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May 2, 2009 09:13 PM

Cold/Room temperature beef tenderloin?

We're planning on grilling or roasting several beef tenderloins to serve at our wedding, but we'd like to serve them either cold or room temperature to avoid lots of prep-work the day of (they'd be cooked the day before).

We'll probably slice the night before and tightly cover to preserve as much moisture as possible, which obviously isn't ideal, but it's what we have to do.

I've considered cheating by drizzling some butter over the meat when we slice it (since tenderloin is obviously not the most flavorful meat), but I'm worried that it will congeal and be gross at room temperature.

Any suggestions on flavorings/sauces? Any suggestions on preserving moisture or upping flavor? Any general suggestions? Ideally we could do everything the day before and let everything come to room temperature on its own to avoid prep-work..

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  1. Unless your planning on using it for sandwiches, I wouldn't do the cold/room temperature thing. You may as well serve cold cuts.

    12 Replies
    1. re: todao

      Come on! Be an optimist!

      In reality, I've gone to plenty of weddings with hot prime rib, etc. By the time you get through the buffet table and sit down, it's basically room temperature already. And I've thought it was perfectly acceptable.

      Maybe I have lower standards than most?

      If people generally agree with todao, I'll certainly reconsider.

      1. re: jeremyn

        You are wasting your money and the results will be disappointing if not disastrous, especially if you plan on cutting/slicing it the night before. Not only will it not taste like beef tenderloin, it will take on a distinctive smell that will be off-putting. Perhaps I am too critical, but meat like this should only be sliced just prior to serving for best results.

        Additionally, you tell todao to be an "optimist". Based on this assertion, sounds like you have not tested this recipe and formula. Since this is your wedding, I would not recommend a test on your guests - give it a shot beforehand and I suspect you will change the menu. I don't mean to be critical and doubt I have higher standards, but while your idea sounds good on paper, I'm afraid will fail miserably in reality.

        Furthermore, drizzling warm butter over cold or room temperature beef will result in rapidly hardened butter on top the beef - will be very unappealing.

        1. re: poulet_roti

          I'm definitely not planning a test run on the guests! I have a beef tenderloin sitting in my fridge, but I'd like to get some feedback before testing. I've cooked plenty of beef hunks for consumption the next day, but those have been on a much smaller scale and with the aid of reheating.

          I certainly appreciate your feedback... do you have any alternative suggestions?

          I don't necessarily have to serve a hunk of beef. It could go into another dish with better keeping qualities.

          1. re: jeremyn

            Glad you did not take offense as thought I may have come off rather strongly. Regarding other suggestions - Hmmm, that is difficult to come up with as don't know you or your guests. Where do you live? Is this going to be an indoor or outdoor wedding? How many guests are you expecting? When is the wedding? These all matter in order to create a menu that is consistent with your location, time of day, time/season of year, etc. By the way, congrats on your upcoming wedding.

            1. re: poulet_roti

              Haha, well, you DID come off strongly, but perhaps that's a good thing. I certainly understand we're working under some tough constraints.

              Wedding is outside in California / East Bay in late May. Expecting about 100-110 guests.

              Last weekend I demoed a cold chicken salad with romesco sauce and pistachois that was quite tasty even two days later, but I couldn't come up with a way to make it LOOK appealing. But that's the kind of thing I'm after... something cold, flavorful, and moisture-preserving. Preferably not looking like a red pile of vomit.

              I'm not necessarily tied to beef tenderloin either, especially if we're talking diced up meat. The next ridiculous constraint? Plastic knives. I realize we could rent knives for the price difference between tenderloin, and, say, tri-tip, but then we'd have to rent forks and spoons, too, adding another $100 to the bill.

              1. re: jeremyn

                Again, my apologies. I think the whole thing sounds fun and a good time. I guess once question would be why must you do something so formal as beef tenderloin for an outdoor wedding? I don't think your constraints are so difficult, just that you need to fashion a menu that is consistent with the situation. Maybe I should shut up as simply don't care that much for beef tenderloin hot and even less so when cold.

                Is your wedding a traditional or formal type of wedding or less structured? I always feel that beef tenderloin is a dish for a formal affair. Frankly, todao suggestion of a cold cuts is not bad given the high quality of cold cuts that are now available, especially here in the bay area. You would make a great spread of something along these lines. Then again, high quality salumi I prefer not to slice until just prior to eating. As for a grain salad that you mention on another thread - a nice quinoa salad with arugula can look very appealing and taste great. I need to give all this some thought.

                One thing that stands up well cold or a room temperature would be some sort of salmon, perhaps poached or something similar.

                1. re: poulet_roti

                  For the grain salad, I'm happy with the taboulleh recipe I've fleshed out. It's definitely good cold and made in advance. Regarding your quinoa salad with arugula, are you talking cooked arugula? Or cold arugula that you later stir into the cold salad? Or the grain salad on a bed of arugula? I'm trying to picture how it doesn't get all wilted after sitting for a day.

                  As for the wedding, it's a half-formal, half casual affair. However, my fiancee has a large family that always does backyard parties with your typical backyard party-fare, and we'd like it to seem like something a bit more "special" than that. I'm sure you meant todao's suggestion of cold cuts is "not bad," and in general I'd agree with you. The above is my only reason for hesitation.

                  We're definitely already having a salumi/antipasto spread with various meats and cheeses, but I feel like a wedding requires cooked beef.

                  One possibility is doing the same preparation with chicken and beef: namely, skewered, grilled, and cold with several choices of very flavorful sauces. I had a typical chicken peanut satay type thing in mind, but that could be expanded with several sauce choices and a choice of chicken or beef. I haven't tried this yet though... I'm grilling chicken tomorrow to stick in the fridge for a day. Maybe I'll grill some beef alongside.

                  I'm still open to suggestions!

                  1. re: jeremyn

                    Okay, I understand. I recently made a quinoa salad not long ago and prepared the quinoa earlier in the day. The good thing about this was that I continued fluffing up the grain in order to release all of the steam. One thing is that it can be clumpy until most of the steam has been released which can take quite some time. anyways, i just layed it out on a large platter and threw a good bit of arugula on top and tossed it together with a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice. I think I also added some diced red onion and fresh parsley. It was definitely a cold salad, arugula did not wilt at all as the quinoa was room temperature by the time I tossed it all together. Was a refreshing salad on one of those hot days we had few weeks ago.

                    Nevertheless, sounds like you are on the right track with everything but will continue to come with thoughts to share.

                    1. re: poulet_roti

                      Definitely come back. Discussion is immensely helpful.

                      I'm grilling chicken (and maybe beef) skewers tomorrow so I'll see how that works. I am also going to humor myself and grill a hunk of this tenderloin (I have a whole one) and see if I can make it tasty cold the next day.

                2. re: jeremyn

                  To make the chicken salad look appealing, arrange it in lines on a large, rectangular serving platter, or concentric rounds on a round platter (bulls-eye style) and fill the spaces with thinly-sliced tomatoes or shredded radicchio or other, brightly-colored veg.

                  For the tenderloin, maybe slice thin, make a mixture of cream cheese and horseradish and herbs, spread on the tenderloin slices, cut into strips, pinwheel and skewer for tenderloin lollipops.

                  1. re: weezycom

                    Rather than a chicken salad, a chicken terrine is less common and could be dressed up. You can add different ingredients to make it nicer, weddinglike. Plus, it would be nice and cool in warm weather.

          2. re: jeremyn

            I am not totally opposed to the idea of tenderloin sliced thin and served at room temp, but what else is on the menu?

        2. If you're intent on going going the cold, red meat route, I suggest a skirt steak.

          6 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            I have served tenderloin at a catering event room temp with a creamy horseradish sauce. Room temp on the meat and it was quite good. However you could do skirt steak with a chimichurri or again a horseradish sauce which both are good. Even a creamy mustard sauce too. The tenderloin will be expensive but contrary to a few others I have done it with success. Do NOT cut ahead and don't pour butter on it. One trick I use when catering. I use an au jus. If you can't make it you can actually buy a packaged one as a last resort or use a good quality beef stock. After slicing the meat just dip in the au just or stock. It help re-hydrate a bit a gives it a little flavor. Again ... I prefer warm or sliced that day but this does work with a pretty good result. A few good sauces are key. Skirt can be equally as good, great flavor way way cheaper and is great at room temp, but again, don't cut ahead.

            Bruscetta is great as a side. You can grill the bread ahead and then there are many good toppings. artichokes, olive tapenade, shrimp or crab salads. All which can be made ahead. Tomato is hard as it can get watery

            Experience in catering, skewers don't work great for next day. Now chilled skewers of shrimp would work. Grilled after a nice citrus marinade, Use a spicy citrus BBQ dipping sauce. Fruit skewers are usually a hit. You can serve it with a honey yogurt sauce.

            Any appetizers. Spring rolls are fun and can be done ahead. Also they can be made with chicken shrimp beef and rolled ahead. Sauce if you want, you can even make some veggie and they can be cut in half. They are easy fun and great finger food.

            As for salad, never mix in any lettuce the day ahead. Wilted. I would mix in right before. Rice salads, Couscous salads are the best to make ahead as far as keeping texture.

            I have made a chicken terriyaki type of skewer with marinated mushrooms, skewered and served cold with a light spicy ginger yogurt dipping sauce. Again I prefer cold and they have to be cooked just right. And honestly it is hard to do that so the chicken is not overcooked and the mushrooms done, but it can work.

            Let me know if you need any further recipes or info. Just my thoughts and sorry to those who I disagree with on the tenderloin but it can work, not my first choice but it can.

            1. re: kchurchill5

              I have never had a spring roll that was made the previous day that were not out and out bad. The skins become chewy and unappetizing. Goi Cuon need to be made minutes, possibly an hour before consumption not the day before. They are especially bad if made and then refrigerated.

              1. re: kchurchill5

                Can you suggest some bruschetta ideas that can be prepared in advance without getting the bread soggy? Perhaps a favorite recipe or three for the things you've mentioned?

                Also, do you know of any acceptable pre-fab toast points I could buy so I don't have to grill millions of slices of bread?

                Next thing: really, what's wrong, fundamentally, with skewered meat? Is it simply that pulling the meat off the skewers cold is difficult? If so, I could simply do the same kinds of skewer preparations but sans skewers.

                1. re: jeremyn

                  First skewered meat. It is a favorite, but I found when made ahead and then chilled and reserved, It tends to be very dry for me Shrimp if fine, beef or chicken just aren't the best for me, but that is my opinion. Please since you have some time, try one chicken breast and see how it turns out. You may be fine with it and then go with it. Just my opinion. I do like to marinade it well over night and then grill which seals in the juices quickly, remove when just done, don't over cook and remove. I do that with my chicken and mushrooms which are ok, then I use almost a green goddess dressing. But a there are many dressing that are wonderful.

                  I would marinade the chicken in garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and just a good Italian seasoning blend. Throw the mushrooms in the bag the next day, then skewer both the chicken and mushrooms and grill later that day. I like 2 chicken and 3 mushrooms for a nice blend. My green goddess dressing is: (many versions) but this is an easy one ... 1/2 cup mayo and sour cream, 3 scallions greens plus 1 of the whites chopped, 2 tablespoons tarragon, 3/4 cup fresh parsley, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon dry basil, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and s/p. Can be made 2-3 days ahead. Great dip for this. But you could use just about any dip that you like. A good blue cheese dip would be great as well.

                  Beef ahead, I don't like, but again, just buy a small fillet and try. I love small onions on a skewer with the beef but you don't want thin because it will dry out. Also marinade again. A simple marinade of red wine, garlic, s/p and olive oil with some thyme is perfect and easy. A horseradish cream is perfect for this or a creamy mustard. Horseradish sauce, is a combo of sour cream, horsy sauce, a dash of lemon juice, s/p and thyme and parsley. About 1/2 cup sc to 1/8 cup prepared horsy. Make it as hot as you want. The mustard sauce is sour cream and dijon, dill and garlic, about 1/2 sc and 1/4 dijon, make it as tangy as you like. Both easy dips. Grill the steak medium rare, not well and keep all the cubes same size. to insure equal cooking, when skewering keep them a little apart on the skewer so they are not "squished" together this way they cook better. I also make a spicy honey BBQ sauce utilizing store bought sauce by adding chipoltes in adobo and some honey and ginger to make a great easy quick BBQ sauce for chicken or beef. Also I know you are in a bind so chimichurri sauce. You can make your own which I normally due but you can also buy a few good store bought brands to serve as a sauce with the beef kababs if you make those.

                  OK, so not so long. Another reply below with bruscetta recipes.

                  1. re: jeremyn

                    Bruschetta, this is easy if you let it be. A tomato based is hard, tomatoes get mushy if made ahead. I like the Olive tapenade, you can add smoked salmon to it which is great. or just plain. A nice slice of fresh mozz and tomato and a basil leaf or a simple basil pesto, make your own or again you can buy some pretty good store bought. An easy pesto appetizer which is great. You can cut tomatoes ahead but when you cut them ahead. put the tomato back together, just like it was picked and set in a small baggie not sealed, this helps keeps the juices together and not dry out. It really works. Also the cheese can be cut ahead, just store in a baggie. Make or buy a good balsamic vinaigrette, easy to make or buy and drizzle over the tomato and cheese, add a basil leaf, or you can use arugula or spinach too and top the toast.

                    Ok the toast, I brush with a little evoo on both sides and bake until crusty brown, then rub with garlic, just slice one in half and rub (optional if you have those who are not fond of garlic), then cool completely and then for another hour to dry, then store in a air tight bag. I also let set out about 1 hour before topping to make sure they are crisp.

                    I like olive tapenade also artichoke, shrimp salad is also great, I use paula deans shrimp recipe
                    It is easy and good. I actually use the small salad shrimp, inexpensive and don't require chopping when I put them on toast but use whatever shrimp you want.

                    Crab salad also works. I have made guacamole with avacado, onion, and tomato (a slight twist) and used that to top the toast which is good.

                    Black beans, mango, cucumber, onion and jalapeno is also a great topping but I like melted cheese but just the topping or salsa is good as well.

                    Olive tapenade you can buy if you want, many good brands or make it. Much cheaper. Pitted Kalamata olives chopped around 24 or 1 jar, 1 tablespoon capers or a few more, I like capers ... lemon juice 1/2 to 1 depending on how tart you like it, a couple of teaspoons of olive oil, s/p go light on the salt capers and olives are salty and anchovy paste, just a bit. I love the flavor.

                    Slice goat cheese again ahead of time and then make a mix of frozen spinach thawed and drained, some sun dried tomatoes in oil, a shallot, and some olives and garlic. Mix and let set. Spoon a bit of that on the spreadable goat cheese for a great quick topping to the bruschetta Again all made ahead.

                    Hummus is also great. A red pepper hummus is wonderful on it.

                    Ok the artichokes. This is best served warm but I have served it room temp just fine or you can grill it if you want. 1 can of marinated artichokes, drained and chopped, 1/3 cup red onion diced, 1/2 cup mayo, 1/2 cup parm or romano, 2 plum tomatoes diced. Mix all and heat to combine all and melt the cheese. Cool and stir in tomatoes and serve at room temp or slightly warm over the grilled bread.


                    One last thing. I great think is a cheese fondu. Crock pot, easy, inexpensive, tasty and fun. You can set it by some bread cubes, veggies for people to dip and enjoy. You can make small tooth picks with some olives, bread cubes, tomatoes, apples, anything you like. It is a great fun dish.




                    One last thing, you can buy some pre toasted baguettes. I have tried them. Much crispy and not bad. In fact you could top them ahead earlier, not a day ahead but at least earlier. They aren't bad. Most local stores carry them, my regular stores carry them. They come in cheese, garlic, and some other flavor. Not bad. Not as good, but certainly not bad at all Of course adding any little touches like a a fresh sprinkle of fresh parsley over the olive tapenade or a half of cherry tomato on the hummus ... but that is over kill and I think you have enough to do.

                    I hope I answered your questions, if not please let me know. And please note I love skewers and use them all the time, I just like them fresh is all, but just give them a try and see.

                  2. re: kchurchill5

                    I agree. I don't see a problem with room temp tenderloin and would slice it the day of the wedding. A mustard/ horseradish sauce would be delicious with it. I made Ina Garten's recipe for one that went along with a prime rib roast and it was great with the cold meat the next day.

                2. room temp or cold t-loin is great with a very green herb-y mayo. i like a tarragon or rosemary dominant one, with lots of italian parsley mixed in to ooomph up the color. horseradish or bleu cheese mayo also great with the beef. maybe you could offer choices? a great seedy mustard would be nice too. happy wedding!

                  1. If you are intent on using a tenderloin cut the day before try this idea. Slice it and reassemble into its original shape and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Then the day of the wedding you can just unwrap and plate.

                    Some different sauces and aoilis would be nice as well as the quinoa salad and grilled asparagus that you can also do the day before. Serve them with a nice lemony aioli. For the quinoa half some grape tomatoes and roast and mix with some fava beans. Make it colorful with some yellow and orange peppers as well..

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: jfood

                      That was exactly my plan with the tenderloin. I would also certainly wait for it to get cold before slicing and reassembling like you mention.

                      1. re: jfood

                        I still refrain cutting it, however, if necessary, by putting it back together it does help retain some moist qualities, I still wouldn't but again, everyone has their own ways.

                        1. re: kchurchill5

                          Jfood likes skirts WAY better than filet but remember the first time you looked at skirtthe next day, OMG look at the fat. And on your wedding day could be tough. And can youimagine how many skirts are needed for 100+ people, major undertaking for a bride versu you as a caterer and jfood as a happy go lucky griller.

                      2. Cube or slice the meat and serve on skewers. A flank, skirt or hanger steak cut against the grain will be more flavorful cold but even a cubed tenderloin will taste good. Cut and dry rub/marinate the meat but do not salt before grilling. Under cook the meat (serve it rare) to keep it moist. Serve with sauces such as curry, Chimichurri, ponzu, and Asian (ginger, garlic, shoyu, etc). If you have enough help or time, add a grape tomato to the skewer. Remove from the refrigerator one hour before service to bring to room temperature. It will taste great.

                        Salad idea for a large crowd - I make both a papaya and mango salad and serve them side by side. Both are dressed with a jalapeno vinaigrette served over greens and rice noodles. They have slightly different ingredients and tastes but both keep well and look colorful together.

                        Plan on having three people at the minimum be responsible for food during the event. One to make and refill trays in the back/service area, one to clean up and replace trays as needed at the front, and someone to clear clutter that will be produced by so many people. The last person could backfill for the needed bartender (even if serving punch) - since your crowd will all arrive at the same time, two or three drink areas would be great - all but one can be dismantled after the initial rush.

                        Remember that you can rent party service items like chafing dishes, coolers, trays, bowls, etc at a very reasonable cost. This might expand your choices for dishes to offer. Dishes that are great or even better reheated are boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin, jambalaya, gumbo, and lobster mac and cheese.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: alwayscooking

                          Another tenderloin dish I served at a large party (100+) was mini beef wellingtons. Tenderloins were cut into about 5-6 rolls each (2" diameter), seared, and then wrapped (with pate and sauteed mushrooms) in puff pastry, decorated and baked until very rare. They were then cooled slightly,lightly covered, and refrigerated. The next day, they were brought to room temp in a slow oven to crisp the dough and bring to med rare. The logs were presented whole at room temperature with some of them sliced. This makes a 2-3 bite nibble. Serve with mustard sauce and/or horseradish sauce (both would also be good for the plain meat above).

                          1. re: alwayscooking

                            I'm sure it was delicious, but I don't have the skill, confidence, or time to try that.

                            I'm grilling some skewers and trying a variety of sauces today and tomorrow, so I'll see how that goes.

                            One thing I would consider is mini-faux-carpaccios. Sliced rounds of (cooked / grilled) beef topped with greens, cherry tomatoes, olive oil or pesto, or something of that sort. I could slice the beef in advance and reassemble it as suggested by jfood, and then arrange the toppings into large bowls and instruct my helpers to assemble and arrange them the morning of. Does anyone have a good recipe for something like this?

                            1. re: alwayscooking

                              Do you, by chance, have a recipe for these mini beef wellingtons?

                              1. re: alwayscooking

                                Do you, by chance, have a recipe for these mini beef wellingtons? Thank you