Onions, herbs, garlic and more combine in this easy recipe for Slow Cooker Tri-Tip French Dip Sandwiches — perfect for a hands-off dinner for weekends.
“Mom! You should make this more often!” – Paige, age 9
My daughter can be my hardest critic. So hearing that from her is pretty amazing.
In this sandwich, tender, well-seasoned tri-tip steak boogies with the onions it was cooked with (and perhaps some cheese). And that’s all just begging to be dipped in au jus. This dinner has yum written all over it.
Are you familiar with the tri-tip cut? Though not as popular as the sirloin, flatiron or flank cuts, tri-tip is a good one to try. It comes from the bottom of the sirloin and is a tender, triangular muscle. It’s also a relatively lean cut and Serious Eats named it one of the best inexpensive cuts of steak for the grill. It reminds me — looks wise — of brisket, though it’s a different cut entirely.
I’d like to take a second to thank the farmer from Tangled Oak Farm who suggested I try this cut one day when he didn’t have exactly what I was looking for. So glad I did.
This recipe for Slow Cooker Tri-Tip French Dip Sandwiches makes some excellent, easy, kid- friendly (and mom pleasing) sandwiches.
Got the ingredients? Let’s get started.
Onions and garlic are layered in a slow cooker. Add a little beef broth or stock.
The tri-tip is rubbed all over with a mix of dried rosemary, dried thyme, smoked paprika and salt. That gives this steak big flavor. Mmm. Then it’s seared to seal in the juices and placed atop the bed of onions and garlic.
A little red wine deglazes the pan, helping you to scrape up all those flavorful beef bits. Pour those wonderful juices over the meat.
Then, you just have to wait. This slow cooks on low for four to five hours.
During that time, it gets all tender and the juices get a wonderful flavor to them. When it’s all done cooking, remove the tri-tip from the slow cooker and let it rest so the meat soaks back up its juices. Then slice it thinly.
You’ll also want to separate the onions from the juices. You can thicken the au jus or not before serving — I generally don’t.
To assemble the sandwiches that will make your family go YUMMMMM!, layer the steak, onions and whatever else you want (provolone, perhaps?) on heated rolls and serve with a cup of au jus. So wonderful. I especially love how the au jus adds to the flavor when you dip your sandwich in it.
This recipe is perfect for the weekend. It’s hands off, but does need about four hours to cook.
And then, when it’s all said and done, hopefully you’ll get some good kid praise too.
- 1 1.5 lb. tri-tip
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 3-4 small onions, , quartered and sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, , minced
- 1 14.5- oz can beef broth or stock
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 4 hoagie rolls, (long rolls used for sandwiches)
- Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- On a cutting board, trim the tri-tip of visible chunks of fat.
- In a small bowl, stir together the salt, rosemary, thyme and paprika. Spread over the tri-tip, taking care to rub it into all sides of the meat.
- Meanwhile, layer the onions and garlic in the bowl of a slow cooker. Pour the beef broth or stock in too.
- In the heated skillet, sear the tri-tip on both sides. Add to the slow cooker. Deglaze the pan with red wine, taking care to scrape up any bits on the bottom. Pour the red wine mixture into the slow cooker.
- (Time to turn off that burner)
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 4-5 hours, until the tri-tip is cooked through and tender. Remove to a cutting board to rest for 15 minutes. Slice thinly against the grain.
- Meanwhile, drain the onions in a colander set over a pot or bowl. Set the onions aside.
- At this point, you could be done -- just heat the rolls in the oven and top with slices of the tri-tip and onions and serve with the au jus. Or you could add 2 tsp of cornstarch to the au jus in a pan set over medium heat on the stove, bring to a boil and whisk until combined and slightly thickened. It's good both ways.
- Also good: adding a slice of provolone cheese to the sandwich. Just saying.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of four cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to a tween and a teen, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.