Cooking Beef Tenderloins: Tips and Techniques

If you are looking to cook an amazing beef tenderloin, there are a few tips and techniques you need to know. Beef tenderloin is one of the most tender and flavorful cuts of meat, and there are many ways to prepare it. Whether you want to grill it, roast it, or cook it sous vide, there are some key things you need to keep in mind. In this article, we will explore some of the best techniques for cooking beef tenderloins to perfection. So, let’s get started!

Cooking Beef Tenderloins: Tips and Techniques | Eat Urban Garden
Cooking Beef Tenderloins: Tips and Techniques

What is Beef Tenderloin?

Beef Tenderloin is a premium cut of meat that comes from the short loin of the cow. This long muscle runs from the ribs to the rear leg and is the most tender part of the animal, with very little fat or connective tissue. It’s often referred to as the “king of steaks” due to its excellent flavor, texture, and tenderness.

The Anatomy of Beef Tenderloin

To fully appreciate the unique qualities of Beef Tenderloin, it’s important to understand its anatomy. This cut of meat is composed of two main muscles: the “head” and “tail.” The head is thicker and wider, while the tail is thinner and narrower. The head is also closer to the rib section and tends to have a milder flavor, whereas the tail is closer to the rear leg and is more flavorful. The head portion is used to make cuts like Chateaubriand, while the tail portion is used for Filet Mignon.

How to Choose the Best Beef Tenderloin?

Choosing the best beef tenderloin involves selecting fresh-looking meat with a bright, reddish-pink color and visible marbling. Look for packages with a sell-by date that gives you at least two to three days to use the meat. But there’s more to consider if you want to get that perfect tenderloin on your plate.


Different grades of beef can produce different results when it comes to cooking. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) grades beef based on the amount of marbling in the meat. The more marbling, the more flavorful and tender the meat is. Look for beef that is at least USDA Choice or Prime grade.

Thickness matters

Thickness can affect the cooking time and method of the tenderloin. For roasting, a tenderloin that is 2-3 inches thick is ideal, while for grilling, a thinner cut is better.

Trimming the tenderloin

Trimming excess fat and silver skin from the tenderloin can help with even cooking and also make for a more visually appealing dish. A good butcher will likely do this for you, but you can also do it with a sharp knife at home.


Beef tenderloin can be an expensive cut of meat, so consider your budget when choosing the best one for your dish. If you’re looking to save money, consider buying a whole tenderloin and having it trimmed and cut by a butcher instead of buying pre-cut steaks.

What are the Different Types of Beef Tenderloin?

Beef tenderloin is a prized cut for its tenderness, juiciness, and mild flavor. Understanding the different types of beef tenderloin is key to preparing it properly.

Whole Beef Tenderloin (untrimmed)

The whole beef tenderloin is a long, cylindrical muscle that runs along the spine of the cow. It is sold untrimmed, meaning it still has the fat and the silver skin intact. This cut is more affordable but requires more preparation work.

  • Preparation: Before cooking, the fat and silver skin must be removed. This can be done at home or by a butcher. Often, the whole tenderloin is cut into smaller portions, such as filet mignon, before cooking.
  • Cooking Methods: Whole beef tenderloin is a great choice for slow cooking methods, such as roasting or smoking. However, due to its size, it can be tricky to cook evenly.

Beef Tenderloin (trimmed)

Beef tenderloin that has been trimmed is also known as a center-cut tenderloin. It is the same cut as the whole tenderloin but without the fat and silver skin. This cut is more expensive but easier to prepare.

  • Preparation: The tenderloin is already trimmed and ready to cook straight out of the package.
  • Cooking Methods: Beef tenderloin is a versatile cut that can be cooked using a variety of methods, including grilling, pan-searing, roasting, and broiling.

What are the Tips for Preparing Beef Tenderloin?

Beef tenderloin is a high-end cut of beef known for its tenderness and mild flavor. Preparing beef tenderloin requires some preparation steps and proper techniques to make sure the meat is cooked evenly and has the perfect flavor. Here are some tips for preparing beef tenderloin that will ensure a delicious and mouthwatering dish:

Trimming the Fat

The first step in preparing beef tenderloin is to trim the fat. Using a sharp knife, take off any visible fat from the surface of the meat. You should try to remove most of the fat, but not all of it. The fat adds flavor and helps keep the meat moist while cooking.

Tying the Meat into an Even Shape

The second step in preparing beef tenderloin is to tie it into an even shape. Beef tenderloin is a long and thin cut of meat that often has a tapered shape, which can result in uneven cooking. Take kitchen twine and tie the tenderloin so that it is evenly shaped throughout. This will ensure that it cooks evenly and looks nice once it is sliced.

Seasoning the Meat

Seasoning beef tenderloin is an important step in bringing out the delicious flavors of the meat. Mix together kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and dried thyme in a small bowl. Rub the seasoning mix onto the surface of the meat, making sure to cover all sides.

Searing in High Heat Before Cooking

Searing beef tenderloin is an essential step to create a flavorful crust on the outside while keeping the inside juicy and tender. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Heat a large skillet on high heat, add olive oil and let it heat up. Once hot, add the beef tenderloin and sear on all sides until browned, about 2-3 minutes per side. You can also add butter and thyme to the skillet for extra flavor.

Tip: Let the beef tenderloin rest after cooking for 10-15 minutes before slicing. This will help the juices redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and flavorful dish.

What are Cooking Techniques for Beef Tenderloin?

Beef tenderloin is a luxurious cut of meat that is often associated with special occasions or fine dining experiences. When it comes to cooking this pricey cut, it’s important to know the different techniques available to create a sublime dish that will impress your guests.

Oven-roasting Method

The oven-roasting method is a classic way to cook beef tenderloin. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Remove the tenderloin from refrigeration and allow it to reach room temperature. Season the meat with salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary. Place it in a roasting pan and roast for 10-15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue cooking for another 20-25 minutes, or until the meat’s internal temperature reaches 130-135°F for medium-rare and 140-145°F for medium. Rest the meat for 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Stove-top Searing and Oven-finish

The stove-top searing and oven-finish method involves searing the tenderloin on the stovetop to create a crust and finish cooking in the oven. Heat a skillet over high heat until it’s hot. Add olive oil. Season the meat with salt and pepper and place it in the skillet. Sear each side for 2-3 minutes or until browned. Transfer the skillet to a preheated 425°F oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the meat’s internal temperature reaches 130-135°F for medium-rare and 140-145°F for medium. Rest the meat before slicing.


The grilling method imparts a smoky flavor to the beef tenderloin. Heat the grill to high heat. Season the meat with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Grill the tenderloin for 2-3 minutes per side, turning 1/4 turn each time to create grill marks. Move the meat to a cooler part of the grill and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes or until the meat’s internal temperature reaches 130-135°F for medium-rare and 140-145°F for medium. Rest the meat before slicing.

Sous Vide Method

The sous-vide technique involves cooking the beef tenderloin in a sealed plastic bag in a precisely controlled water bath. Season the meat and seal it in a vacuum-sealed bag, then place it in a preheated water bath set to 130°F for medium-rare and 140°F for medium. Cook the tenderloin for 2-3 hours, then remove from the bag and sear it in a hot pan to create a crust before slicing.


If you have a smoker and a few hours, smoking beef tenderloin can take the luxury of this cut to the next level. Make sure to trim any fat or silverskin, and season the tenderloin on all sides. Place the tenderloin in the smoker and smoke for 1-2 hours until it reaches an internal temperature of 130°F for medium-rare. Let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

What are the Best Side Dishes for Beef Tenderloin?

Beef tenderloin is a classic and elegant dish that is perfect for special occasions and dinner parties, but what are the best side dishes to pair with this delicious cut of meat? Here are a few ideas:

Roasted Vegetables

If you’re looking for a healthy and flavorful side dish, roasted vegetables are the way to go. Simply toss some vegetables like carrots, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast them in the oven until they are tender and caramelized. The natural sweetness of the roasted vegetables pairs perfectly with the rich and savory flavor of beef tenderloin.

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food, and they are a great side dish for beef tenderloin. Creamy and buttery mashed potatoes provide a perfect contrast to the tender meat and rich flavor of the gravy. You can make them ahead of time and keep them warm in a slow cooker, so they’re ready to serve with the tenderloin.

Creamed Spinach

Creamed spinach is a classic side dish that is flavorful and rich. To make this dish, sauté some onions and garlic in butter, add chopped spinach and cream, and cook it until thick and creamy. The creamed spinach adds a luxurious touch to the meal, and it’s a perfect complement to the tender beef.


If you’re looking for a lighter side dish, a simple salad is a great option. A mix of greens with a light vinaigrette can provide a refreshing contrast to the richness of the beef. Add some roasted beets or caramelized nuts to make it more interesting.

Yorkshire Pudding

Yorkshire pudding is a classic British side dish that is light and fluffy. To make this dish, whisk together eggs, flour, milk, and salt, and pour the mixture into a hot greased muffin pan. The mixture will puff up and create a crispy outer layer with a soft, airy interior. It’s a perfect side dish for beef tenderloin and will impress any guests.

Grilled Vegetables

Grilled vegetables are a great side dish for summer barbecues and outdoor gatherings. Toss some peppers, zucchini, and eggplant with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and grill them until they are charred and tender. The smoky flavor of the grilled vegetables pairs perfectly with the beef tenderloin.

Thanks for Reading!

That’s all you need to get started cooking perfect beef tenderloins every time! With these tips and techniques, you’ll be impressing your guests in no time. Remember to let the meat rest before serving, so the juices can redistribute and make every bite as tasty as can be. We hope you found this article helpful and come back soon for more great cooking guides!

Cooking Beef Tenderloins: Tips and Techniques

Learn how to cook the perfect beef tenderloin with this easy guide. We’ll cover everything from selecting the best cut of meat to finishing with mouth-watering toppings!

  • 2 beef tenderloin filets (6-8 ounces each)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Remove the beef tenderloins from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Pat them dry with a paper towel, then rub them with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a large oven-safe skillet over high heat. When hot, add your beef filets to the pan and sear each side for 2-3 minutes until they form a golden crust.
  4. Lower the heat to medium. Add butter, garlic, and fresh thyme to the pan. Let the butter melt and flavors infuse into the meat.
  5. Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature has reached 135-140°F for medium-rare.
  6. Remove the skillet from the oven and let the beef sit for 10 minutes to rest before slicing.
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