Perfectly cooked, medium-rare whole beef tenderloin is a beautiful sight to behold, and it makes a seriously impressive presentation for a crowd. Today, in addition to a stellar recipe for a perfectly presented roasted beef tenderloin, you’ll learn why its cook times should not be dependent on weight (and the simple solution), helpful tips for getting the best cut at the butcher’s counter, the internal temperature you should be aiming for, side dish pairings and more!
As a home chef, the idea of roasting whole beef tenderloin can be an intimidating one. Overcooking one could potentially be the equivalent of demolishing about eight filet mignons. In fact, it is the equivalent of multiple filets, because that’s what beef tenderloin is after all — one giant filet mignon roast.
With a digital thermometer by your side and a little know-how when it comes to roasting and cooking temperatures, you’ll feel confident in getting the job done. And, rest assured, with this recipe, you’ll get the job done right.
WHAT IS BEEF TENDERLOIN
As mentioned, beef tenderloin and filet mignon are essentially the same things, only when referring to filet mignon, the beef tenderloin has been cut into individual filets. When referring to beef tenderloin, we are typically referring to the whole tenderloin. It is cylindrical in shape and hails from the short loin of a cow.
The short loin section of the cow is just behind the ribs and in front of the sirloin, and does not experience much movement. Therefore, cuts from the short loin remain very tender and are of the highest quality, but none more so than the tenderloin. This is why is an expensive cut of meat.
ASK THE BUTCHER FOR…
When you go to purchase your tenderloin, ask the butcher for the middle of the center cut of the tenderloin. If however, you end up with a tenderloin with a “tail,” have butchers twine on hand and truss the tenderloin so that it is of uniform thickness before going into the oven.
ROASTED BEEF TENDERLOIN RECIPE OVERVIEW
- Set out tenderloin at room temperature to remove the chill.
- Pat dry, rub with oil, and season with salt and pepper.
- Place on roasting rack and transfer to oven.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest.
BEST WAY TO COOK BEEF TENDERLOIN
Roasting is the best way to cook a whole beef tenderloin. This means that the tenderloin will go into the oven at a high temperature, and air will circulate around the tenderloin for even cooking. For this, you will need a roasting pan and rack.
SEASONING — KEEP IT SIMPLE
However, before you can roast it, you first must season it, and before you can season it, you need to remove all of the excess moisture. To do this, simply pat the tenderloin dry with a paper towel. The next step will be to coat it with oil. The oil will help the tenderloin to brown evenly and develop a beautiful crust, but it will also help the seasoning to stay put.
This is a heavenly cut of meat and does not require too much fuss when it comes to seasoning. However, pepper and beef go hand-in-hand, complimenting one another beautifully. If ever there were a time to pull out the peppermill, it’s now.
A mix of freshly ground pepper and Kosher salt is all you need to season beef tenderloin. For this recipe, use 3 parts freshly ground, coarse pepper, 1 part Kosher salt.
BEST TEMPERATURE FOR ROASTING
The best temperature to cook beef tenderloin at is 425°. This temperature will cook the tenderloin through in a timely manner and ultimately yield a perfect crust.
HOW LONG TO COOK BEEF TENDERLOIN
I have experimented with whole roast multiple times over. Each time I have roasted a tenderloin ranging from 3 pounds to 3.7 pounds. The 3.7-pound tenderloin took only 40 minutes to reach a perfect medium-rare. The 3-pound tenderloin took 50 minutes to reach medium-rare. That is a vast difference in cook time when you consider there was under a one pound difference, and the larger tenderloin actually cooked faster than the smaller one.
Therefore, weight is not the only thing one should take into consideration when determining cook time.
COOK TIME IS NOT DEPENDENT ON WEIGHT ALONE
A thicker tenderloin will take longer to cook than a skinny one. This is common sense, but not something we always keep in mind when roasting meat. What is the solution? Begin gauging the temperature of your beef tenderloin after 35-40 minutes in the oven, using a digital thermometer inserted directly in the center of the tenderloin. After that (depending on how far along temperature-wise), check it every 6-10 minutes thereafter.
INTERNAL TEMPERATURE FOR MEDIUM-RARE
Another element to consider is large cuts of meat continue to cook even after they have left the heat source. For whole beef tenderloin, it is safe to assume the temperature will go up anywhere from 5°-10° after it comes out of the oven. Therefore, I always pull the tenderloin at 130° for a perfect medium-rare. For more degrees of doneness click here.
Now you know how to cook it, but what to serve alongside it?
BEST SAUCE FOR BEEF TENDERLOIN
This is a cut of meat that is absolutely perfect on its own, but if I’m going to add anything to it at all, it will most certainly be this horseradish sauce, the perfect accessory to any steak.
TIPS FOR MAKE-AHEAD BEEF TENDERLOIN
Making beef tenderloin ahead of time and reheating it puts you at risk over overcooking. However, you can make your tenderloin ahead and serve cold or at room temperature crostini-style. To do this, slice your tenderloin as thin as you can, using a good, sharp carving knife and place it on a large serving platter. Accompany it with toasted baguette slices, greens of watercress or arugula, shavings of Parmesan cheese and a horseradish sauce for dressing.
Roasted beef tenderloin is an extraordinary entree, perfectly tender and overflowing with elegance. A special cut of meat, ideal for commemorating special occasions, celebrating throughout the holiday season, or just making your guests feel like full-on royalty. Please, enjoy.
5 MORE ENTREES FOR ENTERTAINING YOU’LL LOVE
- Roasted Pork Tenderloin is simple to make and boasts huge flavor! Seasoned with a mustard rub and a fresh sprinkle of rosemary.
- Whole-Roasted Chicken is slathered with a quick and easy compound butter mixture and roasted in the oven.
- Pork Loin Roast is simple and easy to make, yet succulent and perfect for feeding a crowd.
- Baked Chicken Leg Quarters with lemon and rosemary with a flavorful, crispy skin and a juicy interior make an impressive presentation for any crowd!
- Fork Tender Pot Roast braised in a red wine, beefy sauce with fresh herbs, and served with carrots, is an elegant take on a comfort food classic, and guaranteed to win over your guests!
A recipe for roasted beef tenderloin made with a thick peppered crust, and roasted to perfection.
- 3 tablespoons fresh, coarse ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 3-4 pound beef tenderloin
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
Set out the tenderloin out at room temperature 45 minutes prior to roasting.
Preheat the oven to 425° and have ready a roasting pan fitted with a rack.
Add freshly ground pepper to a small bowl, add the salt and stir to mix. Set aside until ready to use.
Pat the tenderloin dry with a paper towel. If you were unable to obtain the middle of the center cut of the tenderloin from your butcher, truss the tenderloin so that it is of even thickness.
Drizzle with canola oil and rub evenly across the tenderloin. Sprinkle with pepper and salt, and rub across the tenderloin once more. Place tenderloin on the roasting rack and roast for 40 minutes.
At this point, begin checking the internal temperature using an instant-read thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the center-most part of the tenderloin.
For a perfect medium-rare, pull the tenderloin once the thermometer reads 130°.
If your tenderloin has yet to reach the desired temperature, return it to the oven and check it every 6-10 minutes thereafter.
Once the tenderloin has the reached desired internal temperature, transfer to a carving board, tent with aluminum foil, and allow to rest 15-20 minutes. Slice, serve, and enjoy.