Nothing will make your special dinner better than a beautiful Pepper Crusted Beef Tenderloin at the center of it! It’s oven roasted to perfection and is so tender you can cut it with a fork. To really send this tenderloin over the top, I encrust it with peppercorn and fresh parmesan cheese to really infuse it with flavor.
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What is Beef Tenderloin?
More than likely, you’ve heard of and have even eaten this cut of beef before without knowing exactly what it is.
Beef tenderloin is the most tender cut of beef and for that reason, it is the highest priced cut of beef as well. Tenderloin is a long, thin muscle that runs deep inside, along the back side. It’s located right under the spine.
This cut of meat is where we get those tender and tasty filet mignon steaks. Center part of the whole tenderloin is sliced into small pieces to create filet mignon. Tenderloin can also be a part of T-bone steak and a porterhouse, it’s the small round side next to the bone.
Since this cut is quite expensive, some people may be scared to cook it. Don’t be scared, I promise that it is actually quite easy to cook. There are a several tips below that will help you cook the best beef tenderloin.
What is Chateaubriand?
Chateaubriand (pronounced shaa-tow-bree-aand) is often referred to as the cut of beef or a cooking technique. When it comes to the cut of meat, Chateaubriand is the beautiful center cut of a beef tenderloin with the tip, the top, and the chain taken off.
All that is left is the perfect uniform beef tenderloin. This is the section of the beef tenderloin from where filet mignon are cut. You can cut this piece into filet mignon pieces if desired or roast it whole. Chateaubriand will usually weigh right around 2 lbs. and is perfect for serving 2-4 people. It pairs beautifully with red wine sauce!
Where to Buy Beef Tenderloin
Chateaubriand is the most expensive cut of meat you can buy and for a good reason! It’s not just the most tender and delicious cut of beef, it also requires work. To save a little money, you can purchase a whole tenderloin and learn how to clean and break down a whole beef tenderloin. I have a demo video and step-by-step guide in that link that will help you do it yourself.
If you don’t want to deal with the butchering of the tenderloin, go to a grocery store that has a butcher you trust. Ask the butcher to cut you a 2 pound beef tenderloin roast, center cut (or a 2-pound chateaubriand roast). Specify that you need a center cut, not the tail end. They’ll ask you if you would like it tied or not. It’s up to you if you want them to tie it or not, based on your skill and comfort level.
If you choose to buy and cook a whole beef tenderloin, please read and follow my recipe and instructions for cooking the whole beef tenderloin. It’ll help you out a ton!
- Beef Tenderloin – get the center cut of beef tenderloin from the butcher that you trust. It could be labeled as “chateaubriand” or “beef tenderloin roast.”
- Coarse Salt – use coarse sea salt or kosher coarse salt.
- White Granulated Sugar – this will give a good balance to the earthy spice of the peppercorns.
- Whole Peppercorns – fresh cracked peppercorns have the best aroma and flavor. Make sure to grind it on the coarse setting.
- Freshly Grated Parmesan – fresh grated parmesan cheese will melt much better than dry one you can get in a plastic can. You can find freshly grated parmesan cheese in the deli or cheese section of many grocery stores.
See recipe card for complete information on ingredients and quantities.
Step 1: Tie the tenderloin.
Tie the tenderloin with a kitchen twine around in several spots, about every 1-1.5 inches. Don’t skip this step! Tying the tenderloin will ensure even cooking because it helps keep the shape of meat uniform.
Step 2: Season the tenderloin.
Rub the entire tied tenderloin with a little bit of olive oil.
Spread all of the seasonings on parchment paper with grated parmesan cheese. Mix it all together evenly, then place the tenderloin on top of the seasonings. Roll the tenderloin around to coat it evenly in the mixture and gently press on the seasonings so it stays on well.
Step 3: Cook the tenderloin.
Place the prepared tenderloin on baking sheet. Insert a leave-in thermometer through the side, towards the center of the roast.
Cook the beef tenderloin until it reaches 130°F-135°F for medium-rare or 140°F-145°F for medium.
Step 4: Let it rest, then serve.
Take the cooked beef tenderloin out of the oven and place it on a cutting board. Loosely tent it with foil and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes before slicing.
Slice the tenderloin into about 1/2 inch slices against the grain.
Cooking Temperatures Guide:
To check the temperature, insert the thermometer in the thickest part of the beef, towards the middle. You want to hit the reading on the thickest part and in the middle.
120°F-125°F – Rare (cool red center)
130°F-135°F – Medium-rare (warm red center)
140°F-145°F – Medium (warm pink center)
Filet mignon comes from Chateaubriand, so essentially they are the same cut of beef. Chateaubriand is cooked whole as a roast and filet mignon is cut into pieces that are about 1.5 inches thick and cooked as a steak.
Tying the meat creates a more uniform thickness throughout the whole tenderloin to help it cook more evenly. That way, you get a perfect temperature throughout the whole tenderloin.
It’s very important to take off the butcher twine after cooking and let the meat rest for about 15 minutes. During the cooking process, the meat juices condense. Resting the meat allows for all those juices to spread back throughout the meat to create more tender and juicy texture.
Medium-rare is the best temperature for filet mignon and beef tenderloin. If that’s a little too under-done for you, you can go as far as medium. You don’t want to cook this beautiful and expensive cut of meat to more than medium. For medium-rare, cook it to 130°F-135°F. For medium, cook to 135°F-140°F. And for rare, cook it to 120°F-125°F.
Make sure to store your leftover beef tenderloin slices in an airtight container, in the refrigerator. Properly stored, leftover beef tenderloin should be good for up to 4 days.
Preheat your oven to 350°F and wrap each individual slice of beef tenderloin in foil. Try not to wrap it too tight! Place the wrapped tenderloin pieces directly onto the oven rack and reheat for 10-15 minutes. The exact time depends on the thickness of cuts. Reheat it just until warm in the middle so it doesn’t overcook.
Few More Beef Recipes To Try:
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Pepper Crusted Beef Tenderloin
- 2 lbs beef tenderloin center cut roast "Chateaubriand"
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp coarse salt
- 1/2 tsp white granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup whole peppercorned coarsely crushed
- 1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese* freshly grated not dry
- Preheat oven to 425° and line the bottom of the roasting pan with aluminum foil.
- To crack whole peppercorns, you can use a coarse setting on the pepper mill, pulse it a few times in a spice grinder, or use a heavy cast iron skillet to crack it by hand on the cutting board.
Prepare Beef Tenderloin:
- Use cooking twine to tie the tenderloin all along the whole length in 1-inch intervals. Make sure not to tie too tight where it starts cutting into meat.
- Rub tenderloin with a little bit of olive oil all over.
- Spread all the seasoning on the parchment paper, add grated Parmesan cheese, mix it evenly, and place the tenderloin on top of the seasoning. Roll the tenderloin around to coat it evenly in seasoning and press on the seasoning to stick it on better.
Cooking Beef Tenderloin:
- Once beef tenderloin is tied and coated with seasoning, place it onto the rack inside the roasting pan.
- Insert a leave-in thermometer though the side towards the center of the meat. (If you don’t have a leave-in thermometer, you will need to take the meat out of the oven to take the temperature. Close the oven so the oven temperature doesn’t lower. Remember to take the temperature of the center, at the thickest part.)
- Cook beef tenderloin until it reaches 130°-135° for medium-rare or 140°-145° for medium.
- Take the tenderloin out of the oven and transfer onto the cutting board. Cut off the twine and gently take it off, trying not to take off the seasoning. Loosely tent with a sheet of aluminum foil and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting.
- Slice tenderloin into about 1/2 inch slices, against the grain.
- When buying the roast, ask the butcher to cut you a 2 pound beef tenderloin roast, center cut (or a 2-pound chateaubriand roast). Specify that you need a center cut, not the tail end. You can also ask them to tie it for you if you don’t feel conformable doing it yourself.
- Medium-rare or medium is the best temperature for beef tenderloin. You don’t want to cook this beautiful and expensive cut of meat to more than medium. For medium-rare, cook it to 130°F-135°F. For medium, cook to 135°F-140°F. And for rare, cook it to 120°F-125°F.
- Remember to REST the steak for 5-10 minutes after cooking and slice your steaks against the grain.
- Storing: Make sure to store your leftover beef tenderloin slices in an airtight container, in the refrigerator. Properly stored, leftover beef tenderloin should be good for up to 4 days.
- Reheating: Preheat your oven to 350°F and wrap each individual slice of beef tenderloin in foil. Try not to wrap it too tight! Place the wrapped tenderloin pieces directly onto the oven rack and reheat for 10-15 minutes. The exact time depends on the thickness of cuts. Reheat it just until warm in the middle so it doesn’t overcook.