Beef tenderloin -- must I trim it before roasting?
I'm not much of a carnivore, but I am hosting Christmas dinner and my guests expect a big meaty centerpiece dish. Hence, I bought a 7 pound hunk of untrimmed beef tenderloin from Costco. I was thoroughly confused when I bought it as they had both trimmed and untrimmed tenderloins. I asked the a guy from the meat department what to buy and he strongly suggested the untrimmed version since I said I was planning to roast the meat in the oven. He said the untrimmed version wouldn't have enough fat and would be tasteless.
So.....fast forward a few days and almost every single recipe I've looked at for roast tenderloin calls for a trimmed piece of tenderloin. I could take a stab at trimming the meat and proceeding from there, but is there any way to cook the tenderloin without trimming it? What are the pros and cons of cooking it untrimmed or trimmed? I personally like lean meat and find the untrimmed hunk of beef quite unappealing, but I also don't want it to taste like shoe leather. Is there some sort of middle ground where I could remove some of the fat from the tenderloin?
Please advise if you've got some insight!
It really should be trimmed before roasting. Not so much for the fat but for the silverskin.
Sounds like you don't have much experience with trimming meat, and an expensive whole tenderloin is a tough place to start.
There is a strip of meat and fat on the side called the chain. This can be pulled off easily and will get rid of most of the fat. You can grind into burger if you like later.
The silverskin is a bit harder to get. Make sure you have a sharp boning knife. Work it under the silverskin at the fat end of the tenderloin, point the blace up slightly into the silverskin and slice back and forth to remove it, being careful not to take off any of the meat. Take your time with this, you'll get the hang of it.
Once that's done you can take the back of you knife and scrape off some of the fat on the bottom of the tenderloin, or not and just leave it on.
There's probably some youtubes out there that will show you how. Patience and don't cut off any of the red stuff.
Removing the fat for the most part only requires pulling it off. I suggest you remove the silverskin, both for aesthetic and culinary reasons. If you do not remove the silverskin, the tenderloin will curl slightly instead of remaining flat....but worse, it's unpleasant to chew. Removing the silverskin may seem daunting, but it's really quite easy. Just take your time with a sharp boning or paring knife and make deliberate cuts away from you.
Make sure you roll and tie the tail to make your roast uniform for slicing.
In addition to the chain, I also usually remove the roast from those Costco tenderloins.
I use the chain for stir fry or stroganoff. The roast for awesome roast beef sandwiches and the filet for steaks.
I agree with all of the above. You can leave the fat, but trim the silverskin. Just take your time and you'll quickly get the knack.
What can I bring?
One suggestion - Once you get the blade of your knife under the end of the silverskin, angle your knife blade slightly upward towards the silverskin and less so towards the meat.- not so much that you cut through the silverskin, but just enough so the blade slides along the underside of the silverskin. When I do this, I barely need to "saw" the knife blade and the top of the meat ends up with a nice smooth cut. Hard to describe, but hope you see what I mean. I remember the first time I cut down a tenderloin - very scary, but as other posters said, take your time. After doing a few of these, it becomes easy-peasy. I have two to do tomorrow myself. Good Luck!