Grill-Roasted Whole Beef Tenderloin
So now that we have a roast beef for the 99%, you're probably left asking yourself, what about me? Don't the Scrooge McDuck's and Richie Rich's get any props? Well, this one is for you, an entire grilled beef tenderloin, in all of its glorious excess!
As you may have inferred already, I'm not the biggest fan of beef tenderloin—I'll admit the texture is something fantastic, but since this muscle sits at the top of the rib cage and gets virtually no use, it does not develop the myoglobin and fat that gives beef its rich flavor. I much prefer the cheaper cuts like skirt, which require some skill to do right, but is rewarded with immense flavor. If you do opt for a tenderloin though, this is not where you want to go penny pinching. A choice or prime cut is your best bet, which means the piece of beef will have relatively more marbled fat (fat = flavor) than lesser grades. I was very lucky to have this six pound beauty donated by Pat LaFrieda via Serious Eats, but otherwise, I could easily have shelled out nearly $100 for it.
If you want to show off your deep pockets, go ahead and buy it already trimmed, but you'll save some dough if you buy a PSMO tenderloin—that's short for Peeled, Silver Skin, and Side Muscle Left On. The butchering isn't all the tough, and I find its the best way to really know your way around the cut. With a PSMO tenderloin, the first step is to remove the side muscle that runs about 2/3 the length of the tenderloin.
From there you can start cutting away the remaining exterior fat and trimming off the silver skin by gently gliding your knife right underneath it, trying keep as much meat in place as possible.
Now sit back and take in your mad butchering skills—that's one beautifully trimmed tenderloin. But we're not quite done yet.
You'll notice that one end is thicker than the other. For even cooking, we want an even thickness. To create this, take the smaller end of the tenderloin and fold it under by about 2 inches. Tie this in place with a couple pieces of butcher twine, along with any other loose meat created by trimming the fat, and you're done.
Now for the easy part, grilling. But before we get this hunk of meat of the grill, it needs a heavy coating of salt and pepper—seems like you can never have enough with beef. It's best to let the beef sit for half an hour to and hour at this point to let it come to room temperature as you prep the grill. Once the fire is ready and the grilling grate is clean, a light coat of olive oil is all that's needed before tossing the tenderloin over the flames.
To get the tenderloin to a nice, even medium-rare, a grill-roasting technique is implemented. This starts with building a two-zone fire, where all of the coals are situated on one side of the charcoal grate. The tenderloin is then seared while the the fire is at its hottest, until it's browned on all sides.
Next it's moved to the cool side of the grill, covered, and let roast until it hits the desired temperature. Since a tenderloin is tender by nature, you don't want to mess with that important natural trait, so shooting for a rare, or medium-rare is best. I went for medium-rare and pulled the roast once it hit 125 degrees in the thickest part of the meat.
Unfortunately, with carryover cooking, my tenderloin ended more around medium, but it was of little consequence, as it was still insanely delicious. The meat, while not the beefiest of the beefs, was so incredibly smooth and tender, the comparison of "like butter" is pretty apt here. To boost the flavor a bit, I paired it an Argentinian chimichurri sauce—that's a mixture of oil, parsley, garlic, oregano, vinegar, and red pepper —which was just what the meat needed to elevate it from really good to truly excellent. Of coure, I wasn't eating this alone, and I could tell all my friends agreed on the greatness of the tenderloin by how fast it disappeared, followed by accolades that were pouring about its tenderness and excellent flavor—a relatively easy feat when a tenderloin is done the right way on the grill.
Grill-Roasted Whole Beef Tenderloin
- Yield 10 servings
- Prep 15 Minutes
- Inactive 30 Minutes
- Cook 30 Minutes
- Total 1 Hour 15 Minutes
- 1 whole beef tenderloin, about 6 pounds, trimmed and tied
- 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- Remove tenderloin from refrigerator and rub with salt all over. Let beef sit out and come to room temperature while preparing the grill.
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover gill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Brush tenderloin with oil and sprinkle with pepper. Place on hot side of the grill, directly over the coals, and cook until well browned on all sides, about 2 minutes on four sides. Move tenderloin to cool side of the grill and cover. Continue cooking until meat registers 120 degrees for rare or 125 degrees for medium rare when an instant-read thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin, about 15-25 minutes, flipping beef half way through.
- Remove tenderloin to cutting board and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Slice and serve.
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Alli Simmons I followed you instructions last yesterday when we were celebrating my Mother's 70 birthday. I had so many complement on perfectly cooked tenderloin. Thank you for clear instructions!
Josh @Alli Simmons So glad to hear it worked out. Happy grilling!
Bill Duffel Sorry but I disagree. Recipe looks great but all the tenderloins I have done, cooked to 135 degrees and allowed to sit for at least half an hour have turned out more towards the "Rare" side than medium rare. Readers beware- you may want to venture more towards the 135-140 degree internal temp. to assure a medium rare doneness. Always allow to sit for 20-30 minutes wrapped in foil to achieve proper degree of doneness. Cooked to 140 degrees will not leave anybody turning their nose up at your creation. Of course, our thermometers might not agree, but I doubt it as MOST recipes for tenderloin call for 135 as the medium rare temp. i do appreciate the ideas I get from your blog howevever.
Josh @Bill Duffel 125 degrees is technically rare, but with carryover cooking once the beef is pulled off the grill, the internal temperature will keep rising 5-10 degrees more, which would bring the final temp to the 130-135 medium rare range. I would pull it at 135-140 if I was aiming for medium.
dadsafrantic josh is right.
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