May 07, 2015


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How-to Guide: Roast Beef Tenderloin

You probably already use your chef’s knife for most jobs in the kitchen, but did you know that they were originally designed to deal with large cuts of beef? There’s a reason why the blades are bigger than paring knives and heavier than fillet knives. Today we’re going to talk about how to best deal with those large cuts of beef, and we’re going to look at a delicious, Versed Chef-approved recipe for beef tenderloin.

Selecting your tools is the first step. While we recommend a chef’s knife, it’s not a must, and it depends on whether your cut of meat has bones in it. For boneless cuts, some chefs prefer a longer, thinner blade, because they find it makes for easier slicing and cleaner cuts. For something that’s bone-in, a lot of chefs will get out their heavier chef’s knives. As long as your preferred tool is sharp and solid and made of high-quality steel, we think you’ll do just fine.

So what is a beef tenderloin, exactly? Well, the tenderloin, or the filet, comes from the short loin of the steer. And it’s extremely tender – hence ‘tender-loin,’ fancy that. The muscle sits near the kidneys, and doesn’t get much of a workout. Because it’s so tender, it’s great for dishes where you want that buttery texture.

Tenderloin is expensive (the filet mignon comes from the tenderloin, after all), so it probably isn’t an everyday meal, but if you want to impress that special someone with your culinary skill, here’s a basic recipe to try.

Beef Tenderloin

Removing the skin.

The first piece of business is to set up your beef. Unless the butcher has already prepared it for you, the cut will have a skin of tissue on it. You’re going to want to remove this – it’s tough and doesn’t add much to the dish. Using the knife you’ve chosen, carefully cut it off. Just look for anything that isn’t “meaty.”

Tie it up.

Once that’s done, you’re going to want to tie the roast. If it’s the entire tenderloin, it’s going to be thinner at one end, and this change in thickness can lead to uneven cooking. Tucking the thinner or tail end and tying it every 3-4 inches will help prevent that. Once done, it should have a consistent thickness along the entire length of the tenderloin.

Sprinkle surface with salt.

Now it’s time to season. There’s some debate about how much salting in advance you want to do. Some chefs say it adds valuable flavour, but others will tell you it’s going to dry out your meat. The problem is that a tenderloin isn’t hugely flavourful on its own.

You can add herbs or garlic, too, if you want. Let it sit in your refrigerator uncovered for a while – how long is up to you, depending on your taste preferences and the amount of time you’ve got available.

Time to Roast.

At this point, we’re going to talk about roasting, but we should mention that a lot of people like some kind of sauce on their tenderloin. This isn’t that kind of recipe so we’re not going to tell you which one to choose – it’s up to you, and most sauces can be made a day ahead of time.

You’ve already salted it. Sprinkle it with oil and put it in your roasting pan at about 400°F (200°C) until you reach an internal temperature of around 130° to 140°F (55° to 60°C) for a medium-rare. It’s a lean and tender cut, so make sure you don’t overcook it.

Waiting around.

I know, you’re probably hungry and you’re going to want to tear into this thing, but wait. Let it stand there a while. It’s important to make sure you don’t cut into it for 10 minutes, because otherwise the juices will run out, along with your flavour.

But once you’ve waited, cut the strings, and carve. You’ll need that sharp knife again to prepare slices about half an inch thick.

Dig in.

That’s it! Enjoy – alone, or with whatever sauce you’ve chosen. Let us know how it turned out.

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