Roast Beef Tenderloin

Chef's notes:

The beef tenderloin, also known as whole fillet, is located along the vertebrae, on the inside of the beef cow. Other cuts of meat that come from this short loin section include strip steaks, T-bones, and porterhouses. These last two cuts usually have a small portion of tenderloin attached on one side of the physical T bone. A strip steak is the same cut, minus the bone. Once trimmed and cut into a “dainty cut,” whole fillet of beef tenderloin becomes filet mignon. According to Larousse Gastronomique, the filet mignon is from the very center of the tenderloin, and triangle shaped. His description is lacking in detail, but it would seem that the trimmed tenderloin in the photo below is it.


  • 1 trimmed beef tenderloin (2 lbs)
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper

Whole Trimmed Beef Tenderloin Recipe: Roasted on a Wire Rack in a Hot Oven with Sea Salt and Black Pepper

  1. A whole beef tenderloin can be anywhere from 3–5 pounds. I recommend getting a smaller one if you can, but they are all good. The one I used here was just less than 3 pounds, partially trimmed up. After I removed the top 2 lobes, it was just over 2 pounds.
  2. Season the beef tenderloin before you roast it. As with all tender pieces of meat, I recommend a simple seasoning with salt and pepper. This is especially true in this case, as tenderloin is literally the tenderest cut, and most prized for its flavor and texture. Use a good sea salt or kosher salt, and some fresh-cracked black pepper.
  3. Preheat the oven to 500°+ and get the beef tenderloin ready to roast. I like to put stuff in the bottom of the pan to make better pan juice. However, too much liquid can create too much moisture, and make it harder for your meat to brown. We want that brown, which is why we roast tenderloin at the hottest possible oven setting. If your roast isn’t browning, turn on the broiler for the last 10 minutes of cooking time.
  4. Let the beef tenderloin rest for 20–30 minutes before you eat it. I cooked this 2 pound beef tenderloin roast for 20 minutes at 550 degrees, and another 10 minutes under a high broiler to come out medium rare. The best way for you to judge the doneness is to check the internal temperature with a digital thermometer. Loosely cover or tent the tenderloin with foil while it rests for 20 minutes. Deglaze the roasting pan with wine and beef stock. Strain and reduce the liquid by half. Turn off the heat and whisk in the butter 1 T at a time. Cut across the grain into 1/2 inch slices and serve with the pan sauce.

Tips & Tricks

  • As a guide, 120–125 degrees F is rare, 125–135 for medium rare, 135–145 for medium, 145–155 for medium well, and over 155 for well done. If you cook tenderloin past medium, I’ll come to your house and smack you!
  • If you are unsure how to trim the meat, ask the butcher to do it for you. Be warned: you might have to pay for the whole thing.
  • If your meat is not browning, turn on the broiler.
  • Let it rest, lightly covered with aluminum foil, before eating.

Pan Sauce Recipe

  • 1 sprig sage
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 5 sprigs parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup beef stock
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Corn starch or flour
  • 3 Tbsp butter

Put the first 6 ingredients in the bottom of the roasting pan while roasting the beef tenderloin. After cooking, drain the pan into a separate dish. Collect and add the juices left over from slicing the meat. Adjust the flavor with salt and sugar. Slightly thicken the sauce with a little corn starch or flour. Whisk in the butter at the very end. Serve on the side.