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beef tenderloin questions

Is it advisable to marinate a beef tenderloin?

Can I skip the searing? I will have guests in my kitchen and it really gets smoky.

Can you suggest an easy sauce that can be prepared in advance?

Thank you!

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  1. IMO, it is inadvisable to marinate a tenderloin. But you may prefer to add flavor via marinating, since tenderloin tends to lack good beefy flavor. Searing is essential, but perhaps you could do in a pan preheated to very hot in very hot oven if you'd rather not get the kitchen smoky. If you don't sear it, how do you plan to cook it?

    Bernaise can be made ahead and kept warm in a thermos. If you don't want that much trouble, a nice horseradish cream is good - softly whipped cream, bottled horseradish, and some dijon mustard. A bordelaise (or a cheater's bordelaise) can be made in advance, and rewarmed, but perhaps not so easy. Or you could make a compound butter, with seasonings like shallots, garlic, mustard, herbs, all to your taste, roll up in a cylinder in plastic wrap, then cut disks to place on top of tenderloin slices. (Compound butter is best served on hot meat so it melts; I would find it unappetizing on top of a cold slab of beef.) Or just reduce some heavy cream by about half, season with pepper and perhaps a bit of salt, then stir in gorgonzola or blue cheese of your choice until melted.

    2 Replies
    1. re: janniecooks

      I was planning to rub with olive oil, salt and pepper and maybe thyme and roast at 425.

      Unfortunately my oven vents into the kitchen.

      Thanks for your help!

      1. re: laredo

        I'd stick with that plan, it sounds terrific. just do the searing in the oven heated to really hot, 500 degrees if possible, then turn down the heat to finish.

    2. Just coat with olive oil, salt, pepper and a few spices. I have made it with starting in a hot oven (like 500 degrees) and turning the oven down to about 325 to finish cooking. Do you happen to have an outside grill that you could sear it on?

      For sauce choices, blue cheese/Gorgonzola sauce or a horseradish sauce, or one of each.

      1. First time I ever cooked a big hunk of tenderloin... was in college and home... probably for holidays. Dad was a SERIOUS beef guy and saw Wellington done on cooking show... back when only ones were on PBS. He had Frugal Gourmet's cookbook with recipe and I was totally comfortable in kitchen. Made a pasty crust, wrapped the BIG $$ hunka beef... even made little leaves to decorate from crust scraps. Was seriously patting myself on the back... it looked really pretty going into oven and GORGEOUS coming out!

        We all sat down to Sunday dinner and discovered the crust was NOT cuttable?!? Picture 15 yo brother LITERALLY ROFLAO & Grandfather saying "it's fine"!?! We almost had to CHISEL crust off, but LUCKILY beef was PERFECT inside... nice and pink, tender and delicious. Don't remember any kinda sauce... not Dad's thing, but meal was yummy even though crust was inedible!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: kseiverd

          Just about to go sit down and serve my Wellington, which is resting as we speak. I used phyllo which is what I had in the freezer so we'll see; I'll report back shortly. It LOOKS good and the crust is tender at least. My husband is my harshest critic.

        2. Sear it ahead of time, let it sit at room temp uncovered until it rests and then finish it in the oven.

          From the pan that you seared ahead of time, add some shallots, deglaze with wine and add stock and reduce. Finish with some cold butter. Willliam Senoma used to have a nice demi glaze -worth the price and lasts a long time spoonful to spoonful.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Bellachefa

            How long can it rest from sear to back in the oven?


            1. re: Bellachefa

              Searing & deglazing ahead of time was my first thought too. I would not skip it.

            2. Ina's recipe NEVER fails. Follow it to a T (simple) and it will be PERFECT. Make sure to tie it so the roast is equal size throughout it's length. A simple horseradish sauce is always a big hit.

              1. Marinating beef is better for inexpensive cuts, as the acids in the marinades will help tenderize the beef....Tenderloins do not need this this step.....

                Concentrate on a sauce......Bearnaise. Au Poivre, Port Wine, Marsala, Mushroom Gravy...

                1. Searing is essential, IMO.

                  It will impart a beefy flavor to a non-beefy cut of meat.

                  1. Many thanks to all! Be assured I read your advice over and over and am very grateful for the time you took to help me.

                    The tenderloin turned out well. I was having to much fun with my guests and let it cook a little too long for my personal tastes, but my guests preferred a little less rare, so all ok. My thermometer registered 131, so it must not be accurate.

                    I seasoned the roast with s and p and lots of oregano. Cooked it at 500 for ten minutes. Then added a wine/seasoning mixture and turned oven down to 350.

                    I did not have a big enough pan to sear, so had to omit that.

                    Thank you so much.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: laredo

                      Glad it worked out. Lot of good reads on reverse sear where the meat is first cooked at a low temp of say 225 then stepped up at the last minute to max oven temp to caramelize. I find the 225 slow cook keeps the juices in the meat better..... not as good for gravy but much moister roast. FOURUNDER has some great stuff on this site about that method.

                      For roast beef sandwiches, I buy whole cryovaced eye roasts, age 3 weeks or so, cut them in half, tie to make them as round as possible, season with G/S/P, pan sear all sides brown then finish in the oven at 225 to med rare. Extremely moist & evenly cooked. Also pretty reasonable cut of beef to experiment with and great for sandwiches at a 1/3 the cost of store bought roast beef lunch meat.

                      1. re: Tom34

                        Thank you for the reply,tom

                        I forgot to say that I made the cream/horseradish sauce and compound butter with sauted minced shallots. Both were good and I would do them again.

                        1. re: laredo

                          good for you!!! the worst mistake I made doing filet mignon was tenting it too much with foil while using the pan drippings to make a wine reduction. It ended up steaming the filets(: Lesson learned!

                          1. re: Bellachefa

                            Hmmmm. I threw some foil over mine. There was probably some steaming involved???

                            Will watch for that next time. Thank you!

                    2. I had great success grilling my 5 lb tenderloin roast on
                      Christmas Day, which was fortunate, as I am no the griller in the family, and my ovens both conked out on me making breakfast that morning!

                      I had rubbed it with kosher salt after tying it, and had it loosely covered in my fridge for almost five days, as I freaked out and waited two more days before cooking it.

                      Made an oil marinade of garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt & pepper. Slathered it all over the beef, then let it sit at room temp for almost an hour. Seared it on direct heat in my old charcoal weber grill. Then moved it over to the cool side for about a half hour more. Came out beautifully rosy and juicy, medium rare. Used the same method for a pork loin roast a few days later, and had similar delicious results. This is a keeper method for sure.

                      1. Some really great advice on here! :) Bellachef hit the nail on the head.

                        When having a dinner party where I don't want to smoke up the house, I do exactly as she said.

                        Another option is to sear it outside on a hot gas grill, then bring it back inside to actually cook it.

                        As for marinading, I agree with what janniecooks said.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: JetLaggedChef

                          Thanks, jetlag.

                          Unfortunately our grill didn't survive Thanksgiving. :) Grilling a sear sounds ideal.

                          HOw long could I wait from the searing to putting the roast in the oven?

                          1. re: laredo

                            I normally let it sit for an hour maybe two. Most bacteria is on the exterior of the meat and should be killed during searing.

                            Red meat has a high acid content that's not bacteria friendly so you can push the limits a bit.

                            Pork or poultry though? I wouldn't let then sit at all.

                            1. re: laredo

                              Btw, I always use a thermometer to verify doneness. That's the most important thing. A few degrees in the wrong direction makes all th deffierence in the world.

                              1. re: JetLaggedChef

                                Thank you for your replies.

                                I did use a thermometer. It registered 131 degrees when I judge it was actually more in the 145-150 range, maybe more. The center pieces were reddish/juicy, but it was not pink all the way across. I guess it's time for a new thermometer.

                                I hope by the next tenderloin, we will have a new grill and I look forward to your suggestion of searing on the grill.

                                Thank you for your help!

                                As for the propane torch, that would be impressive!

                                1. re: laredo

                                  If you want really great advice for cooking just about any meat, search here for "fourunder." He's one of the gods :) and got many CHs through their Christmas trauma :)

                          2. There's always the option of doing a final sear with a propane torch. It's fast and heck, your guests will love the show.