Published September 1, 2004.
With a whole tenderloin going for as much as $180, uneven cooking, bland flavor, and a tough outer crust just don't cut it. Could we do it cheaper and better?
Other than costing a high price for a pound of flesh, the meat tends to cook unevenly, shrink considerably, and have lackluster flavor.
The tender, buttery interior is the big draw, and the combination of a healthy seasoning and the flavor from the charcoal grill is a perfect solution to a rather mild-tasting (boring) piece of meat. At its peak, tenderloin should be an even, rosy pink throughout; a browned, crusty exterior; and have well-seasoned, grilled flavor.
Shopping is where to start. In need of an affordable alternative to butcher prices, we found that beef at wholesale clubs, while not ideally trimmed, was far more wallet-friendly and, with 20 minutes of home-butchering, was well worth the extra effort. Flavor-enhancement came next through just an hour of salting the meat, wrapping it in plastic, and letting it rest on the countertop before hitting the hot coals. Nonetheless, direct fire was too hot for the roast to endure throughout the cooking stages, so after briefly searing the meat over the coals, we moved the meat away from the coals (and soaked wood chips that had been added to amplify the smoky flavor) for grill-roasting via indirect heat. Removing it from the grill while still rare, we let the meat rest off the fire before slicing to let the heat settle and retain the jus.list of recipes