Looking for a wow dinner for your beef loving family and guests? Check out this slow roasted beef tenderloin. It is easy and elegant to prepare for celebration dinners like Christmas, New Year’s Eve or Valentines Day. You can do it, and I’ll show you how.
Why Slow Roast
Because the results are amazing. I’ve roasted hundreds of pounds of beef tenderloin through the years catering dinner parties and cooking for special dinners. I used to sear, then roast, but no more. I now slow roast and the results are superior, plus it’s so easy!
While searing gives you a crusty outside edge, you end up with a gray ring at the edge of the beef when you slice. Not so pretty. When you slow roast, there is no gray inner edge, just a lovely pink color all of the way through. The slices are so tender they cut like warm butter.
Tying the Tenderloin
Start by tying the tenderloin with kitchen twine. Cut pieces of twine long enough to go around the meat and tie about every 1″. Why tie it? So the meat will retain a nice shape during roasting and roast more evenly. After tying the tenderloin, allow it to stand at room temperature for about an hour to get the chill off. Tying also helps the tenderloin roast more evenly.
Seasoning, Herbs, Oil
Liberally season the tenderloin with sea salt, ground black pepper and granulated garlic, then drizzle evenly with olive oil. Lastly, I run stems of fresh tarragon leaves under the ties to give the meat nice flavor. If you can’t get tarragon, try fresh rosemary, or skip the herbs.
How to Slow Roast
Set your oven for 325°F. Place the tenderloin on a rimmed baking sheet or in a shallow baking pan. Roast until its reaches the desired temperature: 130°F-135°F for medium rare and 140°F-145°F for medium.
Pull the meat from the oven a few degrees short of your desired temperature range. Temperatures rise 5°F-10°F as meat rests. Do not slice the meat right away. Resting for about 15 minutes re-distributes the internal juices, insuring moist (not dry) beef.
Convection ovens may roast a little faster than conventional ovens. My last 1 3/4 pound tenderloin took approximately 30 minutes to roast to medium rare in a convection oven. Test the meat with a digital thermometer, and test early versus over-cooking. Ovens vary.
Tips for Buying Beef Tenderloin
Beef tenderloin is a luxurious cut. The best place to buy is from a market that has a butcher counter or a local butcher shop. That way you get exactly what you want and you can ask them to do the trimming, saving you time and waste. Be sure to trim any silverskin. It looks a lot like packaging tape and does not melt (like fat) during roasting. When buying, figure 6-8 ounces per person of raw weight
With pre-packaged pieces, it’s hard to tell what you are getting. And with the top price tag of this cut, you should get what you want. I always ask for a center cut piece, called the Chateaubriand because it’s the best. Second, a center cut will be more even in thickness from end to end, so it roasts more evenly.
Where I don’t beef tenderloin is from a big warehouse store, but do what works best for you. Warehouse stores usually sell whole tenderloins – from head to tail, the thick end to the skinny. They come untrimmed in vacuum-sealed packages; more work for you and not all of the weight you buy will be edible as there is waste to discard. With a whole tenderloin you will need to trim the “chain”, excess fat and tendons. If you’ve never done it, it can be a little intimidating.
Horseradish Cream Sauce
Here is what to serve with that gorgeous beef. Combine 1/2 cup creme fraiche and 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream in a bowl and whip with a hand mixer on medium-low until it is thick and creamy. Stir in horseradish, 2-4 tablespoons, to your taste. Add a little fresh lemon juice (1/2 teaspoon or so), salt, white pepper and either chopped chives or chopped fresh tarragon. It is a great counterpoint to the slow roasted beef tenderloin. Its great with roast chicken too.
Slow Roasted Beef Tenderloin
- 1 1/2 pounds center cut beef tenderloin trimmed clean
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- 1 package fresh tarragon sprigs optional
- kitchen twine to tie the meat
- Tie tenderloin with pieces of kitchen twine at 1″ intervals. Tie snugly so the meat retains its shape while roasting and roasts evenly. Drizzle the beef all over with olive oil, then sprinkle liberally with salt, black pepper and granulated garlic. Tuck tarragon sprigs under the ties over the top and sides of the beef. Allow the beef to stand at room temperature 1 hour before roasting.
- Pre-heat the oven to 325°F. Place the tenderloin on a rimmed baking sheet or in a shallow baking dish. Roast the tenderloin until it reaches your preferred temperature, 130°F-135°F for medium rare and 140°F-145°F for medium. Test at 28-30 minutes. Timing will depend on your oven, whether it is convection or conventional, and the size of the tenderloin. Remove the tenderloin from the oven a few degrees short of your desired temperature range. Temperatures rise 5°F-10°F as meat rests. Do not slice the meat right away. Resting for about 15 minutes re-distributes the internal juices, insuring moist (not dry) beef. Cut off the ties, slice and serve.