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Beef Tenderloin

This beef tenderloin recipe is an effortless, melt-in-your-mouth, show stopper dripping with so much flavor you will be obsessed. It is celebration, special occasion and holiday worthy (perfect for Valentine’s Day and Christmas!) and is foolproof as long as you have a meat thermometer. To make this elegant yet easy recipe, the beef tenderloin is enveloped in a robust spice mix, seared to golden brown perfection, slathered with garlic herb butter and baked to 5- star juicy splendor. The beef tenderloin is seeping with tantalizing buttery garlic herb flavor that’s complimented by a bright, cooling horseradish cream sauce you will want to slather on everything – and it takes 60 seconds to whisk together! As much as you love this beef tenderloin the day off, it makes fantastic leftovers as well – because it’s so tender! I’ve included detailed instructions, tips, tricks and everything you need to know to cook the BEST beef tenderloin recipe!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 12 minutes
Servings 8 -10 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 4-5 pound beef tenderloin trimmed of silverskin and excess fat
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
  • Kitchen twine

Spice Rub

  • 3-4 teaspoons kosher salt use 3/4 teaspoon for every pound
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tsp EACH pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder

Garlic Herb Butter Spread

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 tsp EACH dried parsley, dried oregano, dried thyme

Instructions

  • CUT: One end of the beef tenderloin will have a thinner tapered end - we will be folding this end up against the roast. Cut the beef tenderloin in half so the two halves will be roughly equal length when you fold the thin end up against the roast to create a uniform cylinder shape (see photos in post).
    a collage showing how to cook beef tenderloin by slicing it in half then folding the narrow tail end under
  • TIE: In order for beef tenderloin to cook evenly and hold the folded tail in place, it is tied with kitchen twine – you can also ask a butcher to do this for you. First, re-fold the thin end up against the roast to create a uniform cylinder shape if needed. To tie, you can simply tie individual loops spaced 1 ½ inches apart down the length of each tenderloin and then one loop going around the roasts lengthwise or I’ve detailed the proper technique below which is actually quicker (just maybe more difficult explain, so just try it! – see detailed photos in post):
  • Take a string and loop it around the width of one roast, about 1-inch from the end and tie a snug knot. Loop the string around your left hand by moving the string from the front of your hand to the back so it creates a loop. With your looped hand, pick up the front of your roast and pull the loop around your roast. Shimmy the loop down to create a loop 1 ½ inches from the first loop. Pull any loose string so it’s snug and repeat the process, tightening as you go. To finish, wrap the string all the way around the roast lengthwise then tie off the end and trim any excess string.
    a detailed collage showing how to tie beef tenderloin with kitchen twine
  • SPICE RUB: Whisk together all of the Spice Rub ingredients in a small bowl; set aside. Pat roasts dry with paper towels then evenly rub spice mix all over (it will seem like a lot but use all of it).
    showing how to cook beef tenderloin recipe by seasoning beef on all sides with kosher salt and seasoning rub
  • BRING TO ROOM TEMPERATURE: Let roasts rest at room temperature for two hours or transfer to the refrigerator to rest uncovered for up to 48 hours. If the beef is refrigerated, let it sit at room temperate for 2 hours before cooking.
  • HORSERADISH CREAM SAUCE: At any point while the roast is resting, mix all of the Horseradish Cream Sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. When ready to use, taste and adjust to taste if desired.
  • GARLC HERB BUTTER: When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Meanwhile, mix all of the butter spread ingredients together in a bowl until evenly combined; set aside.
  • SEAR ROAST: Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high-heat. When the oil is very hot and just smoking, add beef tenderloin roasts (you may need to work in batches). Sear each side of beef until deeply browned. Transfer to a plate and wipe out any blackened drippings. Drizzle skillet with oil and transfer roasts back to the skillet. Slather the butter spread all over the tops and sides of the roasts (use all of it).
    showing how to cook beef tenderloin by slathering with herb butter before the beef goes in the oven
  • BAKE: Transfer the skillet (or use a lightly greased baking dish/roasting pan) to the preheated oven. Bake at 450 degrees F until beef registers desired doneness: between 120-125°F for medium rare, recommended (about 20-25 minutes) or 115-120°F for rare or 130-135°F for medium rare. **Keep in mind the beef will rise 5-7 degrees after resting, so take the meat out of the oven 5-7 degrees below the temperature you are aiming for. You will likely need to remove one roast before the other.
    showing how to cook beef tenderloin by inserting meat probes into the beef so it cooks evenly
  • REST AND SLICE: Remove skillet from the oven and baste roasts several times with the buttery juices from the skillet, then transfer roasts to a cutting board and tent loosely with foil. Let beef rest for 15 minutes before slicing into ½-inch thick slices. Serve with Horseradish Cream Sauce.

Notes

  • Kosher salt: Is a must for the spice rub because its large texture doesn't clump like table salt (do NOT use the equal amount of table salt or you will ruin your beef tenderloin!). The amount of salt you need will correlated directly to the size of your beef tenderloin.  You will want ¾ teaspoon salt for every pound of beef if using Morton. So, the simple equation is .75 x pounds of beef = teaspoons. 
  • How much beef tenderloin per person:  As a general rule, you’ll want about 1/2 pound of meat person, which means this recipe will serve 8-10 people.
  • How do I halve the recipe? If you would like to halve the recipe to serve 4-6 people, then you will need one 2–3-pound center cut beef tenderloin.  If cooking only the center cut, then check the temperature after 15 minutes of cooking.
  • Whole/unpeeled vs trimmed/peeled:  Unpeeled beef tenderloin will have the fat, fatty chain and silverskin left on; trimmed/peeled will have the fat and chain removed but the silverskin is left on. The price per pound varies significantly between unpeeled and peeled due to the labor involved.  As far as which one to buy?  It comes down to your budget, time constraints and knife skills.  Peeled beef tenderloin makes for an effortless dinner, whereas unpeeled, is the way to go if you if you are comfortable with a knife and are looking to save money over time.
  • How to trim beef tenderloin:  See post for how to remove silverskin and fatty chain.
  • How to cook the perfect beef tenderloin:  Because beef tenderloin is so lean, it can dry out easily if overcooked so it is recommended to cook to medium-rare, medium at the most. Use your meat thermometer and check your beef right at 20 minutes then every few minutes as needed to achieve the correct temperature.  Better yet, use a digital probe thermometer and set the desired temperature for 100% accuracy (a digital probe thermometer will change your cooking life!).
  • How to store:  Leftover beef tenderloin should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When properly stored, the beef is good for up to 5 days.  See post for lots of leftover ideas.  You can also freeze beef tenderloin whole, chopped or in slices. Frozen tenderloin should be used within 3-4 months