[livejournal.com profile] obsessivewoman suggested we try a beef tenderloin this year, so I reserved a couple of 7 pound roasts at Safeway and picked them up on the 23rd. We spent a while on the America’s Test Kitchen web site reviewing different recipes (which vary wildly) and eventually distilled it down to this:

The night before the party:

  1. Remove the silverskin, but not the chain; recipes also suggest that one can simply segment the silverskin to avoid it shortening during cooking and curling the meat, much like cooking calamari.
  2. Tie the roast with twine every 1½–2 inches, folding the tails over to achieve uniform thickness and trying for as cylindrical a profile as possible.
  3. Set it on foil and cover it in kosher salt (about 1½ tbsp).
  4. Close the foil and put it in the refrigerator overnight.

On the day of the party:

  1. Two hours before cooking, remove a stick of unsalted butter from the refrigerator to soften.
  2. 20 minutes before cooking, heat oven to 300°F.
  3. Remove roast from refrigerator and blot dry with paper towels, removing any remaining salt.
  4. Rub butter all over the roast (¼ stick should be enough) and then cover in low-salt Montreal steak seasoning. (Every recipe we saw for tenderloin managed to cover it in either butter or olive oil.)
  5. Place the roast diagonally on a baking rack on a cookie sheet; it’s too long to fit in a prime rib roasting rack.
  6. Insert meat thermometer and begin roasting.
  7. At 105°F, remove the roast, flip it over, and replace it in the oven.
  8. At 120°F, pour olive oil in a saucepan and begin heating on medium high.
  9. At 125°F, remove the roast from the oven and immediately bisect it. Sear each half in the olive oil, 1 minute on each side.
  10. Let the halves stand, tented in foil, for ¼ hour.
  11. When carving, remove the chain first and slice that onto a separate platter in 1–1½” segments. It requires more attention when eating to get around the gristle, but it’s very flavorful.
  12. Now that the chain is removed, slice the rest of the roast in ¼–½” medallions.

Tenderloin cooks fast compared to a prime rib; it’s ready to serve in a couple of hours. The result is very flavorful, and tender enough to cut easily with a butter knife.

Future avenues of investigation:

  • A guest mentioned that there are waste-not-want-not recipes for silverskin. See if I can track one down.
  • One recipe I saw used a rub of 4½ tsp of kosher salt, 1½ tsp of sugar, and ¼ tsp of baking soda to make the surface tacky (in that case to make an olive oil-peppercorn mixture stick to it); that might also get more butter to stick to the roast.

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