It’s been a while since we’ve done any “fancy pants” cooking at home. This is a collaborated effort – Hubby, Kiddo and I. Hubby has been teaching Kiddo the fine art of grilling. This recipe is perfect for fine-tuning Kiddo’s grilling skills. The tenderloin must first be seared over a hot bed of coals, then grilled over indirect heat until medium-rare. While the menfolk are cooking with fire, I’ll prepare the wonderful Port Sauce.
Before we get started, I’d like to take a few minutes to discuss cuts of meat. This grilled beef tenderloin is, in reality, a really big filet mignon – about 3 pounds worth – that hasn’t been cut into “steaks”.
The tenderloin (not to be confused with the short loin) runs along both sides of the spine, and is usually harvested as two long snake-shaped cuts of beef. The tenderloin is sometimes sold whole. (Check with your butcher, he might have a whole tenderloin that has yet to be carved into different cuts). When sliced along the short dimension, creating roughly round cuts, and tube cuts, the cuts (fillets) from the small forward end are considered to be filet mignon. Those from the center are Tournedos of beef; however, some butchers in the United States label all types of tenderloin steaks “filet mignon.” The shape of the true filet mignon may be a hindrance when cooking, so most restaurants sell steaks from the wider end of the tenderloin – it is both a cheaper and more presentable cut of beef. When prepared the tenderloin as a roast, take as much as possible from thinner, pointed end for a true “Filet Mignon”. The odd shape of the point will not matter in a roast presentation since it is tucked into the rest of the roast and bound in place by twine.
The tenderloin is the most tender cut of beef and is also arguably the most desirable and therefore the most expensive. The average steer or heifer provides no more than 500 grams of filet mignon. Because the muscle is not weight-bearing, it contains less connective tissue, which makes it tender. However, it is generally not as flavorful as some other cuts of beef (example, primal rib cuts), and is often wrapped in bacon to enhance flavor, and/or is served with a sauce.
When working with a whole beef tenderloin, you will need to trim and tie the meat, removing the excess fat and sliver skin. Believe me, with a good set of knives, this isn’t difficult to do. Once upon a time, trimming meat scared me. Now it’s no big deal – although I try not to think too much about the per-pound price of a tenderloin roast while trimming away.
It’s been hard to get my guys retrained when it comes to Filet Mignon – medium rare is the limit. They generally like their “steaks” cooked to a nice medium, with very little, if any pink. Since a true beef tenderloin is almost completely void of fat, cooking the meat beyond medium-rare and you risk endangering the tenderness of the meat. This roast was so tender, it melted like butter in your mouth. The pepper gave it wonderful flavor, and the port sauce was the perfect finishing touch. By the way, the sauce spooned over mashed potatoes was excellent as well.
Delicious does not even begin to describe the incredible flavors. This wonderful grilled tenderloin will rival the finest five-star restaurant.
Peppered Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Wine Sauce
Ingredients – Tenderloin
1 Beef Tenderloin (3 1/2 – 4 lbs), trimmed (make sure you stress to the butcher you need the tenderloin cut, including the thinner end)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/8 cup coarse ground black pepper
With sharp knife, trim off excess fat and sliver skin from beef tenderloin. Fold narrow end of beef under to approximate thickness of remaining tenderloin. Tie folded end with butcher’s twine or heavy cotton string; continue to tie every 2 to 3 inches to hold shape. Pat beef dry with paper towels.
Brush beef with oil; sprinkle with salt. Rub pepper evenly over beef. Wrap beef with plastic wrap; let stand 30-45 minutes at room temperature.
Build a fire in your grill for indirect cooking. Once you’ve got a nice bed of coals and wood chips “glowing” in your chimney, empty and spread on half of the grill, leaving the other half empty.
Place beef on heated side of grill; cook 2 to 3 minutes on all sides or until browned.
Move beef to unheated side of grill. Insert meat thermometer into center of narrower end of beef.
Cover grill; cook over indirect heat for about 25 minutes. Move roast so that thicker side is over the coals and grill 10 minutes longer or until thermometer reads 135-degrees for medium-rare.
If thickest part of beef has not reached 130 to 135-degrees, it may be necessary to cut beef in half and leave thickest part on grill for 8 to 10 minutes longer.
Remove beef from grill; place on carving platter. Cover with a double wrap of foil to hold in the heat; let stand 15 to 20 minutes. Temperature will rise about 10-degrees during stand time.
Ingredients – Port Sauce
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 Cup Finely chopped Shallots
1 1/2 Cups Beef Consume
2 Teaspoons Chopped Thyme Leaves
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
3 Tablespoons Port Wine
3 Tablespoons Flour
While Filet Tenderloin rests, in 12-inch heavy skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat.
Add shallots; sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove shallots from skillet and set aside.
Add port wine to deglaze pan. Melt 2 tablespoons butter with flour to create a roux. Cook roux 2 or 3 minutes.
Add broth, thyme and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Return shallot mixture to pan. Increase heat to medium-high; heat to boil, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to thicken.
Remove from heat, whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter until smooth.
To serve, remove twine and cut beef into 1-inch slices. Serve with sauce.
Serve the tenderloin with buttery whipped potatoes and pan seared asparagus tips for a nice presentation. If desired, to add more pop and color to the plate, serve with two or three asparagus tips and two or three tender baby carrots with tops intact.