The coveted beef tenderloin is a pricey, but delectable cut of meat. It has a mild, buttery flavor that makes it ideal for entertaining and perfect for special occasions. This long, cylindrical cut comes from the short loin and extends into the sirloin — the most tender cut of the steer. Boneless, with little fat, it carves easily into lean but tender fillets, known as filet mignon. While you must roast tougher cuts of meat at a low temperature for a long time to make them tender, the beef tenderloin cooks up tender at a high temperature in a shorter amount of time. Like other prime cuts, beef tenderloin is best when roasted to medium rare.
Tips for the Best Way to Cook Beef Tenderloin
- There are four servings per pound of tenderloin
- Use butcher's twine to tie up the roast - this ensures it has tight and even cooking
- Season a beef tenderloin well - they do not hold a lot of flavor on their own - salt and pepper work best
- Don't be afraid to check the temperature periodically during cooking - all ovens are calibrated differently - you do not want an overcooked beef tenderloin
Prepare a Beef Tenderloin
Step 1: Let it Rest
Step 2: Preheat Your Oven
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a high enough temperature to brown the outside and create a flavorful crust, without having to take an extra step to sear the roast. The temperature you roast will determine your cooking time. You may roast at a lower temperature for a longer time, if you desire.
Step 3: Trim the Fat
Trim the tenderloin of extra fat. Peel off any skin that has not been removed by the butcher. Note that one end of the tenderloin is narrower. Fold this narrow end of the tenderloin into itself so the roast is uniform in shape and size. Wrap butcher's twine around the roast at one-inch intervals.
Roasting a Beef Tenderloin in the Oven
Step 1: Oven Placement
Transfer the beef tenderloin to a rack placed in the middle of a shallow roasting pan. Place the pan, uncovered, in the middle of the oven.
Step 2: Temperature to Cook Beef Tenderloin
Roast the tenderloin until an instant-read meat thermometer indicates an internal temperature of 135 degrees for medium rare or 145 degrees for medium. The USDA considers beef cooked at a minimum temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. A two to three pound tenderloin will take 30 to 40 minutes to reach medium rare and 45 to 50 minutes to reach medium. A four to five pound beef tenderloin will take 50 to 60 minutes to reach medium rare and 60 to 70 minutes to reach medium.
Step 3: Let it Rest
Transfer the tenderloin to a serving dish, cover it with aluminum foil and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes. The internal temperature continues to rise for a few minutes. After about 15 minutes, the meat relaxes and becomes more tender. The juices that have collected in the center of the tenderloin redistribute evenly throughout the roast.
Step 4: Make an Au Jus
Deglaze the pan, if you want to serve the tenderloin au jus. Stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of quality consommé or beef broth into the roasting pan. Scrape the pan drippings off the bottom of the pan as you bring the broth to a boil. Simmer the liquid for several minutes to reduce it, or cut the liquid in half, and concentrate the flavors.
Things You'll Need
Fresh ground pepper
Dry spices of choice
Wire roasting rack
Instant-read meat thermometer
1/4 to 1/2 cup broth or consommé
Check the temperature of the tenderloin 10 to 15 minutes before you expect it to be done cooking.