The tenderloin is just that. Tender. It’s diverse, flavourful, you can roast it, cut it into steaks, grill it whole – so many options.
For that reason, when at the grocery store or the butcher shop, the first thing I look for when searching for that perfect tenderloin, is one that is still in the cryo-bag. This allows you to break the whole thing down the way you want it.
It’s such an interesting piece of meat, especially for a primal cut; when you take it out of the cryo-bag it’s long and it starts thick at one end and then gets narrower at the “tail” end. The thicker, “nub” end of the tenderloin can be cut up into steaks or used as a roast. When I’m breaking this piece down, that top chain muscle is the first thing I pull away, I like to cut it up and pan fry it hot and fast in a stir fry or in a nice red wine-based stew.
Next is the silver skin. This cut has a silver skin, and you want to make sure you get that off because it doesn’t render off.
Now you have a clean piece of beef and it’s up to you how you want to break the rest of it down.
If you are looking for a roast to feed a bunch of people, butterfly that tail end and tuck it underneath. That makes the thickness uniform for your roast. With this cut, it’s important to tie it with butchers’ twine so it keeps its shape when you’re cooking it – whether on the grill or in the oven – you don’t want it to relax because otherwise the juices will just flow out of it.
Now if you want to elevate your tenderloin even more, you can cut a Chateau Briand. Cut the tail end off, keep that for your stew later, and then cut 5-6 inches back from the nub end. That will get you 3-4 medallion steaks and leave you with the centre cut of the tenderloin, otherwise known as the Chateau Briand – my personal favourite. Again, make sure you tie it tight a few times around so that it keeps its shape. With this roast, you only want to cook it to a medium rare and using a hot cast iron with a bit of butter, sear the outside and cauterize the ends of the roast so the whole outside has a nice skin. Then you’ll roast it at 300-325°F for just a few minutes until you get that perfect medium rare. I promise you this is the best roast you will have ever tasted.
The most important thing when you are thinking of cooking your tenderloin is to keep it simple. This cut speaks for itself. You can elevate it with a crust or a simple rub, but don’t go too crazy.
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