Beef tenderloin sear ahead of time?

Can I sear the tenderloin ahead of time and let sit at room temp for 1-2 hours, then put it into the oven to roast? I don't want to be searing beef when my guests are there, would prefer to do it ahead of time, clean the pan, etc.
Thank you!!!1

Lori M.
  • Posted by: Lori M.
  • December 19, 2013


Beth B. December 22, 2019
All these posts really did NOT answer the questions. So I will ask again, more directly. Can I sear a 6 pound beef tenderloin on Christmas eve, THEN refrigerate it, then roast it till done on Christmas day? Please someone say if I can do this.
Marils April 17, 2019
Restaurants use a technique known as the "reverse sear method" that allows them to turn out a large number of steaks within a short period of time with much less effort. This works best with steaks at least an inch thick. The idea is simple.
1. Bring your meat to room temperature (30 to 45 mins. before you start cooking), so the middle of the steak is not ice cold.
2. Meat is cooked on a rack (with foil under for easier clean-up) in a very low and slow oven (275 degrees F., so the meat stays juicy) until just about done.
3. Doneness is determined by use of an oven safe temperature probe you leave in the meat as it cooks, which allows you to bring the meat to whatever temperature you wish. However, since the temperature of the meat will rise at it rests, you want to undercook it by 5 to 10 degrees. Meanwhile, due to the low temperature of the oven and thickness of the steaks, it can take 30-50 mins. (or more for extra large, thick steaks, such as a cowboy steak) to reach the desired internal temperature.
4. The meat is then allowed to rest for 5 mins. to evenly distribute heat and juices. You know the meat has rested enough when you re-test the internal temperature and find the temperature has climbed about 5 degrees. While the meat rests, you also heat a heavy pan (like a cast iron skillet), or grill pan (if you're going for grill marks), to a smoking hot temperature.
5. Once the meat has rested, the steaks are wiped to remove any excess moisture (which creates a better char. You don't want the steaks' juices to steam).
6. The steaks are then seared for about a minute on each side. This way, you get a nice, quick char on the outside, while the inside of the steak does not have a chance to over-cook. Fat on the edge of a steak can be further crisped if you wish by holding the steak with tongs and letting the edge/fat of the steak touch the searing hot pan.
Tips * Searing steaks at a high temperature can create a lot of smoke, so you will want to turn on a vent hood or open a window before you sear.
* If you purchase a grill pan that is large enough to cover 2 stove top burners, you can do multiple steaks at once, which is great for when you're cooking for 4 or more people.
* You can use the same method with pork chops or pork steaks. You can also do this with ground meat burgers (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, etc.) if you're cooking burgers for a group of people.
Marils April 17, 2019
I realize that my post was for steaks, and not a beef tenderloin roast. However, the process is the same. When you cook the roast first, and then sear after, the searing time is so short, it should not matter whether you have guests or not as long as you have adequate ventilation. Searing the roast after also allows you to get and protect the perfect burnished exterior without it being compromised by meat juices that can partially wash it away as a roast bakes. I find a broiler takes too long to burnish a tenderloin roast, and you risk overcooking it and making it tough.
Kirk August 14, 2017
For future viewers, @Big G-man is absolutely right, searing does not "seal in juices", it is just for flavour/texture from the Maillard reaction.

Specifically for beef tenderloin:

General sources:
Declan December 19, 2013
Lori M ...
Just be sure to go ahead with searing.
Necessary part of the process.
Unfortunate differences if opinion earlier.
Common sense prevails!
Good luck with your dinner
[email protected] December 23, 2018
Cook's Illustrated recommends searing after for best flavor.
Big G. December 19, 2013
Happy Holidays
G man signing off
Big G. December 19, 2013
Happy Holidays
G man signing off
Declan December 19, 2013
Gman ... Google the definition of sear!
To sear a tenderloin of beef is to seal the outside.
That's about a fingernail thickness.
Insinuates "high temp".
Which is why the original question is around not wanting to sear to sear (create smoke, etc.) while guests are present.

NEVER put a beef tenderloin in an oven without searing first (never leave the house without putting pants on first (Cooking 101)
Big G. December 19, 2013
absolutely I do as well. I just believe that searing at the end is creates a better option. Especially for small diameter roasts such as a tenderloin. if you sear first then roast the likely hood of the meat that is overcooked can be as thick as a 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the perimeter of the roast which is way to high a percentage of the roast. IMHO. I swear by searing but for the taste and texture issues you mention not for moisture retention. I just found for roasts I like to sear last. Now a steak or a scallop is a different story.
[email protected] December 23, 2018
Cook's Illustrated recommends searing after for best flavor. Just read it...had never heard of it before.
sexyLAMBCHOPx December 19, 2013
I prefer my beef seared, I do taste and enjoy the texture much better than not doing so.
Big G. December 19, 2013
sorry, that is just not accurate. The whole searing thing is a fallacy
Declan December 19, 2013
NEVER put a piece of meat in an oven without searing it first. If you don't sear the surface, all of the juice (and taste) runs out in the consequent liquid. To sear is to seal the outside surface and not to cook. The tenderloin does not heat. All searing does is create a seal, enclosing the joint. The actual joint remains cold. its really important to sear
Big G. December 19, 2013
I really think that roasting it at 300 to the desired doneness first than searing it last gets the best results. It is safer to keep at 140 in the oven till searing time and it only takes a short amount of time to sear off at 500 degrees or on the stove top and flambé it with cognac to wow the guests.... if you sear it first I think; one the danger zone is an issue and two you will probably develop a thicker layer of well done meat at outer layer than you would want... IMHO... I always cook till desired doneness than sear.
sexyLAMBCHOPx December 19, 2013
I thought that was for prime rib via serious eats food lab? So it would be the same for a beef tenderloin?
sexyLAMBCHOPx December 19, 2013
You can definitely sear ahead but I would let it cool down before refrigerating and take out at least 30 minutes before roasting. Just my opinion. Enjoy!
Declan December 19, 2013
Refrigerate till 20 minted before roasting. Allow it come back towards room temperature before placing it in the oven.
Patti I. December 19, 2013
Searing ahead of time can be done. Don't let it sit for 1 to 2 hours in the danger zone. Refrigerate for most of that time and then you can take it out and cook it at that time.
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