Butter-Basted Beef Tenderloin Recipe

The finished product should be deep brown on the surface and pink at the center.

The finished product should be deep brown on the surface and pink at the center.

Beef tenderloin, the “king of all cuts,” makes for the tenderest possible feast at the holiday table — when executed correctly. The muscle contains almost no connective tissue, so it’s extremely tender, and goes well with sauce to add a flavor blast to the delicate beef. In light of the lack of connective tissue, the tenderloin requires a little extra loving care to be as tender as the price of the prized cut demands.

Searing beef tenderloin with garlic, butter, and rosemary

Searing beef tenderloin with garlic, butter, and rosemary

Once rested to allow the muscle to relax, slice against the grain into 1-inch rounds.

Once rested to allow the muscle to relax, slice against the grain into 1-inch rounds.

Maintain Tenderness While Building Flavor

The process begins by liberally seasoning and then searing the beef while it is very dry to achieve maximum browning (building color and flavor), and then finishing in the oven at a high temperature to minimize the time the beef stays in the heat. Every minute the meat is held at cooking temperature is a minute closer to drying out the entire muscle. We want to ensure the beef is cooked to a beautiful pink all the way through, while taking care not to spoil the process by overcooking.

sliced-beef-tenderloin

The Process

The ingredients are simple. You’ll need a center-cut beef tenderloin, unsalted butter, a few cloves of garlic, and fresh aromatics (rosemary works beautifully). That is:

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ - 2 lbs beef tenderloin

  • 1/4 cup (half-stick) butter

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 2 sprigs rosemary

Preparation

Preheat oven to 475 F

Heat cast iron pan on high heat until almost smoking. (Note: searing will produce a great deal of smoke. It’s best to open windows and turn on fan.)

Season tenderloin liberally with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper on all sides

Place grapeseed oil in cast iron. Add butter and rosemary as you sear tenderloin in pan on all sides to golden brown, approximately 1-2 minutes per side.

Transfer pan to oven and cook until an internal temperature of 125 degrees, approximately 20-25 minutes, basting with butter several times during the cook. Once done, remove from pan and rest on rack for at least 10 minutes

Slice into 1 inch rounds. Serve.