Looking for a recipe to shock and awe your holiday guests? Look no further. I was going to start this recipe with my usual rant about needing fat to have flavor in meat, and how beef tenderloin needs a lot of help. Then I tasted the results from this recipe. Between the early salting, basting with herb butter, and the kick from the horseradish sauce, this dish is loaded with flavor.1
Maybe it’s not quite as flavorful as a prime rib, but it’s still excellent. And there is something about beef tenderloin that says “luxury”. You and your guests will appreciate it.
Recipe: Rotisserie Beef Tenderloin with Shallot Herb Butter and Horseradish Sauce
- Grill with Rotisserie attachment (I use a Weber Summit with an infrared rotisserie burner. Here is the current version of my grill.)
- Aluminum foil drip pan (9“x13”, or whatever fits your grill. I use an enameled steel roasting pan.)
- Butchers twine
- Instant Read Thermometer
Rotisserie Beef Tenderloin – brushed with shallot herb butter for a delicious finish.
- 1 whole Beef Tenderloin (5-7 pounds untrimmed weight)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Shallot Herb Butter baste
- 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
- 1 small shallot, finely minced
- 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme, minced (or a mix of thyme and tarragon)
- 1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary, minced (optional)
- pinch of salt
- two grinds of black pepper
- A couple of sprigs of thyme and a sprig of rosemary, tied together at the stems to make a brush
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 tbsp prepared horseradish
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- Pre-Salt and Truss the Beef: If you didn’t buy a trimmed beef tenderloin, remove the chain and trim off the silver skin. Sprinkle the salt evenly onto the tenderloin, and pat the salt onto the steak. Fold the tenderloin back on itself to get the thin tail just touching the larger top of the tenderloin. Cut almost, but not quite, all the way through the tenderloin at the point where the fold is. Truss the folded tenderloin together at 2 inch intervals. Let the tenderloin rest at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
- Prepare the grill: Set your grill up for rotisserie cooking at high heat. For my Weber Summit, this means removing the grill grates and turning the two outer burners (burners 1 and 6) to high, and turning the infrared burner to high. Then I put my drip pan in the middle, over the unlit burners.
- Prepare the Herb Butter, Herb Brush and Horseradish Sauce: Put the shallot herb butter ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high until the butter is melted and the shallot is starting to sizzle, about 1 minute, Tie the herb sprigs into a brush. Whisk the horseradish sauce ingredients until completely mixed.
- Cook the tenderloin: Put the spit on the grill, start the motor spinning, and cook with the lid closed After 30 minutes, baste the roast with the Shallot-Herb butter using your herb brush. Check the temperature in the thickest part of the roast. Keep cooking the roast, basting every ten minutes, until it reaches 115°F for rare, (120°F for medium rare, 130°F for medium). It will take about 40 minutes total cooking time for rare, (about 50 minutes for medium-rare, about 60 minutes for medium.) Please go by temperature rather than time. There’s nothing quite as sad as a well done roast when you wanted medium-rare.
- Serve the roast: Baste the roast with butter again, then remove the spit from the grill. Remember your heat-proof gloves, or oven mitts – the spit is hot! Remove the roast from the spit, then remove the trussing string from the roast. Baste the roast one last time with the butter, then rest the roast for ten to fifteen minutes. Slice the roast into 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick slices, transfer to a serving platter, and drizzle with the remaining herb butter and any juices from the carving platter. Serve, passing the horseradish sauce at the table.
Trussing video here: How to Truss and Spit a Beef Tenderloin for the Rotisserie
- Serve with rotisserie pan potatoes and a salad of arugula tossed in lemon herb dressing.
- Fine Cooking magazine has a good set of pictures explaining how to remove the chain and the silver skin from the beef tenderloin: How to trim a beef tenderloin [finecooking.com]
- I fold the tenderloin over on itself before cooking, to try to even out the size – the tail is very narrow compared to the tip, and I don’t want the tail to be well done before the tip is even medium rare. Also, this makes the roast thicker, which slows down the cooking long enough to get good browning on the outside. That said, the smaller end will cook a bit quicker than the thick end – I had medium-well beef on one end, and rare on the other. This worked well for me, because I had guests who wanted a range of doneness.
- Yes, beef tenderloin is expensive. I try to cut the expense down by waiting for cryovac wrapped whole tenderloins to go on sale at my local megamart, and then trimming them myself. Warehouse clubs also have tenderloin relatively cheap. (By “cheap”, in both these cases I’m talking about $9.99 a pound.) If you’ve got the money, buy two chateaubriand roasts (center cut roasts from the tenderloin), and tie them together. (And don’t mind me while I turn green with envy.)
- Leftovers make great sandwiches. Slice the beef as thin as you can, pile it on a roll, top it with some arugula and leftover horseradish sauce.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Cook’s Illustrated Roast Beef Tenderloin (subscription required)
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