Smoke-Grilled Tri-Tips with Jeow Som Dipping Sauce

Smoke-Grilled Tri-Tips with Jeow Som Dipping Sauce
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Donny Sirisavath, 2020 F&W Best New Chef and owner of Khao Noodle Shop in Dallas, has shared a delightful recipe that pays homage to both his Laotian roots and his Texas upbringing. You see, back in the day, his family would gather around and grill brisket over hardwood coals, creating fond memories and delicious meals.

In this tasty recipe, thick and scrumptious tri-tip steaks are first seared in the grill’s hot zone, then slowly smoke-grilled to a perfect medium rare. Give them a little time to rest, and then slice them thinly against the grain. Pair your mouthwatering steaks with Sirisavath’s jeow som, a zesty, fish sauce-infused dipping sauce, to elevate the flavors even more.

But wait, there’s more! A brief beer bath helps tenderize those thick tri-tip steaks, while a flavorful marinade of garlic, lemongrass, cilantro, and fish sauce takes the taste to another level.

Active Time: 45 mins | Marinate Time: 8 hrs | Total Time: 9 hrs 25 mins | Servings: 8 | Yield: 8 to 12

Table of Contents


  • 2 ¼ cups (18 ounces) lager or IPA-style beer, divided
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) tri-tip steaks
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped lemongrass (from 2 small stalks)
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 2/3 cup oyster sauce
  • ½ cup fish sauce
  • 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 (16- x 6- x 3-inch) log of oak or mesquite wood, for grilling
  • Grapeseed oil, for grilling
  • Cooked jasmine rice or sticky rice, or lettuce leaves, for serving
  • Jeow Som Dipping Sauce


  1. Stir together 1 1/2 cups beer and salt in a gallon-size ziplock plastic bag until dissolved. Add steaks to the bag, seal, and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate for 2 hours, turning the bag and massaging steaks occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, combine cilantro, lemongrass, and garlic in a blender, and process on high speed until finely minced, about 30 seconds, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Add oyster sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, pepper, and remaining 3/4 cup beer, and process on high speed until smooth, about 30 seconds. Remove steaks from the refrigerator. Drain and discard the beer mixture, and pour cilantro marinade over the steaks in the bag, massaging gently to coat the steaks. Seal the bag, and return the steaks to the refrigerator. Let marinate, turning the bag and massaging steaks occasionally, for at least 6 hours or up to 12 hours.
  3. Heat one chimney of charcoal until flames subside and coals are lightly covered in ash. Arrange coals for two-zone cooking: Bank coals along half of the bottom grate of a charcoal grill. Add a log along the edge of the coals. Place the oiled cooking grate over the coals; open the bottom and top vents of the grill. Cover the grill, and heat to medium-high (400°F to 450°F). Remove the steaks from the plastic bag, and discard the marinade. Grill steaks over direct heat, uncovered, flipping often, until caramelized, about 5 minutes. Transfer steaks to indirect heat with the fat cap facing coals. Cover and cook, flipping steaks occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest portion registers 125°F for medium-rare, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer steaks to a platter, and let rest until internal temperature rises to 135°F, about 10 minutes.
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About the Author: Jenny Kristy

Spice Seeker, Recipe Weaver, Nomad Chef |With a passport bursting with stamps and a pantry overflowing with global spices, Jenny Kristy isn't just a cook, she's a culinary nomad. Her travels fuel her passion, transforming exotic flavors into recipes that tantalize and transport. She weaves magic in her kitchen, sharing her adventures through meals that whisper of Marrakesh markets and Tuscan trattorias. From teaching sushi to whipping up Moroccan masterpieces, Jenny ignites wanderlust and connects cultures, one delicious bite at a time.

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