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.
- 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
- 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
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.
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.
Video: [added 3/8/2012]
Here’s how I truss and spit the 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.
Cook’s Illustrated Roast Beef Tenderloin (subscription required)
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