For Easter this year, we decided to forego the ham and do a grill-roasted whole beef tenderloin. The best advice I can give you on buying a whole beef tenderloin is to get one at a wholesale club (e.g., Costco) and buy choice, not prime. I bought a choice untrimmed whole beef tenderloin from Costco for $11.99 a pound. By buying this way, you will save a lot of money.
A tenderloin bought from a butcher can easily cost you $25-$30 a pound. Prime will cost you even more. A prime tenderloin bought online can cost you upwards of $70 a pound. But, you don’t need to buy prime. Tenderloin is so lean to begin with that buying prime doesn’t yield much in the way of additional marbling to justify the cost. Cook’s Illustrated did a taste test, and a generic supermarket choice tenderloin beat out all the prime contenders.
Untrimmed tenderloin you buy at a wholesale club will need to be trimmed of fat and the silver skin. Although this reduces the weight and it is a pain to do yourself if you haven’t done it before, I think it is worth it, as it will save you money. There are plenty of videos online on how to remove the fat and silver skin. I would consult one of these before you try to do it yourself. Wholesale clubs sell tenderloins that have been trimmed for you, but they are usually at least twice the price.
Ingredients and Equipment
Grill set up to cook indirectly. (Read this post before cooking the tenderloin. It will tell you how to set up the grill, achieve the temperature you want, and maintain that temperature for your entire cook. For this cook, you want the grill to be at 425 degrees, and if you want the tenderloin to have a smoky flavor, you will want to use hickory to smoke.)
Butcher’s Twine Do not use anything other than 100% cotton butcher’s or cooking twine.
1 beef tenderloin, trimmed of fat and silver skin
1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
Take the tenderloin out of the fridge The tenderloin below has been trimmed (those are scraps I saved in the top right corner of the cutting board).
Tuck the tail end so that the tenderloin is a similar thickness throughout. This ensures that the beef will cook evenly. Rub the olive oil all over the tenderloin and sprinkle the salt and pepper evenly on both sides. Wrap the tenderloin in cling wrap and leave on the counter for 1 hour.
Cook the roast to an internal temperature of 125 degrees. Take it off the grill, loosely tent it, and let it rest for 30 minutes. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the tenderloin and will bring it up to about 145 degrees–medium rare. Do not cook meat on the grill up to the temperature you want as a final result. If there are people in your family who want their meat cooked more than medium rare, let the roast rest and take some slices and put them back on the grill to cook them.