Tuesday, February 4, 2014

No Fear Here: Beef Tenderloin

I've always wanted to make a beef tenderloin, but it scared me because it's such an expensive cut of meat.  If you screw it up, there goes a lot of money.  Our local meat market (Jim's Meat Market on Madison's north side) was having a holiday special, beef tenderloin for $9.99/pound.  I was originally going to buy it before Christmas, but I chickened out.  Then I made the decision to conquer my fears and finally bought it right before New Year's Eve.  They only had 3+ pound roasts in the case, but I wanted a 2-pound roast, so they specially cut, tied, and seasoned a 2-pound roast for me. Such great customer service!  If we want something that's not in the case, they're always willing to go in the back and get it for us.  And they make their own brats, we totally love their jalapeno & cheese brats and gyro brats (we ask for crumbled feta and gyro sauce for them). 

Well, anyway, it turns out there was nothing to be afraid of!

I feel that the one key piece of equipment is a remote temperature probe so you're not opening the oven to check the temperature all the time.  You insert the probe into the food and it has a long cord that comes out of the oven and connects to a timer/thermometer.  Mine is on the slightly fancier side and you can set it to alert you when the food reaches a certain temperature.  It works great, when you actually turn that feature on!  I meant to, but luckily I happened to catch my roast at 132 degrees, only two degrees higher than I wanted.


Christopher Kimball Blog (from America's Test Kitchen) simple beef tenderloin


  • 2-pound tenderloin roast, seasoned and tied
  • fresh black pepper (yes, my roast was seasoned, but I definitely wanted to add more fresh pepper)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil


This wasn't in the recipe I followed for the cooking instructions, but I had another Cook's Illustrated tenderloin recipe that said said you should leave the roast sit out at room temperature for two hours before cooking to take the chill off.  I've heard you should do that with most meat so we do that for burgers, etc.  

After the two hours of resting is up, preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
Long raw tenderloin. 
Spread the unsalted butter on the seasoned roast, place it on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet.   Insert a temperature probe and set it to alert you when it reaches 120 degrees for medium-rare /130 for medium.  That's 5 degrees less than the actual "doneness" temperature because the residual heat will carry it over as the meat rests.  Roast.  Flip the roast about half-way through cooking (around 25 minutes of cooking). Mine took about an hour total to get to 132 degrees. 

Once the roast is to the desired temperature, remove it from the oven.
Just finished from the oven.
Heat the oil in your largest heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Sear the roast on all four sides, about 1-2 minutes per side. This part was difficult because it was a long, unwieldy chunk of meat, but I did my best. 
Out of the oven and into the frying pan.
After searing, transfer it to a cutting board and let it rest 15 minutes.  While it rested I didn't cover the tenderloin with foil or anything since it didn't say to.  
resting meat.
Remove the twine and cut it cross-wise into serving slices. 
My beautiful medium-rare cut.


Wow, impressive and super easy!  

We had Husband Jeff's parents over for dinner and everybody loved this.  I was so proud!  I will definitely make this more often in the future but I will wait until it's on sale. :)

Wanna Chat?

I turned off the 'leave a comment' feature, so if you want to share what you're thinking about this or anything else, drop me an email at jhk1013 (at) gmail.com. It's so much more cozy than a comment, plus we can have a real conversation!