In our neighborhood we love to gather a bunch of friends together for pitch-in style dinners. Most of us have small children, so it is nice to get together at one house and let the kids play while the adults eat and drink some decent wine. These pitch in dinners also save everyone a lot of money compared to a night at a restaurant, while providing a relaxed atmosphere to kick back and catch-up.
While we often get together to make pizza or spaghetti, sometimes it is fun to raise the bar up a notch. For these occasions I go back to my Hoosier roots. I was born in Indiana, into a family of German meat packers and butchers. Therefore I find myself uniquely qualified to teach you all about the best beef tenderloin recipes around!
Unlike most other food you might order at a restaurant, you can cook beef tenderloin at home and have it taste even better than that restaurant filet – and for a fraction of the cost. Because this recipe is for a single roast it is also ideal for group gatherings. I understand that beef tenderloin is likely to be the most expensive cut of meat at your grocery store, but I will show you how to get the most for your money.
Ingredients for one of my favorite beef tenderloin recipes:
~5 lbs beef tenderloin center cut roast
Coarse kosher salt
4 cloves of garlic – minced
1/3 of an onion – sliced
And that’s it. When you buy good meat there is no need to marinate it to oblivion!
Purchasing the Beef Tenderloin:
At most grocery stores, they will sell you an untrimmed beef tenderloin for a fraction of the cost of the “beef tenderloin center roast” or the “fillet mignon steaks”. I will grant you that the untrimmed tenderloin is a bit ominous looking. Do not be afraid, a good grocer will also trim it for you. I ask to have the tenderloin heavily trimmed into an even roast. They may ask you if you want it tied. This will assist in making the uneven sections more even by folding the “tail” under, but I prefer to use that meat for soup, so I say “no”. When they trim the tenderloin they will trim off some good meat. I ask them to cut all of the trimmed meat into 1″ cubes and set it aside. Some places will also grind this meat into hamburger if you ask them to do so. Be warned, if you make a burger out of this filet meat you may become addicted to the resulting burgers!
In the image below you will see the trimmed tenderloin in the top of the styrofoam tray. At the bottom of the tray you will also see the trimmed meat, cubed into 1″ cubes.
Preparing the Beef Tenderloin:
1. When I get the meat home the main cut of roast is usually a bit uneven still. I often do a bit more trimming to even it up, adding the trimmings to my soup pile. I throw out some of the trimmings if they look too fatty. We will come back to the trimmings later when I post a future recipe for beef barley soup!
2. Pat down the roast with the coarse salt to give the entire roast an even covering, then place the roast on a roasting pan. Spread the garlic around the top and sides of the meat.
3. Spread the onion slices along the top of the meat. I put as many as I can balance on top of the meat. While you place the onion also put 4 pats of butter along the top of the meat. Sprinkle the top with a bit of ground pepper.
4. Roast your tenderloin at 450 degrees. It will smoke so you may want to put your fan or hood on early. Cook the tenderloin for about 25 minutes for medium rare or until the internal temperature reads about 125 degrees. The beef will continue to cook after you remove it from the oven, and even after you cut it. Let the meat “rest” for about 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
5. Slice your beef as you prefer it. I usually cut thick slices and lay them on a platter, so guests can choose their preferred cut of meat. The roast in this post served about 10 people.
I hope you enjoy this at your next party! We had a great gathering, but now it is time to stop writing and get back to my soup to use my beef trimmings. Please stay tuned for my post on using the tenderloin trimmings to make beef barley soup! By making this incredible soup (a meal itself) you can significantly reduce the overall cost of the tenderloin. Don’t just serve one meal from your tenderloin – serve two!
Best regards and stay creative,