Saturday, July 23, 2016

Peppercorn Crusted Beef Tenderloin - Grill Version with Horseradish Cream Sauce

For a special family gathering, consider a whole beef tenderloin. It will surely be a memorable treat, especially when served on a large platter.

Julian's Platter of Sliced Beef Tenderloin
with a Peppercorn Crust and Horseradish Cream Sauce
Today I'm cooking on the grill rotisserie but you could as easily prepare a beef tenderloin directly on the grill. However I make it, it's always the same basic technique. The inconsistent shape of the tenderloin requires just a bit of preparation to even it out, by tucking the thinner end under to provide more consistent cooking. The rich rare to medium-rare beef pairs well with the coarsely crushed peppercorns, which do not overwhelm the pallet when served.

If you're looking for my recipe for a center cut beef tenderloin that is often served in thicker cuts on a special occasion, then check out this recipe.

Julian's Peppercorn Crusted Beef Tenderloin

The most important matter to consider here is to avoid over-cooking. Even people that say they prefer beef more well done will appreciate the tenderloin cooked only to a medium-rare temperature of about 125-135F degrees. With a thinner cut as I'm doing here, anything more will ruin the dinner.

Ingredients (Feeds 12-14 adults)
1 whole beef tenderloin, 5-6 pounds
1/4 cup Dijon muster
3/4 cup black peppercorns
butcher's twine
Optional: Potatoes, onions, peppers

Unwrap the beef tenderloin and examine the meat. Note the thick and thin ends, and any untrimmed fat and silver skin. While some fat will make for nice cooking, the silver skin must be removed. This tough connective tissue surrounding the muscle is a pearlescent membrane that is removed before cooking to prevent curling. Using a sharp and pointed knife, slide the knife just under one end of the silver skin and run it along underneath removing only the unwanted membrane. Repeat until all silver skin is removed.

Fold the thin end under.
Fold the thin end of the beef forward tucking it under the tenderloin until you have approximately even thickness throughout. Using your sharp knife, cut a list about halfway into the folded end all the way across to create a flat end on the tenderloin allowing it to fold under more easily. Using butcher's twine, tie the tenderloin tightly every few inches to hold the meat in shape.

If using the rotisserie, slide one of the forks onto the spit. Insert the spit into the center of the tenderloin from the end and carefully guide it through the meat and out the other end lengthwise. Add the remaining spit fork and secure the tenderloin into the center of the spit.  If not using the rotisserie, skip this step.

Coarsely crack the black peppercorns. This can be done with a pepper mill, a food or coffee bean processor or with a mortal and pestle. Do not grind the pepper corns very fine. Sift out any finely ground pepper and discard or save for another use. If you prefer a more mild pepper flavor, simply heat 3 tablespoons oil and peppercorns together in small saucepan over low heat until faint bubbles appear. Continue to cook at bare simmer, swirling pan occasionally, until pepper is fragrant, 7 to 10 minutes. Using fine-mesh strainer, drain cooking oil from cracked peppercorns. The cooking process will make the peppercorns more mild.

Peppercorn encrusted. Wrapping for Storage for an Hour.
Paint the tenderloin with Dijon mustard. Pat the crushed peppercorns into place all over the meat. Let rest while you prepare the grill or oven. You can do all of this ahead and store in the refrigerator for several hours if you prefer. If spit roasting, remove the grates if necessary, to make room for a pan of sliced potatoes, onions and peppers beneath the roasting meat if you desire, which will catch any drippings.   Heat the grill or oven to about 400F degrees.

Add the prepared beef tenderloin and roast for about 40-55 minutes until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the beef reads 120F (rare) -130F (medium rare) degrees. Remember that thinner parts of tenderloin will be slightly more done, for those guests who prefer it.

If not using a rotisserie, turn the meat halfway thru cooking. While the meat roasts, prepare the horseradish cream sauce below. When the meat reaches the desired temperature, remove it and let it rest on a cutting board for 20-30 minutes before removing the spit or carving. Remember, temperature will continue to rise by five degrees it rests.  A very sharp knife or an electric knife is preferred for carving into thin slices, about 1/4 inch thick. Lay the sliced meat out onto a platter with the sauce for guests to spoon over each serving.

Roasted and Ready to Carve

Horseradish Cream Sauce
Mix together the following ingredients and let sit at room temperature until the meat is ready to serve.

8 ounces sour cream
2-3 tablespoons prepared horseradish (more to taste)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

A Platter of Tenderloin

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