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Tri Tip Bites

Our easy Tri-Tip Bites are a delicious and hearty appetizer, perfect for any gathering or barbecue. These bites combine the robust flavor of smoked tri-tip with the tangy kick of horseradish cream sauce and the sweet savoriness of caramelized onions, all served on mini pita bread. This dish not only delivers on taste but also offers an impressive presentation, making it a great choice for entertaining guests. Here’s how to prepare these delectable bites.

Smoked Tri-Tip Bites

I’m a huge fan of tri-tip, and while we usually eat it as a main for dinner, I’m always looking for ways to incorporate my favorite smoked and grilled meats into passable appetizers for people to snack on during BBQs and parties. Bonus points if they are portable and travel well, too.

These Tri-Tip Bites are small, flavorful two-bite appetizers, showcasing perfectly cooked tri-tip, creamy homemade horseradish sauce, and sweet caramelized onions. This combination creates an incredible contrast in flavors and textures. The dish can be easily adapted with different sauces or bread options, making it a versatile addition to any menu.

Why you’ll love this dish…

  • Smoky Flavor: The tri-tip is slow-cooked on a Traeger grill, infusing it with a rich, smoky taste.
  • Tangy Cream Sauce: The horseradish cream sauce provides a perfect tangy complement to the meat.
  • Sweet Onions: Caramelized onions add a sweet and savory touch.
  • Perfect for Entertaining: These bites are easy to serve and enjoy at any gathering.
  • Customizable: Easily adapt the recipe with different breads or toppings.

Get all of my Traeger Recipes here!

Smoked Tri Tip Bites

Tri-Tip Bites shopping list

Wondering if you have to hit the store? Here’s the list of items you’ll need to make this recipe. For specific amounts, please refer to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Tri-Tip
  • OWYD Smokey SPG
  • Mini Pita Bread Bites
  • Sour Cream
  • Roasted Garlic (or Garlic Powder)
  • Freshly Grated Horseradish
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Champagne Vinegar
  • Pepper
  • Sweet Onion (Walla Walla or Vidalia)
  • Salted Butter
  • Brown Sugar

Tri Tip Beef Birria

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Smoked Tri Tip Bites

How to make Tri Tip Bites

Wondering what you’re getting yourself into when you make this dish? Here’s a quick overview of the process! Make sure you follow the instructions at the recipe card at the bottom of the post while you’re cooking.

Recipe Overview

  1. Prepare Tri-Tip:
    • Preheat Traeger grill to 250°F.
      • Rub tri-tip with OWYD Smokey SPG and place on the grill.
      • Cook for 30 minutes per side. Increase temperature to 350°F and cook for an additional 20-30 minutes, pulling at 125°F for medium-rare or 135°F for medium.
      • Rest for 10 minutes and slice against the grain.
  2. Prepare Cream Sauce:
    • Whisk together sour cream, roasted garlic, freshly grated horseradish, Dijon mustard, champagne vinegar, and pepper.
    • Store in the fridge until ready to serve.
  3. Caramelize Onions:
    • Preheat a pan over medium to medium-low heat and melt butter.
    • Slice onion into long strips and sauté until translucent. Add brown sugar and continue cooking until fully caramelized.
  4. Build Bites:
    • Lay out mini pita bread bites on an oven-safe baking dish.
    • Toast in the Traeger for 3-5 minutes until warm and slightly crispy.
    • Top each pita with horseradish cream, sliced tri-tip, and caramelized onions.
  5. Serve:
    • Serve warm and enjoy!

Get 75+ of my favorite Traeger Recipes here!

Smoked Tri Tip Bites


How do I store leftovers?

Store leftover tri-tip, sauce, and caramelized onions separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

How do I reheat Tri-Tip Bites?

Reheat tri-tip slices in a preheated oven at 350°F for 10 minutes. Toast the pita bread separately and assemble the bites just before serving.

Can I prepare components in advance?

Yes, you can prepare the horseradish cream sauce and caramelized onions a day ahead. Store them in the fridge and warm up the onions before serving.

What variations can I try?

You can substitute mini pita bread with baguette slices or crackers. Add different toppings like pickled vegetables or cheese to create unique flavor combinations.

How To Perfectly Cook Tri Tip

Smoked Tri Tip Bites

More great beef recipes to love!

Smoked Tri Tip Bites
Grilled Tri Tip Roast

Grilled Tri Tip Bites

These easy, incredible grilled tri tip bites are drizzled with a homemade horseradish cream sauce and plenty of caramelized onions along with that freshly grilled tri tip. Be generous with that SPG, too. It adds so much flavor!
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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Traeger
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 12 people


  • 3 pound tri-tip
  • 2 tablespoons OWYD Smokey SPG
  • 24 mini pita bread bites

Horseradish Cream Sauce

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 clove roasted garlic (or equivalent garlic powder)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Caramelized Sweet Onions

  • 1 large sweet onion (Walla Walla or Vidalia, preferably)
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar


Prepare Tri-Tip

  • Preheat your Traeger to 250°F.
  • Rub the meat all over with the SPG. Place onto the grill.
  • Cook for 30 minutes, flip, and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  • Turn the grill up to 350 and cook an additional 20-30 minutes. Pull at 125° for medium-rare, or 135 for medium, rest for 10 minutes, slice against the grain and serve.

Prepare Cream Sauce

  • Whisk together all of the horseradish cream sauce ingredients together. Store in the fridge while waiting to serve.

Caramelize Onions

  • While the roast cooks, preheat a pan over medium to medium-low heat and melt the butter inside.
  • Slice the onion into long strips and saute in the butter until they are translucent. Add in the brown sugar, and continue cooking until the onions are fully caramelized.

Build Bites

  • Lay out the small pieces of pita out on an oven-safe baking dish.
  • Put back into the Traeger for 3-5 minutes, or until lightly toasty and warm.
  • Top with a dollop of horseradish cream, several small slices of tri-tip, and top with some of the caramelized onions.
  • Serve warm, and enjoy!

Tools & Equipment


Calories: 240kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 24gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 87mgSodium: 118mgPotassium: 420mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 149IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 2mg
Nicole Johnson
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Nicole Johnson, a self-taught expert in grilling and outdoor cooking, launched Or Whatever You Do in 2010. Her blog, renowned for its comprehensive and creative outdoor cooking recipes, has garnered a vast audience of millions. Nicole's hands-on experience and passion for grilling shine through her work. Her husband, Jeremiah Johnson, also plays a pivotal role in recipe development, adding his culinary flair to the mix. Together, they form a dynamic duo, offering a rich and varied outdoor cooking experience to their followers.