What part of the cow do most of the tastiest steaks originate from? If you guessed the chuck, the part of the cow closest to the ear and neck, you guessed wrong.
How about the flank, the part of the cow on the belly side closest to the rump? No, but the flank does give us flank steak and London Broil.
The correct answer would be the loin, that part of the cow from the spine down to the flank, just before the rump. From the loin we get beef cuts such as the T-bone, Porterhouse, Club Steak, Sirloin Steaks, Top Sirloin, Tenderloin and Tri-tip. These steaks and cuts are tasty because the muscles in this area aren’t exercised much and the meat here is tender.
Even if you don’t know your cow parts well, you may know that the tenderloin has a short end on it that is called filet mignon, the beef cut considered the most tender of all, and the most expensive.
Use that fact when guests come over – buy the tenderloin, fix it just like filet mignon and tell your guests you’re serving filet mignon! They will think you’re really something special! After all, who’s lying? The filet does come from that tenderloin piece of meat.
Become the Top Chef for the Evening
Grilling beef tenderloin is truly one of the easiest dishes you’ll ever cook in your life. The best way to prepare it is to cook it as if it’s filet mignon. And to do this, you do need a sense of how a chef at a fine restaurant would go about the process.
That process is simple:
- Wrap a strip of bacon around the 5 or 6 oz. tenderloin, overlapping the ends about 1/2 inch. Use a toothpick to hold the ends in place.
- Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, both freshly ground, of course.
- Place the meat on the grill, about 4 inches away from the heat source, sear for about 2 minutes, each side, and you now have cooked it with a doneness of rare. If your guest likes the meat cooked medium rare, add another 1 to 2 minutes per side; for medium, add another 3 to 4 minutes per side, and for well done, add another 5 to 7 minutes per side. Of course, testing the meat for its doneness is better than setting your timer, since anytime you grill meat, it’s always recommended that you stay right there at the heat source, keeping an eye on it. An overcooked piece of meat is never anything to brag about. The reason why wrapping bacon is a preferred method for both tenderloin cuts and filet mignon is because this cut of meat is not high in fat. Cooking may make the meat dry but bacon imparts extra fat to prevent that from occurring.
- The last step of cooking the tenderloin in this manner is to set it on a warmed plate, add a little au jus, sprinkle some chopped scallions on top, and add some carrot curls or slivers or a few spears of asparagus to the plate. Keep it elegant and your guests will feel as if they are treated like royalty.
Whenever grilling beef tenderloin, always follow the traditional rule that is used for grilling all meats: Don’t place the meat on a cold or warm grill; have the heat source hot enough to sear the meat quickly which will seal in the juices.
Because the tenderloin is a tasty cut of meat, remember that you really don’t have to add herbs and spices, which can be considered a culinary distraction.
If your guests love flavorful meals, you can opt for a mixture of fresh herbs such as summer savory, thyme, rosemary, sea salt and fresh peppercorns. This type of mixture can be rubbed into the meat before grilling beef tenderloin and the comments from your guests are guaranteed to be excellent!