Cooking Beef Tenderloin

January 3, 2011 3 Comments

New Year's Eve Beef Tenderloin

New Year’s Eve Beef Tenderloin Dinner

If you are reading this holiday recipe, it just may be near the New Year so I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, full of great joy and wonderful meals.  I’m looking forward to the New Year and all the new cooking techniques and recipes I will learn and be able to share with you. 2011 should be a fun year with some major changes to the Reluctant Gourmet website and cooking blog.

This year I spent New Year’s Eve in Park City with my family at my good friend Alice’s home where she prepared delicious roasted beef tenderloin, Caesar salad, boiled potatoes and my oldest daughter prepared her special glazed carrots. On the way back from a great visit from our friend’s cabin in the Uintas, Alice asked me how long should she cook the tenderloin? I gave her my standard answer, “as long as it takes to get the internal temperature you want”.

How long does it take to cook a beef tenderloin?

I get asked this question all the time and although I often prepare a meal using time and temperature given in the recipe, I know this is not the best way to cook anything. The best way to cook a steak, roast or even a piece of chicken is to use a thermometer to measure internal temperatures.

For this whole beef tenderloin, Alice wanted to cook it to medium doneness which equates to approximately 145°F. In order to achieve this, I explained to Alice she should cook the tenderloin to an internal temperature of approximately 135°F and let it rest until it reaches the desired 145°F.

This also allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. (See my Meat Doneness Chart)

What type of thermometer?

With roasts, I like to use a meat thermometer. Whether it’s one of the old-fashioned style meat thermometers, or the new fancy models with a probe and an external remote (some have a wire connection and some are now wireless), it doesn’t matter.

Alice had a very old meat thermometer that I found very difficult to read but worked just fine. My problem with her old fashion meat thermometer was how difficult it was to read.

The other option is to go with an instant read thermometer like the one I talked about in my recent Christmas gift idea article describing an instant read thermometer versus a talking thermometer.  These instant read thermometers are great for checking internal temperature of steaks, pork chops, and chicken breasts or anything you are cooking on the stovetop.  They work fine for roasts, but I don’t like having to open the oven door all the time to check the temp.

Roasting the Tenderloin

We cooked the beef tenderloin at 350°F for about 60 min. until the temperature at the thickest part of the roast reached 135°F. After removing it from the oven and covering with tinfoil, we let it rest for approximately 15 minutes.

When I carved a slice from the middle of the roast, it was cooked perfectly to a medium doneness. Normally, I would cook it to a medium rare doneness, which equates to about 130°F but that is a little too rare for the girls.

I know that most of you are used to cooking meats and poultry using a time and temperature technique and that most recipes found in cookbooks and cooking magazines give you time and temperature, but I urge you to use them as approximations only and try getting used to using a thermometer to achieve better results.

You may even want to keep track of internal temperatures for everything you cook and after a while you will be able to determine when a piece of meat is cooked to perfection by your other senses including touch, sight, and even what you hear.

Last modified on Fri 30 March 2018 11:13 am

Comments (3)

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  1. Linda says:

    I will be cooking a beef tenderloin roast for about 8 people who like their meat pretty well done. What size roast do I need and how long and what temperature should I cook it? I plan to season it with Lipton Beefy Onion dry soup and cream or mushroom soup for flavor and gravy. I’ve been told that the roast should be trimmed of fat and tied with baker’s twine. I start it at a low temperature and and increase it later or cook it slowly for a longer time at the same low temperature. I do not have a roasting rack. Is it ok to cook it in an aluminum roasting pan. That will make it easier for me to transport a few miles to the place where the lunch will be. Any help/information you can give me will be appreciated. I want it to be done but tender. Thanks so much. I look forward to your prompt response. Linda

  2. John43 says:

    It is a waste of good meat to cook tenderloin until it is “pretty well done.” There are cheaper cuts that can be cooked to perfection at that and still be good but filet is spoiled passed the “fairly rare” stage, but tenderloin (filet mignon) just gets tough and dry.

    • PJ says:

      I completely agree. Past “fairly rare” it will be cardboard. Just get a Round Roast! Or a few rotisserie chickens or a frozen lasagna LOL!

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