Beef Tenderloin with a Giant Sauce Board

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This holiday season you should treat yourself. It’s been a rough year and you need something luxurious and show-stopping for your main holiday meal. This year you need a beautifully rosy, fork-tender, juicy beef tenderloin!

You’re probably thinking, aren’t beef tenderloins giant and serve 8-10 people? The answer is yes. But there are also center cut tenderloins that are mini and serve just 4. That’s perfect for you, your other, and LEFTOVERS. Or maybe just a really, really hearty meal. Either way, if you’re looking to make a large beef tenderloin or a slightly smaller one, here are all the tips and tricks for making the best roast beef in your life, aka roast beef tenderloin.

beef tenderloin | www.iamafoodblog.com

What is beef tenderloin?

Beef tenderloin, also known as eye fillet or filet is cut from the loin. The tenderloin is found underneath the ribs, close to the backbone. This part of the cow does very little work which is why is is the tenderest part of beef. Cooked properly, it’s got a melt-in-your-mouth buttery texture and is extremely juicy and delicious. It naturally comes in a nice round-cylinder shape with no bones which means it’s really easy to carve into medallions and serve.

Is beef tenderloin the same as filet mignon?

Tenderloin and filet mignon come from the same part of beef and even have the same shape and size, but technically, they’re not the same cut. Filet mignon is part of beef tenderloin but tenderloin is not filet mignon. It gets pretty in-depth, but all you need to know is that filet mignon are cut from a certain part of tenderloin and when you buy a whole tenderloin, some parts are the filet mignon and some parts are just going to be tenderloin. Is this really important though? I say no, just tell yourself and your guests that you’re serving them up filet mignon steaks 😉

sliced beef tenderloin | www.iamafoodblog.com

sliced beef tenderloin | www.iamafoodblog.com

Where is the best place to buy beef tenderloin?

Not going to lie, beef tenderloin is probably one of the most expensive pieces of meat out there. If you’re looking for the most affordable beef tenderloins, go to Costco. They sell beef tenderloins that are a fair bit cheaper than say, Whole Foods. That being said, the tenderloins at Costco – just like everything else there – are giant, so keep that in mind. If you’re looking for a smaller, center cut tenderloin, visit your local butcher where you’ll be able to find a tenderloin that’s about 3.5-4 pounds compared to the 6-10 pound giants at Costco.

Why is beef tenderloin so expensive?

Each cow has only one tenderloin. I think that pretty much explains it.

Should I buy a trimmed or untrimmed beef tenderloin?

When buying beef tenderloin you’ll notice that they come in trimmed and untrimmed, also sometimes called denuded. If you’re excellent and confident about your knife skills you can save yourself some money and get an untrimmed tenderloin. Personally, we always go for trimmed because part of the beauty of a tenderloin is the nice cylindrical shape and nothing beats the years of experience a butcher has trimming tenderloins into perfect pieces.

tied off beef tenderloin | www.iamafoodblog.com

tied off beef tenderloin | www.iamafoodblog.com

How big of a beef tenderloin should I buy?

Generously, go for 3/4 lb of tenderloin per person. If you’re having a large amount of sides, 1/2 lb should be more than enough.

The best way to cook beef tenderloin

The best way to cook beef tenderloin is to start in a high oven to sear and brown the outside, then turn the oven low so that the inside cooks at a very slow and low rate. It’s a brilliantly simple foolproof method that ensures you don’t mess up a very expensive piece of meat. The outside ends up with a nicely browned crust and the insides are ultra-tender and perfectly pink.

roast beef tenderloin | www.iamafoodblog.com

roast beef tenderloin | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to cook beef tenderloin

  1. Heat your oven to 475°F. We’re going to start by blasting the tenderloin with super high heat.
  2. Pat the tenderloin very dry and salt generously while the oven is preheating,
  3. Tie the tenderloin in 1 inch intervals to ensure that it’s compact and evenly sized throughout. Make sure you dip your butcher string in some oil so it doesn’t stick to the roast.
  4. Rub the loin all over with oil and coat with crushed peppercorns. Insert an oven probe into the thickest part of the tenderloin.
  5. Roast at 475°F for 15 minutes then turn the oven down to 200°F and roast until the inside reaches your desired temperature.
  6. Remove, let rest, slice, and enjoy the deliciousness.

beef tenderloin resting | www.iamafoodblog.com

beef tenderloin resting | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to tie beef tenderloin

Beef tenderloins are nice and round in the middles, but unless you get a smaller, center cut tenderloin, you’ll find that the edges are tapered. We want to wrap these up and tie them so that everything is compact and round, ensuring that the edges don’t get overcooked.

To tie your beef tenderloin:

  1. Cut some butchers string into 12 inch lengths.
  2. Soak the strings in oil.
  3. Tuck the tapered ends underneath themselves to create the same thickness throughout the tenderloin.
  4. Use the oiled strings to tie the tenderloin in 1 inch intervals.

Beef tenderloin ingredients

We’re keeping this beef tenderloin super simple so we can let the beef shine. All you need is: whole beef tenderloin, neutral oil, salt, whole crushed peppercorns.

peppercorns | www.iamafoodblog.com

peppercorns | www.iamafoodblog.com

Beef tenderloin sauces

I love a naked salt and pepper tenderloin with all of its elegant simplicity, but sometimes I want to be punched in the face with flavor too. So here are six different sauces you can pair with your beef tenderloin. We did a choose your own adventure sauce board and it was awesome to go from simply seasoned to trying a different sauce on each bite! Each sauce recipe will make about 1 cup sauce.

① Classic Creamy Peppercorn

Add 1/4 cup brandy or cognac to a pan and reduce slightly over medium heat. Stir in 1/2 cup no sodium beef broth and 1/3 cup cream. Add 1-2 tsp crushed whole peppercorns and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened to your liking. Season with salt to taste.

② Mustard Cream Sauce

Add 1/4 cup white wine to a pan and reduce slightly over medium heat. Stir in 2 tbsp dijon mustard and 3/4 cup heavy cream. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened to your liking. Season with lots of freshly cracked black pepper and salt to taste.

③ Garlic Soy Chimichurri

Combine 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp soy sauce, 2 cloves crushed garlic, and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro in a small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes for the flavors to meld.

④ Garlic Herb Butter

Melt 1/2 cup butter with 4 cloves crushed garlic in small pan over low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in 2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme) and season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

⑤ Sichuan Peppercorn

Combine 2 tbsp Sichuan chili oil, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil, 1 tbsp black vinegar, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 2 thinly sliced scallions, and 1 tbsp chopped cilantro to a small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes for the flavors to meld.

⑥ Wasabi Cream Sauce

Combine 2 tbsp sour cream, 2 tbsp mayonnaise, 1/2-1 tbsp wasabi and 2 thinly sliced scallions in a small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes for the flavors to meld.

⑦ Red Wine Shallot

Add 1 tbsp butter and 1 thinly sliced shallot to a pan and sauté over medium low heat. Sprinkle on 1 tbsp flour and cook lightly. Slowly stream in 3/4 cup stock and 1/4 cup red wine while whisking. Simmer and thicken, season with salt and pepper to taste.

beef tenderloin with many sauces | www.iamafoodblog.com

beef tenderloin with many sauces | www.iamafoodblog.com

Pro tips when cooking beef tenderloin

  • Dry the surface throughly. Patting the skin dry with paper towels will dry out the surface which will help the tenderloin brown when it’s in the oven. Moisture is the enemy of browning.
  • Salt so that the surface of the skin is dry. Ditto on salting – salt draws out moisture so the surface can brown more evenly. Be generous because the inside of the meat won’t be seasoned. Make it rain salt! But not too much because overly salty meat is a travesty
  • Tie the tenderloin. Tenderloins have tapered tips that need to be tucked and tied so they cook evenly.
    Use a meat probe. A meat probe will ensure the middle of your tenderloin is a juicy, rosy ruby pink.
  • Let it rest! Let the meat rest before slicing into it.
  • Don’t forget about carry over cooking. Pull your tenderloin when it reaches just a couple of degrees under the temperature you’re aiming for. While you’re resting, the internal temperature will rise by a few degrees because of carry over heat. Ours rose by 12ºF while resting.

The importance of a meat thermometer

A meat thermometer is essential when cooking a big piece of meat. You spent a large chunk of your paycheck on this, so let’s not do the whole squishing your thumb/touching your earlobe. Do yourself a favor and get an oven probe; one that beeps when the target temp is hit. They can be really cheap, extremely expensive wireless app driven, or something in between. If you have an instant read or thermocouple style thermometer , be sure to check often so the tenderloin doesn’t go over temp.

beef tenderloin ready to roast | www.iamafoodblog.com

beef tenderloin ready to roast | www.iamafoodblog.com

Roast beef cooking temps

For a quick and easy reference, roast beef is roughly done at:

  • Rare: 125ºF
  • Medium-rare: 135ºF
  • Medium: 145ºF
  • Medium-well: 155ºF
  • Well done: 🙅🏻‍♀️

Why isn’t my beef tenderloin pink?

Oops, you probably left it in the oven too long. But fear not! If when you slice into your tenderloin right away and it’s not as pink as you like, just wait. Roast beef becomes more pink and rosy after you cut it and the juices are exposed to the air.

On that note, most of the tenderloin recipes on the internet show a super bloody rare middle. If you want your tenderloin to be on the very pink side, pull it out of the oven at 115°F and the carryover heat should bring it to 120°F for the super pink look. Also, the majority of tenderloin recipes you see are very small center cut tenderloins, 3-4 pounds, which take much less time to cook, so if you’re looking for a very pink middle, make sure you keep an eye on the time and use a meat probe.

How to neatly slice roast beef

You’ve invested time and money into your glorious beef tenderloin, don’t hack at it and get those weird saw marks! To get the cleanest, nicest slice:

  1. Get your biggest knife. You’ll need the length. Give it a sharpen and wash it off. When was the last time you sharpened your knife?!
  2. Hold the beef tenderloin on a cutting board with your non-dominant hand.
    Position the very tip of the knife, at a 30° angle on the edge of the tenderloin that is closest to your body.
  3. Push the knife away from your body, almost perpendicular to the cutting board. Use the whole length of your knife so that the heel of your knife is now at the opposite edge of the tenderloin, the side farthest away from you. The knife should slide right into the tenderloin, about 1/3 to half of the way down.
  4. Pull the knife back towards your body, giving it a bit of pressure so that the tip of the knife is now where it started, at the end of the tenderloin closet to you. You should be about another 1/3 or so of the way down through the tenderloin.
  5. Finally, push the knife away from you one last time and you should have a nice clean slice. Keep your motions smooth and gentle and let the sharpness of your knife do the work.

We like super thick and luxurious slices of tenderloin – aim for at least 1 inch thick!

slices of beef tenderloin | www.iamafoodblog.com

slices of beef tenderloin | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to store leftover beef tenderloin

Wrap it up tightly and store in an air tight container in the fridge. Beef tenderloin should keep for 3-4 days.

How to reheat beef tenderloin

If you have leftovers, this is how to reheat beef tenderloin:
Place slices covered, in a low 200°F oven, for 20-30 minutes or until warmed through.

OR microwave it in 30 second increments. Believe it or not, the inside will still be red and juicy. If it’s not hot after the first 30 seconds, continue to microwave in 15 second intervals.

What to serve with beef tenderloin

POTATOES! It’s always the answer:

Greens are good too:

And bread-y carbs because bread:

beef tenderloin | www.iamafoodblog.com

beef tenderloin | www.iamafoodblog.com

beef tenderloin recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

beef tenderloin recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Beef Tenderloin

The best roast beef tenderloin!

Serves 6

5 from 1 vote

Prep Time 15 mins

Cook Time 2 hrs

Total Time 2 hrs 15 mins

  • 1 beef tenderloin trimmed, about 5-6 lbs
  • neutral oil
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup peppercorns crushed
  • Pat the tenderloin dry with paper towels. Season with salt. Soak some butcher string in oil then tie the tenderloin every 1 inch or so, being sure to tuck in the tails so that the tenderloin is an even thickness throughout.

  • Rub the tenderloin with oil and coat in crushed peppercorns. Heat the oven to 475°F.

  • Place the tenderloin on an oiled roasting rack over a rimmed baking sheet and insert a meat probe set for your desired doneness. When the oven is hot, place the tenderloin in the oven and roast at 475°for 20 minutes.

  • Turn the heat down to 200°F and roast until the center is 120°-125°F for rare to medium rare, about 2-2.5 hours, depending on size.

  • Once the meat reaches your desired temperature, remove from the oven, tent with foil and let rest for minimum 10 minutes. Slice into 1 inch pieces, arrange on a platter, and enjoy.

Sauce Ideas:

Classic Creamy Peppercorn

Add 1/4 cup brandy or cognac to a pan and reduce slightly over medium heat. Stir in 1/2 cup no sodium beef broth and 1/3 cup cream. Add 1-2 tsp crushed whole peppercorns and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened to your liking. Season with salt to taste.

Mustard Cream Sauce

Add 1/4 cup white wine to a pan and reduce slightly over medium heat. Stir in 2 tbsp dijon mustard and 3/4 cup heavy cream. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened to your liking. Season with lots of freshly cracked black pepper and salt to taste.

Garlic Soy Chimichurri

Combine 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp soy sauce, 2 cloves crushed garlic, and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro in a small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes for the flavors to meld.

Garlic Herb Butter

Melt 1/2 cup butter with 4 cloves crushed garlic in small pan over low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in 2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme) and season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Sichuan Peppercorn

Combine 2 tbsp Sichuan chili oil, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil, 1 tbsp black vinegar, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 2 thinly sliced scallions, and 1 tbsp chopped cilantro to a small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes for the flavors to meld.

Wasabi Cream Sauce

Combine 2 tbsp sour cream, 2 tbsp mayonnaise, 1/2-1 tbsp wasabi and 2 thinly sliced scallions in a small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes for the flavors to meld.

Red Wine Shallot

Add 1 tbsp butter and 1 thinly sliced shallot to a pan and sauté over medium low heat. Sprinkle on 1 tbsp flour and cook lightly. Slowly stream in 3/4 cup stock and 1/4 cup red wine while whisking. Simmer and thicken, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition Facts

Beef Tenderloin

Amount Per Serving (7 oz)

Calories 422 Calories from Fat 185

% Daily Value*

Fat 20.6g32%

Saturated Fat 7.8g49%

Cholesterol 166mg55%

Sodium 122mg5%

Potassium 782mg22%

Carbohydrates 0.01g0%

Fiber 0.01g0%

Sugar 0.01g0%

Protein 55.4g111%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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