I recently had the opportunity to do some recipe creation for Coca-Cola and got to film the recipe for a spot that aired on NBC during a NASCAR race. On top of that I got to hang out with two NASCAR drivers, Bubba Wallace and Daniel Suarez. I actually did three recipes. One of the other recipes was Ancho Coffee Wings with Adobo Honey Butter can be found here. I’m still working on the write up for the third recipe that goes long with the Ancho Wings and these Mesquite Smoked Tri Tip Tacos. 

Mesquite Smoked Tri Tip Tacos

You can see the video spot that aired on NBC here with all three recipes:

Now on to this recipe, Mesquite smoked Tri-Tip Tacos which also has a lime sour creme. This recipe was supposed to be inspired by Texas which is what Coca-Cola asked for. Beef is king in Texas. And since these are tailgating recipes, I decided to skip going with brisket as most people don’t head down to the parking lot 15 hours early to make a brisket. So I went with tri tip to save considerable time and still have that required Texas beef.

Mesquite smoked tri tip tacos ingredients:

  • 1 tri tip, about 1.5-2.5 lbs
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Your favorite BBQ rub
  • Flour tortilla shells
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Juice of one lime
  • Fresh grated cotija cheese

How to Grill Tri Tip

The ideal way to grill tri tip is to simply season it (salt, pepper, garlic) and then smoke indirect to about 10F degrees short of your target temperature (which should be at least medium rare) and then crank up the grill and sear to get a beautiful flavor crust and bring it up that last 10F degrees. See below for step by step, pic by pic, foolproof grilling instructions.

First up, season up the tri tip by hitting it with salt, pepper and your favorite BBQ rub. Then prep the grill for two zone grilling with coals on one side and nothing on the other. Put the meat on the side with no heat and some smoke wood on the coals, in this case mesquite. Or in the case of my Char-Griller AKORN, I put the smokin’ stone between the coals (and smoke wood) and my seasoned tri tip:

Mesquite Smoked Tri Tip Tacos
Target temp inside the cooker is 250 degrees

Now go prepare the tortillas by brushing one side of the tortillas with oil and set aside until after we finish the tri tip.

How to Make Lime Sour Cream

While the tri tip is smoking, which will be 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the tri tip and heat of the fire, make the lime sour cream. Simply squeeze one lime over a cup of sour cream and put in a sauce squirt bottle like one you would put ketchup or mustard in:

Mesquite Smoked Tri Tip Tacos

When the tri tip hits 110F internal (about 30-45 minutes), pull it from the grill and crank up the heat. Sear it all the way around and it should hit around 135 or in this case 138 according to my trusty (and must have item for any grillmaster) Thermapen:

Mesquite Smoked Tri Tip Tacos

Set the tri tip aside and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

How to Grill Tortillas

We always want to double grill the tortillas. Basically brown on both sides to make them super crispy.

While the tri tip is resting, slap those tortilla shells on the hot coals, oiled side down and brush the top of the tortillas with oil:

Mesquite Smoked Tri Tip Tacos

Don’t walk away from these for a second. They will brown in no time. Keep checking the underside to of the tortillas:

Mesquite Smoked Tri Tip Tacos

Once the tortillas are browned on each side, pull them from the grill, carve the tri tip, and fill the shells with some mesquite smoked beef and optional peppers and cilantro, then hit the tacos with the lime sour cream and sprinkle with fresh grated cotija cheese:

Mesquite Smoked Tri Tip Tacos
And of course pair it with an ice cold Coke

Mesquite Smoked Tri Tip Tacos Run Down

I know some folks are clamoring for corn tortillas, but they took forever to cook and just didn’t have the crunch we were looking for that the wheat tortillas delivered. Reverse seared tri tip is so good in a taco or not. The crew mowed down the steak so fast after we finished shooting.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email 

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Mesquite Smoked, Tri Tip Tacos

Reverse seared tri tip, smoked with mesquite wood, stuffed into grilled taco shells and slathered with lime sour cream
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Course: Entree, Finger Food, Main Course
Cuisine: Barbecue, BBQ, Finger Food, Grilling, Mexican, South American, Southwest, Tacos
Keyword: #Grilled, Barbecue, BBQ, Beef, Charcoal, Charcoal Grill, Grill, Grill Steak, Grilled Steak, Grilled Tacos, Grilled Tortillas, Grilling, Indirect Grilling, Kamado, Kamado Grill, Mesquite, Mesquite Smoked, Recipe, reverse sear, reverse seared, Reverse Seared Tri Tip, Smoker, Smoking, Steak, Steak Tacos, Tacos, Tortillas, Tri Tip, Tri Tip Roast, Tri Tip Steak, Tri Tip Tacos, Two Zone Grilling
Servings: 6 People


  • 1.5 - 2.5 lb beef tri-tip roast
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • your favorite BBQ rub
  • flour tortilla shell
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp lime juice (from 1 lime)
  • cotija cheese fresh grated


  • Season the tri tip with salt, pepper and your favorite BBQ rub
  • Set up the grill for 2 zone grilling and smoke the tri tip at 250 until it reaches an internal temp of 110 degrees
  • While the tri tip is smoking slather one side of the tortillas with the olive oil and mix up the lime sour cream
  • Once the tri tip reaches an internal temperature of 110, remove the roast from the grill and crank up the heat
  • When the grill is raging hot, sear the tri tip on both sides until the it reaches an internal temperature of 135-145
  • Remove from the heat and let rest
  • While the tri tip is resting, slap the tortillas on the grill, oiled side down and oil the tops
  • Brown the tortillas on each side and then stuff with sliced tri tip, some optional peppers and cilantro and drizzle with the sour cream
  • Sprinkle with fresh grated cotija cheese



Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

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