ROASTED WHOLE BEEF TENDERLOIN
The month of December is such a fun time of the year! It’s a time when we want to surround ourselves with friends and family. Here is a very special dinner to help celebrate this very special time of the year.
A whole beef tenderloin can be a little intimidating. Not only is it one of the most expensive cuts of meat, it is also delicate and needs to be cooked properly to ensure a tasty dinner. But, it’s not hard to cook at all. We want to sear the outside of the tenderloin to hold in the juices. We do this by cooking it in a 500 degree oven for 20 minutes. The heat is then reduced to 350 degrees to finish it off to the proper temperature.
The tenderloin has less fat than other beef cuts and has a softer more delicate beef flavor. Because of that, I like to generously season the outside to maximize the flavors. Another factor affecting the flavor is the doneness of the tenderloin. A medium rare tenderloin has a great deal more flavor than one that is cooked to medium or well done. I like to use a Oven Probe Thermometer. That way you can watch the temperature without opening the oven which reduces the oven temperature.
Buying the right beef tenderloin is also very important. The USDA grades beef into three categories: Prime, Choice and Select. Not all meat is graded (anything that does not fit into these three categories is considered No Grade or Standard). These designations come from testing the meats marbling, firmness, color and texture. The more marbling with a firm and cherry red color, the higher the grade the beef is given. These factors directly reflect the meats tenderness, juiciness and flavor. Prime is the highest grade. In prime beef you’ll see more veins of fat throughout the meat (marbling). When cooking, this fat dissolves into the meat creating the
tenderness and flavor.
How long the beef has been aged also affects the tenderness of the meat. Aging for 21 plus days gives the enzymes more time to breakdown, creating a tenderer cut of meat. Because the whole tenderloin has less fat than other cuts, you should purchase choice or prime.
Your butcher can trim and tie your tenderloin. You want to make sure there is no silver skin on the tenderloin, this can be tough. It’s important that the tenderloin is tied to make it a more uniform shape allowing for even cooking.
When buying whole tenderloin you need to purchase about ¾ lb per person. After it is trimmed, you will have about 1/3 to ½ pound per person. For example, 8 lb whole tenderloin will weigh approximately 5 lbs after it has been trimmed. . Be sure to take your trimmings. These can be ground or cubed for the ultimate burger or stroganoff.