory-Cherry blend of pellets. I picked this grill to use, in part, because it is easy to switch from smoke to sear. But mainly because I was lazy and didn't feel like managing a fire this morning.

Reverse searing beef tri-tip on the Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX
Normally I smoke at 250-290°f, but today I ran this at 225°f because I wanted to maximize the small roast's time in the smoke.

Set up for cooking tri tip on the Oklahoma Joe's Pellet grill
The grill is already set up for indirect heat so that pan below the roast is just for catching drippings. I like to keep my grills relatively clean.

The wire under the roast is the air temp probe for my remote probe thermometer. The grill already has a thermometer but it is mounted on the sidewall and uses algorithms to estimate the cooking temperature. I like to have a direct reading near (but not too close) the meat. 

The specific unit I used is the Thermoworks Smoke. It's a 2 channel remote probe thermometer so it can monitor two temps at one time, such as the cooking temperature and the internal meat temperature. My main motivation for using this specific one today is that it has a remote. Remember, I was feeling lazy? I didn't want to keep running downstairs to check my temps.

The Cook

The cook was uneventful in a good way. The smoke took about 2 hours for the meat to hit an internal temperature of 127°f, and during the rest, it rose to a max temperature of 133°f - perfect medium-rare. Then I just seared it for about 1 minute a side. Easy peasy. 

If you're going to buy a remote probe thermometer, I highly recommend getting one that data logs your max and min temperatures. That info comes in handy, like knowing how hot your food got while resting.

Let's switch this baby into sear gear!

Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX cooking up a nice tri-tip
I seared it at 500-525°f.

If you wait to let the carry-over cooking start to fall during the rest, there's almost no way you will raise the internal temperature at all during the sear. That's the way the originator of the reverse-sear intended.

Freshly seared tri-tip, anyone?

The Results

We all agreed that this was some of the best roast beef we've ever done. The smoked red chiles and black pepper gave it a real kick. You could taste the smoke. It was as tender as could be. The sauce was what we call "to die for" here in East Tennessee.

Sticking it in the fridge makes it easy to slice this up for deli-style roast beef.

Shaved tri-tip! I estimate 5-6 pieces were lost to "quality control sampling" at this point.

I did two passes with the sauce because I love that sting of horseradish.

Man oh man, was this sandwich fantastic. The beer cheese horseradish sauce, crispy fried onions, and smoky, tender beef were amazing.

Published 08/04/2021

Thinly sliced smoked beef tri-tip with a rich and creamy beer cheese sauce that has the slight sting of horseradish.


  • 2 pound beef tri-tip roast
  • high-temperature cooking oil such as canola, peanut, etc
  • 4 onion rolls, toasted
  • 1 cup fried onions
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese (optional)
For the rub
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper, preferably a dustless 16 mesh grind
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I used Smoking Goat Red)
For the Beer Cheese Horseradish Sauce
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon leftover rub 


  1. Preheat the smoker. Preheat the smoker at 225°f.  
  2. Prep the beef. Mix the salt, pepper, garlic, and cayenne together. Lightly coat the beef with high heat cooking oil and season it heavily with the rub. Retrain the leftover rub for the sauce.
  3. Smoke and Sear the beef. Place the beef in the smoker and smoke until the beef reaches an internal temperature of 127°f. Remove from heat and let it rest until the internal temperature quits rising and begins to fall, about 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, set the grill up for direct heat and raise the temperature to 500°f. Sear the tri-tip on all sides, until you get a slight char. Rest and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Make the sauce. Melt butter over medium-high heat in a small saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook until it is combined into the butter and it gives off a fragrant, nutty aroma. While continuing to whisk, slowly add in the half and half until it is fully combined. Stir in the beer, horseradish, and rub. Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste.
  5. Slice the beef across the grain. We sliced ours with a meat slicer that had the blade width set barely above zero. 
  6. Build Sandwiches. Top the bottom of each onion roll with 4-6 ounces of shaved roast beef tri-tip and a slice of Swiss (if using). Drizzle with some of the sauce. Top with fried onions and of course, the bun top. Enjoy!

Yield: 4-6 servings

Prep Time: 00 hrs. 10 mins.

Cook time: 2 hrs. 15 mins.

Total time: 25 mins.

Tags: roast beef,