Rotisserie Beef Tenderloin with Shallot Herb Butter and Horseradish Sauce

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.*
*OK, you do have to help it out a little…

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

Cook time: 45 minutes


  • Grill with Rotisserie attachment (I used a Weber Summit 650 with an infrared rotisserie burner. Here it is.)
  • Aluminum foil drip pan (9″x12″, or whatever fits your grill)
  • Butcher’s twine


  • 1 whole Beef Tenderloin (5-7 pounds untrimmed)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Shallot Herb Butter baste

  • 4 tbsp butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1 small shallot, finely minced
  • 2 tsp of fresh thyme, minced (or a mix of thyme and tarragon)
  • 1 tsp of fresh rosemary, minced (optional)
  • pinch salt
  • two grinds of black pepper

Herb Brush

  • A couple of sprigs of thyme and a sprig of rosemary, tied together at the stems to make a brush

Horseradish sauce

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard

1. Pre-Salt and Truss the Beef: If you didn’t buy a trimmed beef tenderloin, remove the chain and trim off the silver skin. (See notes for details). Sprinkle the salt evenly onto the tenderloin, and pat the salt into the steak. Then, 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.

Trimmed, folded and cut, trussed

2. 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. (See here for more rotisserie setup details.)

3. Prepare the Herb Butter, Herb Brush and Horseradish Sauce: Put the shallot herb butter ingredients in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the butter is melted and the shallot is starting to sizzle.  Tie together the herb sprigs for your brush.  Combine the horseradish sauce ingredients in a small bowl, and whisk until combined.

4. Cook the tenderloin: Put the spit on the grill and cook, with the lid closed, for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, baste the roast with the Shallot-Herb butter using your herb brush. Then check the temperature using an instant read thermometer in the thickest part of the roast.  You want a temperature of 115*F for rare, 120*F for medium rare, and 130*F for medium. It should take 35 to 45 minutes total for rare, 45 to 55 minutes for medium-rare, and 55 to 60 minutes medium.
*Please! Go by temperature rather than time. There’s nothing quite as sad as well done roast when you wanted medium-rare.

5. 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.

Ahhh…the glory of rare beef tenderloin…

Video: [added 3/8/2012]
Here’s how I truss and spit the tenderloin:

*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 []

*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.

Related Posts:
Rotisserie Beef Rib Roast with Herb Crust
Click here for my other rotisserie recipes.

Inspired by:
Cook’s Illustrated Roast Beef Tenderloin (subscription required)

Check out my cookbook, Rotisserie Grilling.

Everything you could ask about the rotisserie,
plus 50 (mostly) new recipes to get you cooking.

It’s a Kindle e-book, so you can download it and start reading immediately!

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  1. I love beef tenderloin… So expensive… yet cheap if you compare other steaks.

    Yours is done PERFECT… and the taters in the bottom soaking up the juices… This is a perfect post

    wonderful job!

  2. @AYOTG: Thank you! The potatoes on the bottom are a great rotisserie trick.

  3. Loooovveelllly…I would say that turned out great!

  4. Thanks, Mike! I finally got a beef roast to turn out as well as the one you took pictures of

  5. Well you hit it out of the park! I must say, I love the idea of a tenderloin on the roto.

  6. Anonymous /

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this wonderful recipe and such great instructions! We just got a Weber Summit and wanted to break it in with a tenderloin roast; we found your recipe by googling. The tenderloin turned out just beautiful and we have bookmarked your blog!

  7. @Anonymous:

    You’re welcome! Give rotisserie chicken a try next, it works great on the Summit.

  8. I cooked this last night for family after they helped us out all week. My father-in-law ate half of the tenderloin himself (this was a 6 lb tenderloin). The shallot herb butter is amazing and basting the tenderloin the last 30 min was key. Something else I found is that I had left over shallot herb butter and that makes for an excellent topping or dipping sauce. The fine chunks of the shallot and herbs just round out the flavor. We hit this with a big ol Cabernet Sauvignon. hold on to your chair, this meal is explosive!

  9. @Sager:

    Thank you! I love that herb butter- dip bread in it, use it on potatoes or green beans…whatever works!

  10. Fernande /

    Mike, the video was brilliant and it makes everything clear and easy.. let us see if I can persuade my husband, who is the bbq expert to try it on the Weber Summit. Thank you for all your great work!

  11. You’re welcome. Let me know if he tries it, and how it turns out.

  12. Mario /

    What temperature should the BBQ be at?

  13. Mr. Guy /

    Just. Wow. We made this tonight (with a couple small variations). What we liked best:
    1. Salt rub and herb butter are so easy. We’ve made more elaborate recipes with beef tenderloin, but liked this one better.
    2. Using infrared burner plus the two outside burners. It always seemed to take forever with just the infrared.
    3. Temperature recommendations– great. At 35 minutes we were at 125, took it off, and it was perfect.
    4. Potatoes in the drip pan. Never tried that before. Positively sinful.

    Thanks for posting. This one is a repeater.

  14. Great! Glad it worked for you.

  15. Made this again last night and it was perfect. Love this recipe……it has been the centerpiece of our Christmas dinner for the past 4 years! Thank you!

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