If you are needing to impress and are short on time, smoked beef tenderloin is the way to go! This is, arguably, the most coveted cut of beef and is guaranteed to “wow” your guests. Yes, it is pricey, but it’s worth it! This is the cut of meat where filet mignon comes from, for reference.
The tenderloin is comprised of three sections, the head, center and tail. The center is the most coveted part of the tenderloin and some people cut off the tail and head. Personally, I do not. The head is a bit thicker than the center and the tip is much thinner. If you are trying to make a uniform cook throughout, you can use butchers twine to tie the head of the tenderloin to make it more uniform in shape with the center. You can also tuck the tail under and tie it off to make it a similar size as well. Or, you can cook it as it is and provide a variety of doneness to your guests. The tail will be a bit more well done than the center and head.
If for whatever reason your tenderloin has the “silverskin” still intact, carefully remove by running your knife gently underneath while pulling it up with your other hand. Trim off any other excess fat around the outside and remove “the chain” which is just a fatty strip along the outside as well. Typically, this is already done for you and you can ask your butcher to do this as well.
If you have the time, you should leave the tenderloin uncovered overnight. This helps dry out the surface and helps it gain a beautiful crust when searing.
Cut: Beed Tenderloin
Weight: 4.5 pounds
Heat Source: Wood pellets
Wood Type: Traeger Signature Blend
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Estimated Cook Time: 1 Hour and 15 Minutes
Actual Cook Time: 1 Hour and 30 Minutes
Estimated Cooking Temperature: 225° Fahrenheit and then high heat sear for final 5-10 minutes until preferred temperature.
Actual Cooking Temperature: 225° Fahrenheit and then high heat sear for final 5-10 minutes until preferred temperature.
Cook Date: October 18, 2020
Beef tenderloin (mine was 4.5 pounds)
Olive oil (about a tablespoon or two)
Smoked Salt for garnish
Thermometer - These are critical tools to have there are two main types. First, instant read thermometer like this one or this one. The Thermapen is worth its weight in gold and one I use almost every day. I know the price tag seems excessive but it's the best in the business for a reason. If you're looking for a dual temperature thermometer for both grill temperature and meat, this is the way to go. I use my Smoke for longer more specific cooks such as this.
Step 1: Pre-heat your smoker or grill to 225° Fahrenheit.
Step 2: Rub the beef tenderloin with olive oil and generously season. For my cook, I used our Santa Maria blend. If you want to go “au naturel”, season with coarse Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
Step 3: Place your meat thermometer in the thickest part of the tenderloin. Ensure the tip of the probe is in the center. Place the tenderloin on the smoker and cook until desired temperature below. We are going to bring the cook home with a high heat sear which you need to factor in along with the rest time.
Rare: 120-130°, remove from smoker at 110-115°, remove from the sear at 117-125°
Medium Rare: 130-135°, remove from smoker at 120-125°, remove from the sear at 127-132°
Medium: 135-145°, remove from smoker at 125-135°, remove from the sear at 132-140°
Medium Well: 145-155°, remove from smoker at 135-145°, remove from the sear at 142-150°
Well: 155°+, remove from smoker at 145-155°, remove from the sear at 152°+
Step 4: While your tenderloin is cooking, prepare the horseradish sauce if desired.
Step 5: Upon reaching the desired temperature, remove the tenderloin from the grill and increase the temperature to 450° Fahrenheit. You should also oil the grill grates here to ensure the meat doesn’t stick.
Step 6: With the meat thermometer still in, place the tenderloin back on the high heat grill for the final sear. Continue rotating the tenderloin until internal temperature is reached and the outside is nice and crusty.
Step 6: Remove the tenderloin and let rest for 15 minutes prior to cutting.
Lessons Learned (Note: I will update this section to include your lessons learned from the comment section)