Grilled Beef Tenderloin

This grilled beef tenderloin with herbed compound butter is rich, tender, incredibly flavorful, and well worth the splurge. Simply slice it into medallions or steaks after cooking. Here’s how to grill ithis unabashed indulgence.

A whole grilled beef tenderloin, partially sliced on a wooden cutting board with a knife, meat fork, and twine beside it.

This grilled whole beef tenderloin with herbed compound butter speaks to lovers of simple things done exceptionally well. A simple rub, a memorable herb-flecked butter, and a failproof grilling technique is all it takes. Although the beef may be a touch pricey, it’s worth every penny. It feeds a crowd, is easy to cook, and the tenderness and taste rival anything you’d experience at an overpriced restro but at home. As one of our testers who made this explained, “Skip the stuffy steakhouse, grab a nice bottle of red, and stay in your PJs.”–Angie Zoobkoff

Grilled Beef Tenderloin

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 30 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Serves 10 to 12
5/5 - 1 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Canal House Cook Something cookbook

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  • For the compound herb butter
  • For the grilled beef tenderloin


Make the compound herb butter

In a medium bowl, beat the butter with a wooden spoon until creamy and smooth.

Add the herbs, shallot, and garlic, if using. Season the butter with salt and black pepper and stir until well combined.

Make the grilled beef tenderloin

Pat the tenderloin dry with paper towels. Using a sharp knife, trim any fat. Slide the blade under the long silvery membrane and remove it.

Fold about 6 inches (15 cm) of the thin flap end of the meat under the rest of the tenderloin to make it about as thick as the rest of the filet and ensure even cooking. Tie the tenderloin with kitchen string at 3-inch (8-cm) intervals.

Rub the tenderloin all over with oil. Rub with pepper, pressing it into the meat, and season with salt.

Tester tip: You can cover and refrigerate the tied tenderloin for up to 36 hours before grilling. Let the tenderloin rest at room temperature for 1 hour before grilling.

Prepare a medium-hot charcoal or gas grill for indirect grilling. Grill the beef over the hottest part of the grill, turning it every few minutes so a slightly charred crust develops all over, 20 to 25 minutes.

Carefully move the tenderloin to the cooler side of the grill and cook until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 120°F (49°C) for rare and 130°F (54°C) for medium-rare, 7 to 12 minutes.

Let the beef rest on a cutting board for at least 20 minutes. Snip off the string, slice the meat, and serve on a platter of plates topped with a smear of compound herb butter. (Leftovers can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days and are mighty lovely served cold.)

Print RecipeBuy the Canal House Cook Something cookbook

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This was the most tender, buttery steak we’ve ever had. Then we topped it with butter. Utterly and perfectly indulgent!

We used a 2-pound tenderloin for our family of 4 (2 adults and 2 kids) so I adjusted the recipe accordingly. I salted the tenderloin 8 hours before cooking and rested the tied meat 1 hour before cooking. On a medium-hot grill, the tenderloin took about 20 minutes, rotating occasionally, to get crusted. Then I moved it to a cooler side of the grill and cooked an additional 10 minutes. I removed it from the heat when it reached an internal temp of 120°F as we like it rare. I placed my thermometer in the thickest part of the tenderloin, so the end pieces were more medium or medium-rare for the kids. I let it rest, wrapped in foil, for 15 minutes before slicing. I lost quite a bit of the juices on my cutting board when I sliced it up. I would recommend resting a few more minutes. I served this with lemon zest, balsamic, garlic, shallot, green beans, and Lemony Fettuccini Alfredo ( Our family agreed that you can’t even compare grilling individual filets versus grilling the entire tenderloin, they are two completely different dishes, delicious for different reasons. With individual steaks, you gain more seared surface area, but you don’t miss it here. Grilling the entire filet and then carving made the cut incredibly buttery and tender. We also agreed that it was easier to feed a crowd with this method, only one piece of meat to manage and eaters can choose their preferred doneness, more rare toward the center and more done near the ends.

We scaled down the meat, so I also scaled down the herb butter, which was amazing.

This dish is a bit of a spend but absolutely worth every penny. And the addition of the compound butter put it over the top. Skip the stuffy steakhouse, grab a nice bottle of red, stay in your PJs, and enjoy this dish with the carnivores you love.

I cater parties and just about every client I have requests a version of this, either as a main course or as an appetizer. This is an excellent basic recipe but I have some recommendations that make it really foolproof.

I always trim my tenderloin beyond what has been done to it in the butcher department. Most butchers will leave the chain attached to the tenderloin. I find that the chain is tough and chewy and causes the meat to cook less evenly, so I always remove it (butchers leave it on not because it tastes great but because it adds to the weight and it's less work for them to leave it on). I then tease out the usable meat from the silver skin and save those trimmings in the freezer. When I have enough, I rub them in herbs, garlic, oil and smoked pimentos and thread them onto skewers and grill them for a tapas-like appetizer.

I like to do a 36-hour rest in the fridge with the rub, uncovered, turning every 12 hours or so, to allow the salted juices to reabsorb into the meat. Sure, seasoning at the last-minute works and lets the clean beefy flavor shine through, but if you aren't able to splurge on prime-grade meat, then a 36 hour rub is a nice alternative. It lets you not have to splurge on the most expensive grade of beef but tastes like a million bucks. It’s also enough time that the meat will reabsorb any salty liquids it has released and yields beautifully flavored meat.

I tie the tenderloin at 1-inch intervals. The more evenly cylindrical the meat is, the more evenly it will cook. Plus, it looks pretty.

I always let the tenderloin rest at room temperature for at least one hour (and preferably two) before it goes on the grill or in the oven. The closer to room temp, the more evenly it cooks.

Gentler heat yields a more tender roast. Whether it's being grilled as it is here or roasted in the oven, lower temp is better. On the grill, you can be judicious about getting some nice grill marks and color, but then turn that temp way down and close the lid to let it gently cook through.

There is no substitute for a meat thermometer. The heel of your hand isn't an accurate gauge if you're looking for perfection. For me, perfection is 122°F in the thickest part of the tenderloin. Stick that thermometer straight into the tenderloin at the thickest end, horizontally through the center length of the roast.

This recipe says to let it rest for 15 minutes, but if you aren't hell-bent on serving piping hot meat, then let it rest for an hour. It's so sad to cut into a beef tenderloin only to have it bleed the lovely, salty juices all over the platter because it hasn't rested long enough.

I did not use the compound butter because I was serving it cold and sliced thin, to be placed atop baguette rounds. Instead I used a sauce of whipped creme fraiche with chives, dijon and horseradish to accompany.

I let the whole tenderloin sit on the counter for two hours before grilling because I find that the meat cooks much more evenly if it has been allowed to come closer to room temp before it goes on the grill.

I used a Weber gas grill.

I seared the meat over medium high on each of the 4 sides for about 6 minutes on each side until I got a nice color all around.

I then turned the grill down to medium low, closed the cover and let it cook for another 7 minutes until the thickest part of the meat registered 122 degrees.

After resting it for about 15 minutes on the counter, I put it into the fridge to get cold, so it could easily be sliced thin. I got just about 40 very thin slices to serve 20 adults as part of an appetizer table. I think I could get 10 main course servings from a tenderloin of this size. The meat was offered with rosemary baguette rounds and the aforementioned dijon, chive, horseradish creme fraiche. It was a huge hit as always. (I have literally made this 100s of times because almost every client for whom I cater parties requests it).

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