Tri Tip Tacos1

What is tri tip? Well first and foremost, it’s steak. It’s the bottom part of the sirloin subprimal cut of beef. It’s somewhat triangular which gives it three points or tips, thus tri tip:

Tri Tip Tacos 2
Three Points, Tri Points, Tri Tips

Now when I think of steak, my first inclination is not sirloin. Far from it. Sirloin is pretty far down the list behind rib eye, teres major, strip, porterhouse, flat iron, flank, and skirt. Sirloin generally isn’t as tender or as flavorful as those other cuts due to the lack of fat. But a tri tip, being a roast generally between 1.5 and 2.5 lbs, for some reason is much more tender than sirloin cut into steaks. And let’s face it, chewy beef would be a nightmare for tacos. You’ll wind up with a mouthful of stringy beef and an empty taco. So just trust me on this one.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get to the tri tip tacos.

Tri Tip Tacos Ingredients:

  • 2 lb tri tip roast
  • 1 package taco seasoning, divided
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 3 chili peppers
  • 1 onion
  • salt and black pepper
  • tortillas
  • shredded cheese

First, trim any heavy globs of fat from the trip tip and then get it into a taco seasoning marinade:

Tri Tip Tacos 3
Let’s get a marinade going

Place the beef in a resealable plastic bag with half the oil and taco seasoning, working the oil and seasoning into a paste that completely coats the tri tip. Place in the fridge for 4-24 hours.

When ready to grill tackle the peppers and onions:

Tri Tip Tacos 4
The rest of the Ingredients

Quarter the bell peppers, removing the stems, seeds and white flesh. Halve the chili peppers, also removing the stems, seeds and white flesh. Finally slice the onions into thick wedges as seen above. Then bust out some of these:

Tri Tip Tacos 5

Take those skewers and slide them into the sides of the thick onion slices:

Tri Tip Tacos 6
Skewered Onions

Then snip off the long ends of the skewers with wire cutters:

Tri Tip Tacos 7
Snip off the skewers otherwise they will be a pain to manage on the grill

Now the veggies are ready for the grill:

Tri Tip Tacos 8
Ready for the Grill

Time to prepare the grill to reverse sear the tri tip. In this case, I’m going to do it on a gas grill. Some of you are thinking, “Reverse searing requires smoking and you can’t smoke on a gas grill.” Bull spit. Lemme show you how. In this case, I fired up my gas grill.

To reverse sear, set the burners on one side to high, and leave the other side off. So I have the left two burners on high, and the burner on the right on off. I placed an aluminum pan of wood chips under the grate on the left side:

Tri Tip Tacos 9
Turning the gasser into a smoker

You can also just put a couple handfuls of UNsoaked wood chips in the middle and form into a ball and poke holes in the foil with a sharp knife. 

I closed the lid and waited for smoke and went inside to work on the tri tip. I took the meat out of the fridge and the plastic bag. I coated each side with coarse salt and fresh cracked black pepper and the remainder of the taco seasoning:

Tri Tip Tacos 10

In a few minutes I went back outside and I saw smoke:

Tri Tip Tacos 11

I placed the seasoned tri tip on the upper rack over my inert burner:

Tri Tip Tacos 12
Ready to reverse sear

I closed the lid and let the heat and smoke work their sensual magic. The goal here is to take the tri tip to between 110 and 120 internal temperature and should look something like this:

Tri Tip Tacos 14
How does that look?

Leave the tri tip on the upper rack and grill the veggies over on the hot side of the BBQ pit:

Tri Tip Tacos 13
Grill the veggies

The goal here is to get some char and soften up the veggies:

Tri Tip Tacos 25
Yeah, I cross hatch my onions

Too much char on bell peppers might make the skin bitter so you may want to peel it off, but that’s up to you. I left the charred skin on.

Once the peppers and onions are grilled, time to put some beautiful grill marks on the tri tip. Place the beef on the hot side of the grill, wait a few minutes for some char lines to appear, rotate 45 degrees and get more before flipping over:

Tri Tip Tacos 15
Don’t forget to cross hatch the meat

I removed the tri tip once it is seared on both sides and let it rest for 8-10 minutes to let the juices, in an excited state from the warmth of the grill, to redistribute throughout beef:

Tri Tip Tacos 16

Slice the veggies and that glorious sirloin into thin strips across the grain:

Tri Tip Tacos 19

Time to make the tacos part of these tri tip tacos. Lay the tortillas out, spread a layer of cheese, a couple slices of tri tip, peppers and onions:

Tri Tip Tacos 17
Now it’s looking like a taco

Fold the tortilla over to form a taco and then brush the outside with the remainder of the oil and place the tacos onto the hot side of the grill:

Tri Tip Tacos 18
Back on the Grill

When grill marks appear on the bottom side, rotate 45 degrees and then flip over when we have yet even more cross hatched grill marks:

Tri Tip Tacos 20
Is there anything I don’t cross hatch? Nope…

And once the shells have browned and crisped up on both sides, remove from the grill and serve:

Tri Tip Tacos 22

The tri tip melts in the mouth and contrasts wonderfully with the crunch of the taco shell. Add in the smokey flavor of the grilled onions and peppers, all melded together by the gooey cheese and these tacos will be gone in no time.

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

I absolutely LOVE tri tip. Cheap, tender, delicious. Here are a few more grilled tri tip recipes.

Also, you can follow us on our GrillinFools Facebook page and Instagram.

Print Recipe
3 from 1 vote

Tri Tip Tacos

Reverse seared tri tip that, along with some grilled peppers and onions, go into tortillas to make tri tip tacos.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Entree
Cuisine: BBQ
Servings: 8 -10


  • 2 lb beef tri-tip roast
  • 1 package taco seasoning divided
  • 4 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 3 red chili peppers
  • 1 onion
  • salt and black pepper
  • tortillas
  • shredded cheese


  • Trim any excess globs of fat from the tri tip
  • Place the roast in a resealable plastic bag with half the oil and half the taco seasoning
  • Work the oil and seasoning around the entire outside of the meat and then marinate for 4-24 hours
  • Remove the tri tip from the fridge and the bag, seasoning with salt, pepper and the remainder of the taco seasoning
  • Slice the bell peppers into quarters, removing the stems, white flesh and seeds
  • Slice the red chilies into halves, also the stems, white flesh and seeds
  • Carve the onion into thick slices and skewer from the side to hold them together, snipping off the ends of the skewers with wire cutters
  • Prepare the grill for two zone grilling, with the burners on the left on high heat, the burners on the right off
  • Place a disposable aluminum pan with dry wood chips on the left side over a hot burner and close the lid
  • When the chips start to smoke, place the tri tip on the upper rack of the right side of the grill
  • Smoke until the tri tip gets between 110-120 degrees internal temperature
  • Grill the veggies on both sides to soften them up and put some char marks
  • Then sear the tri tip on both sides
  • Let the tri tip rest for 8-10 minutes
  • Slice the peppers and onions and then slice the roast into thin strips across the grain
  • Lay out tortillas, spreading a layer of shredded cheese, a couple slices of tri tip, peppers and onions
  • Fold the tortillas over and form into tacos
  • Brush the remainder on the outside of the tacos and place them on the grill
  • Brown each side of the tacos and then serve

Here’s a collage of the process:

Tri Tip Steak Tacos2

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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It’s hard to be the great taste of grilled tri tip, isn’t it? Kickin’ tacos, they look like just the thing for a weeknight.


3 stars
Great concept! Not such a great recipe… Old El Paso is entirely GMO these days. Yuck! But why would you use their taco seasoning in the first place? Create your own with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, etc.

I like the idea of roasting them on the grill, that’s a nice touch!

Oh, you might want to revisit what a 45 degree angle looks like. You’re turning them 90 degrees to get a crosshatch.


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