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Grilled Beef Tenderloin

A whole grilled beef tenderloin, partially sliced on a wooden cutting board with a knife, meat fork, and twine beside it.
You'll want to double the compound butter recipe for this grilled beef tenderloin because of its fresh and savory notes.
Melissa Hamilton & Christopher Hirsheimer

Prep 30 mins
Cook 40 mins
Total 1 hr 30 mins
Entrees
American
10 to 12 servings
1090 kcal

Ingredients 

For the compound herb butter

  • 2 sticks (8 oz) salted butter room temperature
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, sage, and thyme
  • 1 small shallot finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the grilled beef tenderloin

  • 1 (6-to 7-pound) whole beef tenderloin*
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or more, if needed
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper or more, to taste
  • Kosher salt

Directions 

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, or plated and 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.)

Notes

*Why is my beef tenderloin tough?

Beef tenderloin is one of the tenderest cuts of beef and, in general, should be pretty easy to grill. But...it can happen to the best of us, right? Tenderloin is a pretty lean cut of meat and you shouldn't grill it willy-nilly and hope for the best. Keep an eye on the temperature and the time it's been on the grill and you should be just fine. Rare to barely medium is the most common way to go. Cook it past 145°F and you might just end up with a slab of beef-flavored charcoal. Our preferred temp is about 125°F.