What is Beef Tenderloin – the Ultimate Guide

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This premium cut comes from the short loin primal cut near the back of the cow, an underworked part of the animal. Beef tenderloin is known for being the most tender cut of beef due to its low amount of connective tissue with minimal excess fat like you would see in a prime rib roast. It has little marbling and, because of this, it is also a lean cut with a mild beef flavor, which means it can dry out quickly if overcooked (keep reading, we’ve got tips for that). Not only is this a standalone cut, but it’s also a signature part of the iconic Porterhouse and T-bone steaks.

You can find whole tenderloin at your local market around the holiday season. They will usually be wet-packed and include the oblong head, tail, and silver skin that will need to be trimmed. Or you can purchase them already trimmed, with just the center section ready to go cut into a long cylindrical roast. If you aren’t spotting them at the local grocery stores, check out your local butcher shop or our favorite places to buy meat online for where we order them from. Whether you’re buying choice or prime grade, this is considered a prime cut making it a pricey cut of meat so look for it when it’s on sale.

Beef tenderloin is where the petit Filet mignon steaks are sliced from along with the classic chateaubriand roast. If you buy them while on sale, you can learn how to trim a whole beef tenderloin at home to make these cuts yourself.

When cooked properly, beef tenderloin is exceptionally soft, buttery smooth, and succulent making it a date night staple and steakhouse special for special occasions.

How to Cook Beef Tenderloin

When it comes to cooking beef tenderloin, the key is maintaining its famous fork-tender texture while getting that steakhouse crust on the surface of the meat.

There are many methods to cooking it that work, but we are fond of the reverse sear method, where we smoke the roast and then sear it over high temperature in a hot cast iron skillet. We find the subtle flavor of the smoking wood can really enhance this steak. We also use a finish with a hot sear to get a nice crust if we sous vide a beef tenderloin or grill it over indirect heat.

A perfectly cooked oven-roasted beef tenderloin with creamy horseradish sauce is also a fan favorite for Christmas Dinner. But no matter how you cook it, use your instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat.

The Best Beef Tenderloin Recipes

Whether you’re planning a swanky dinner party or just want a stunning beef tenderloin recipe to impress your partner, these recipes are the best way to cook this luxurious cut.

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