Firing up the smoker as often as I do has its consequences. Namely, I end up with ridiculous amounts of smoked meat jockeying for refrigerator space with random long-forgotten condiments. Of course, this is one of those proverbial “first world” problems that I should be abundantly grateful to have. In any case, it is a real problem, which is why I am always looking for ways to transform barbecue leftovers into another equally delicious meal.
Smoked beef tri-tip is a weekly staple at my house — it’s easy to make on a weeknight and the results are incredible — and it almost always results in leftovers. I like to parlay that extra meat into sandwiches for lunch the next day. Tri-tip can be a bit on the chewy side if not sliced thinly against the grain. This is especially important for sandwiches, so that your diners are not forced to awkwardly gnaw through the beef while gripping it with their fingers. For this reason, I recommend you slice tri-tip for sandwiches even thinner than you might for serving on its own.
There is definitely more than one way to make a tri-tip sandwich, but I am partial to this simple rendition with roasted garlic mayo, pickled red onions, and arugula. The roasted garlic mayo adds another dimension of garlic flavor to the already garlicky tri-tip, but it also imparts a nutty sweetness that plays well against the potent pickled onions. Peppery arugula keeps things interesting and the pickled onions also provide a gentle crunch.
The end result is a delicious tribute to the tri-tip you pulled off the smoker the day before and is far superior to a boring old ham & cheese sandwich. Feel free to play around with different types of bread. I’ve used soft ciabatta and sourdough with great success. For some added texture and flavor, try toasting the bread before assembling the sandwich. You could certainly get by with regular mayo, but the roasted garlic mayo is worth trying if you have the time. Enjoy!
When you own a smoker, leftover meat tends to invade your refrigerator space. Take that leftover tri-tip you smoked and turn it into a delicious sandwich for tomorrow’s lunch or a quick dinner.
Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise:
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Slice the top off of the garlic head to expose all the cloves and place the garlic on a sheet of aluminum foil, cut side up.
- Drizzle olive oil over the top of the garlic, making sure to coat all the exposed cloves.
- Bring the edges of the foil together and crimp, making a foil packet to seal in the garlic and place on the middle rack of the oven with a baking sheet beneath the garlic foil packet to catch any leaks.
- Bake for 30-40mins, until the garlic cloves are soft to the touch. Let the garlic cool to room temperature.
- Squeeze the garlic cloves into a medium bowl and mash into a paste with the back of a spoon.
- Add the mayonnaise and mix until the roasted garlic paste is incorporated into the mayonnaise.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Assemble the sandwich:
- Generously spread the garlic mayo on both sides of each roll and sprinkle with a little kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Place 1/4 pound of the sliced tri-tip on each roll bottom and top with baby arugula and pickled red onions.
- Place the top slice of roll on the sandwich and dig in!
- This sandwich works great with regular mayo too, if you are short on time and don’t want to make the roasted garlic mayo.
- You can also make the garlic mayo ahead of time. It should keep in the refrigerator for a few days.
- Cold leftover tri-tip works great in this sandwich, but I like to gently heat the slices in the microwave for 20 seconds or so, until they are warm. You could also warm them in the oven or pan, but it will take longer.