Campfire Garlicky Tri-Tip

Take advantage of the added flavor that cooking meat over an open wood fire brings to the table with this perfect recipe for camping

By author of Timber 2 Table Wild Game Recipes Print Recipe
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We’re all about wild game meat here at Timber2Table, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy high-quality, sustainably raised beef from time to time. Our favorite beef comes from our friends at E3 Meat Company, out in Fort Scott, Kansas. E3 is committed to raising Red and Black Angus cattle in a sustainable and humane way that takes care of the land the cattle graze on, and never subjects cows to antibiotics, steroids, or added hormones.

The result is some of the best prime beef you have ever tasted. When you have meat this good, be it beef or a prime cut of backstrap or roast from last season’s deer, you don’t need a frilly recipe to make it delicious. That makes it perfect for camp cooking.

Grill the steaks over a hot open fire or on a hot grill but don’t overcook them.

We recently rented a cabin at Gunflint Pines up in Grand Marais, Minnesota. Our back deck looked across Gunflint Lake at Canada, with nothing but the Northwoods beauty around us. The fresh air and evening campfires called for a little outdoor cooking, and an E3 tri-tip roast and a couple of sirloins were the perfect choice.

Since we don’t often have a fully stocked pantry when camping or staying in a remote cabin, we like to keep things simple. For seasoning, we used a blend of kosher salt, fresh black pepper, and fresh garlic that we minced and smashed with a bit of extra salt to make a garlic paste. The extra flavor from the wood fire was the only other seasoning we needed.

Foil-wrapped campfire corn on the cob and baked potatoes make the perfect sides for the steak.

Tri-tip roasts and sirloin steaks are a lot like wild game. Even prime grade for these cuts doesn’t have a lot of marbling or fat. They respond best to a hot and fast cook over open flame or on a hot grill. And just like game meat, it’s best not to overcook them. Rare to medium rare will give you the most tender cut when sliced thinly across the grain.


1 E3 tri-tip roast and/or 2 sirloin steaks, depending on number of guests

Kosher salt

Coarsely ground black pepper

4 to 5 cloves of fresh garlic, finely chopped


Cooking Instructions

Start by seasoning the meat well on all surfaces with salt and black pepper. Finely chop the garlic cloves.

Chop fresh garlic into small bits.

Once you have them down to small bits, sprinkle on a pinch or two of kosher salt and use the flat of your knife blade to smash the garlic into a coarse paste. Spread it evenly over the meat.

Season the steaks well with a simple blend of kosher salt and cracked black pepper, then rub in the garlic.

Grill the meat over hot coals or an open fire for 8 to 10 minutes per side or until a digital thermometer inserted to the center of the meat reads 125 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit.

Slice the tri-tip thinly, against the grain, for maximum tenderness.

Let the meat rest, loosely tented with foil to keep it warm, for 10 minutes or so before slicing it across the grain into thin strips. We serve it with foil-wrapped and campfire cooked potatoes and corn on the cob.

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