Break Down a Beef Tenderloin

My friend Teresa had us over for dinner one night…

She did a delicious beef tenderloin. We got to talking about how the trimmed are so much more expensive than the untrimmed for obvious reasons. This inspired me to go get one and learn how to trim it up.

Here are the results…

Well, first of all a whole tenderloin is not cheap, but a whole beef tenderloin is cheaper than trimmed. This was 6 pounds for $10.99 a pound untrimmed. The trimmed stuff can be twice the price, but I think it sold for $18.99 a pound. Above, you will also see my North Atlantic Cod to make Torsk, but that is another post.

Step 1: Prep cutting board, have a sharp knife (boning), and a few towels.

Step 2: Remove from package. Careful to be mindful of cross-contamination.

Step 3: Determine approach and what cuts you want.  Of course you want filet mignon, but do you want a Chateaubriand?

Step 4: Remove the chain. Save for stew.

Step 5: Remove the connective tissue. At this point, I needed some help. Not that I want to divert you from my blog, but Serious Eats did a wonderful job doing this step by step a few years back. Take a look at their instructions to get you to through the next few steps.

Step 6: Taking a different path, I decided to create a Chateaubriand.

This is where Julia Child assisted from her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. There is some debate about a Chateaubriand being a roast or a steak. I decided to make one out of the end piece of the tenderloin instead of the center piece. Treated it more as a roast.

Here is my Chateaubriand roast and my full tenderloin.

Step 7: Next, cut few pieces for filet mignon steaks and left the end piece to make a Beef Wellington.

Step 8: As practice, I trimmed and tied beef tenderloin. Eventually I removed the string as I wanted to make this into a Beef Wellington.

There is a lot of beef and it can feed the masses. Five pounds can feed 16-20 people. I would suggest doing this during a big event to welcome friends and family, or a holiday gathering. Fresh cut is delicious cooked medium rare to medium. The beef is best eaten right away. However, if you don’t want or can’t use it all right away, wrap it appropriately and freeze for another time. 

Completed Beef Wellington – Using frozen puff pastry (I wasn’t that ambitious) and a homemade duxelle out of Crimini mushrooms.

Completed Chateaubriand

Overall, it was a great experience. The experience of breaking down a tenderloin helps build your knife skills, creates better understanding of pieces of beef, and in the end makes some delicious meals.

Just remember not to forget to make something delicious for the vegetarians and vegans in your life.

bon appétit!

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