During the holidays, we like to pull out all the stops and cook up the flashiest, most indulgent (and delicious!) main courses. We've partnered with Beef. It's What's For Dinner to share some of our favorite ways to beef up our holiday dinners—and turned to one our favorite meat experts, Molly Stevens, for her tips on how to achieve meat perfection.
In the world of meat, beef tenderloin is the paragon of elegance and grace. This fine-grained roast is lean, luxuriously tender, and delicately flavored—and tenderloin is also surprisingly unfussy when it comes to cooking and serving. Whether you're looking for a well-seared crust, an evenly-cooked piece of meat, or a method that lets you step away from the oven and focus on side dishes, there's a tenderloin technique that's right for you. Your decision of how to roast and serve beef tenderloin should be determined by your desired results, your schedule, and the occasion—and we've got all the tips you need, no matter what you prefer.
If you're in a hurry (and you're a confident cook), high heat roasting—400°F and up, or 375°F and up in a convection oven—gives you a gorgeously browned crust with a distinct eye of rare to medium-rare meat in the center. High-heat roasting will give you some variance of doneness across the roast, so it's a good option if some people like their beef super rare while others like it more well done. (If everyone at your table likes their beef cooked to medium or medium-well doneness, opt for low-heat roasting; otherwise, you risk overcooking the end bits and the outside.) When it's time to carve, serve the center slices to those who relish rare meat, and reserve the end slices for the medium-well folks. The challenge of high-heat roasting is that it requires diligence, because the roast can go from perfectly done to overdone in a matter of minutes—so keep your eyes on the prize (and the oven).
A few tips for high-temperature roasting:
"One may become a good roaster with application, observation, care and a little aptitude."Auguste Escoffier
Low-heat roasting— 225°F to 300°F, or 200°F to 275°F in a convection oven—will produce a roast with rosy interior that's evenly cooked all the way through, but you won't get much in the way of a well-seared crust. This method is ideal if you or your guests prefer beef cooked to medium, because the gentler oven heat insures that the roast maintains its moisture even when cooked past medium-rare. It also produces less variance in doneness temperatures than the high-heat method—meaning that the whole roast will generally be the same temp when it's finished cooking—so there's less of a roll-of-the-dice as you carve.
A few tips for low-temperature roasting:
How do you like to cook a beef tenderloin? Let us know in the comments!
We've partnered with the Beef. It's What's For Dinner to share some of our favorite ways to beef up our holiday dinners.