How about grabbing that Dutch oven for some easy, hassle free, feed a crowd, tri tip tacos? We’ll take that typical taco dinner up a notch by cooking a tri tip roast. The preparation is easy with incredibly delicious results.
Serve these tacos with Refried Beans, or a nice helping of Mexican Rice. Mexican Corn Salad is another great option, or a simple tossed salad.
A tri tip roast is a cut from the bottom sirloin sub-primal. Named for it’s triangular shape, it’s great grilled over indirect heat, made famous in California seasoned as a Santa Maria Tri-tip. Even though it’s lower in fat that other cuts, It’s super flavorful.
For these tri tip tacos, we’re going to slow roast the tri-tip in the oven until it’s fall apart tender and beautifully shredded to make tacos.
Why We Love These Tacos
- It’s a one pot meal. Easy cleanup.
- Practically all of the cooking is hands-off and prep time is minimal.
- These tacos are rich with flavor.
- These tri tip tacos are tender in texture with pure beefy flavor.
- You’ll have plenty of left overs for quick lunches or dinners.
So next time you’re at Costco, I hope you grab a tri tip and give these tacos a try.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- A tri-tip roast. Most tri-tips weigh between 1 1/2 pounds and 2 1/2 pounds. Any weight between this range will work fine for this recipe, but I’d choose a roast on the heavier side.
- Canned Tomatoes: Chopped.
- Sweet Onion: Sliced.
- Garlic: Minced.
- Chipotle Peppers in Adobo.
- Spices: Cumin and Brown Sugar.
Ingredients Swaps and Substitutions
- Beef Roast: Substitute a 2 – 3 pound Beef Chuck Roast for the Tri tip. A chuck roast will shred very well, but will contain more fat. You may want to trim some of the larger pieces of fat before cooking to avoid the tacos from being greasy.
- Tortillas: Swap out street sized flour tortillas for the corn tortillas.
Step by Step Instructions
Be sure to see the recipe card below for complete ingredients and instructions.
It truly doesn’t get any easier than this. Let’s get started.
- Step 1: Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, add oil. Season the tri tip roast on both sides with salt, pepper. You can even add some meat seasoning like Montreal Steak Seasoning. Once the oil is hot, add the roast and sear on both sides. About 5 minutes per side. Remove roast to a plate.
- Step 2: Add the sliced onion to the pan and cook stirring for about 2 minutes. Remove the pan fro, the heat and add chopped tomatoes, sliced onions and seasonings. Nestle and place tri tip roast into the ingredients.
- Step 3: Cover and cook in a 325 degree oven for 3 hours.
Step 3: Once that beef is cooked, it practically shreds itself. But please use your super-clean hands or two forks to make quick work for these tri tip tacos. Return the shredded beef to the liquid in the Dutch oven and stir to blend flavors. You’re ready to build those tacos.
Tip: You can’t just take soft corn tortillas out of the package and make a taco. You must warm the shells to be pliable. My preferred method is to dampen a clean dish towel by quickly running the towel under water from the faucet. Wrap a stack of corn tortillas into the damp towel. Place the package in a gallon zip lock bag. Don’t seal the bag. Place the tortillas in the microwave and heat for 3 minutes at 50% power. Remove from the microwave and let them steam in the bag for 2-3 more minutes. They’re ready.
Toppings for Tri tip Tacos
Once this meat is cooled and the beef shredded, the meat is so flavorful that I like to keep the toppings simple. But here are some more taco topping ideas.
- A crunch of thin shredded cabbage.
- A slice of avocado.
- Guacamole. I like to spread a thin layer of guacamole on the tortilla before adding the beef.
- Salsa. Be careful with adding a spoonful of salsa to these tacos. They are already tomato based, so don’t need much more. Try a drizzle of my homemade Roasted Tomatillo Salsa rather than a tomato based salsa.
- A creamy option might be better. Try a dollop of Cilantro Lime Jalapeno Aioli.
- Cotija Cheese: A Mexican crumbling cheese with a wonderfully tangy salty flavor works very well for these tri tip tacos.
- Mango pico-de Gallo will bring a tropical flair.
- Friends don’t let friends eat tacos without a lime wedge for a squeeze of lime juice to liven and brighten things up.
Tri Tip FAQ’s
Absolutely. And without much change in the instructions. Just brown the tri-tip roast and then follow the instructions in the recipe card. Cook on low for 7 hours or until meat is tender enough to shred.
The beef can be made ahead of time, shredded and then stored in the Dutch oven in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Once ready to serve, warm the beef stove-top on medium low. You don’t want to re-cook it, just get it hot. When ready to serve, gather taco toppings, warm the corn tortillas and serve.
No. Chipotle Peppers in Adobo are indeed very hot. Instructions are to slice open the peppers and remove the seeds and veins. That’s where the heat lies. What you have left is a rich smoky flavor without as much heat.
Storage and Freezing
- Store any left over beef in an air tight container in the refrigerator. The meat will keep for 4 days.
- The shredded beef will freeze very well. Just place in a freezer safe container and freeze. It will keep 3 – 4 months in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat stove top or microwave.
Recipe for Tri Tip Tacos
Roasted tri-tip is an unexpected choice for street-style tacos. I hope you try these flavorful tacos with your favorite toppings. Such an easy recipe with big reward. A street taco to remember.
And if you have a favorite tri tip tacos recipe let me know, I’d love to give it a try.
And if you’re a fan of Mexican food, don’t miss my Mexican-Southwest Category. You’ll find lots of great recipes. Including the most popular taco recipe on my site for Fried Beef Tacos.
Tri Tip Tacos
- 2-3 pound tri-tip roast
- 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce seeded, veins removed and chopped
- 1 Tablespoon adobo sauce from the can of peppers
- 1 sweet onion thinly sliced
- 6 garlic cloves chopped
- 28 ounce can chopped tomatoes undrained
- 1 Tablespoon cumin
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Season the roast with salt and pepper. You can even add your favorite steak seasoning, like Montreal Steak Seasoning.
- Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the tri-tip roast and brown on both sides. About 5 minutes per side.
- Transfer the roast to a plate and set aside. Add the onion to the pan and saute until tender. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Season the onion and garlic with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes. Nestle the tri-tip down into the tomatoes, onions and garlic mixture, then top with remaining ingredients.
- Spoon a little of the tomato mixture on top of roast.
- Cover the pan and cook 2.5 or 3 hours. Until meat is tender.
- Remove the meat from the pan and shred with a fork when cool enough to handle.
- Return the shredded meat back to the cooking liquid and stir to coat.
- Serve the meat into heated corn tortillas or purchased taco shell with all your favorite taco toppings.
Beef Tri-Tip Tacos … They’re What’s for Dinner.
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This post was first published January of 2013 and updated April of 2022 with new photos and step by step instructions and photos.
John / Kitchen Riffs says
I always use the microwave to warm my tortillas, too — so easy! Love the idea of using tri-tip in tacos — chuck is my typical go-to. But tri-tip has such great flavor. Terrific recipe — thanks.