Smoking A Whole Beef Tenderloin
Maybe it’s barbecue season already, maybe it’s not. It doesn’t matter. I really don’t care. For me, it’s always a great idea to dust the cobwebs off the smoker, bread out the charcoal, and get the lumps of wood ready. In today’s post, I’m hoping to get you excited with today’s smoked dish: whole beef tenderloin.
Beef tenderloin is a great combination of beef tenderness and that nostalgic smoke flavor. This should be easy, considering it only takes about an hour to get this dish done. However, the smoking process can be tricky because you really have to ensure that you maintain the right temperature to achieve that smoky, oh-so-good tenderness of beef tenderloin.
Since tenderloin comes from a cow’s barely used muscles, it’s already tender. Along with the tenderness, however, is the extreme leanness of this part, which means there’s a likelihood that the meat will easily dry out and be overcooked.
To avoid that, let me guide you through the perfect whole beef tenderloin recipe. To determine how much tenderloin to purchase, plan on four servings per pound of tenderloin.
Remember that beef tenderloin can be expensive, but it’s popularity remains because it’s such a rich and tender cut of meat. Cooking it can be an easy task, even if it's your first time,
by using this handy guide for perfectly cooked tenderloin. The cooking times for beef tenderloin may vary, so it’s best to use a thermometer.
What You Will Need to Make Smoked Whole Beef Tenderloin Roast
Herb Garlic Mustard Baste
Mix Armagnac, olive oil, honey, mustard, herbs, and garlic in a small bowl. Stir and set aside.
Get a small bowl and combine kosher salt and all four types of peppercorns. Set aside.
Armagnac Butter Injection
To get the best smoking experience, choose a wood that’s fitting for the choice and meat and its flavor. I particularly like to use hickory for my beef tenderloins. It’s a nice wood and compliments the taste of beef tenderloin perfectly.
Depending on your preference, you can also add fruit woods to your primary choice of wood such as cherry or apple to improve the flavor even further, and get that extra sweet kick as well.
After assembling all the materials, it’s time to kick off smoking the whole beef tenderloin.
Step by Step Instructions for Smoking Whole Beef Tenderloin
Step 1: Prepare the Smoker
About 30 minutes before smoking beef tenderloin, starting prepping your smoker. Don’t forget to set out the tenderloin too around the same time to warm it up a bit before getting into the smoker. You may also want to soak the wood chips in hot water at this time.
Make sure your smoker has enough charcoal before lighting it. Close the lid to heat it up to the right temperature. Your goal is to get it to 300 degrees F, so make sure to monitor the coal level and air intake in the process of reaching the right heat.
A few minutes before smoking the meat cut, ensure that the water tank of your smoker has been filled, add the wood, and pour more charcoal in it before putting the grill grate and closing the lid. Make sure the smoke and steam build up as well before putting the meat on the grill.
Step 2: Prepare the Beef Tenderloin
If the tenderloin isn’t trimmed yet, start doing so while prepping the smoker. To start, get your sharpest knife and take off any excess skin or fat. Only get rid of the hanging fat and avoid trimming more than what’s needed. Be careful not to cut through or remove any of the meat too. You don’t want to waste a few dollars and shave off a part of that meat.
You will also want to tie the tenderloin. If you’re not exactly sure how to do this, let a butcher do it for you. Tying the beef tenderloin creates a more uniforms shape along the length of the meat, allowing the meat to be evenly cooked.
If you notice that the tail is flopping around in the smoker, remember that part will be cooked first before the centermost part of the tenderloin is done. To make sure heat is evenly circulated, your tenderloin must achieve a cylindrical shape.
In tying the tenderloin, keep two inches of space in between. Your goal is to create a uniform thickness along its length.
Step 3: Baste and Rub the Tenderloin
Once the tenderloin is all trimmed and tied up, baste it with the herb garlic mustard base. After it’s thoroughly covered, rub it with the 4-pepper rub. Remember to press firmly so the flavor of pepper seeps through the meet. Before smoking it, inject the meat with Armagnac butter mixture.
An alternative to flavoring your beef tenderloin is by seasoning it will just kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper. Drizzle the meat with olive oil on all sides, then rub it all over. Use a steak rub or a dry rub of your own.
This method is ideal for people who prefer their tenderloin to be a bit more natural-tasting.
Step 4: Smoke the Beef Tenderloin
With the smoker preheated, you can begin with the smoking process. First, lay the tenderloin onto the grates and close the lid. Make sure that the cooking environment is as consistent as possible, which means you’ll have to check the water levels, wood, and charcoal regularly.
Check the air intake now and then as well. Depending on the size of the meat, cooking beef tenderloin will take about an hour and forty-five minutes tops.
During the smoking process, inject Armagnac butter into the meat. To help regulate the smoker’s heat circulation, turn the meat over about halfway through the smoking process. If you prefer, you can brush on a layer of your favorite barbecue sauce while it smokes. But for this particular recipe, the rub and baste should be enough as flavor enhancements.
Another method of cooking whole tenderloin is to use the reverse-sear method. Set up your smoker for direct grilling and heat to high after smoking to an internal 110 degrees F temperature. The grill grate must be oiled up.
Take the meat to the grill and use tongs to turn it as you need to. The outside of the meat should be sizzling and brown. Check the internal temperature of the meat to come up with rare meat, which is at 120 to 125 degrees, or medium-rare, which is at 130 degrees. Use the meat thermometer to check the temperature.
Step 4: Rest the Meat
You’ll know the beef tenderloin is done when the internal temperature of the thickest part reaches 135 degrees. Upon reaching this temp, you may take it off the smoker and tent it loosely using an aluminum foil for about 30 minutes to an hour.
This resting process will allow the meat to become more tender and flavorful. Let the tenderloin reabsorb its juices. This step will also allow the temperature to rise, resulting in a perfect 145-degree smoked beef tenderloin.
Remember not to bunch the foil around the meat or the crust will get soggy. You can slice the meat crosswise thinly and admire its smoke ring before serving it.
Step 5: Serve the Tenderloin
Once the tenderloin has been rested, it’s ready to be devoured. You may serve your perfectly smoked whole beef tenderloin with some relish on the side.
The cuts would depend on the way you want to eat beef tenderloin. For sandwiches or as appetizers, use thin slices. As a main dish, it’s best served using thick cuts. Whatever your choice of cut is, you’re guaranteed of an amazingly smoky and rich flavor.
What makes tenderloin a premium choice for many is the lack of connective tissue, which separates this specific cut from rubs, shoulder cuts, and brisket. Tenderloin will be typically done at an internal temperature of 135 degrees F, meaning there’s no need to wait for collagen to break down into gelatin. The only thing you have to do is smoke the meat to your liking, depending on what’s palatable to your taste. Pair this best beef tenderloin with your favorite side dishes and you have the perfect main course for your guests.
There you have it. You have all the steps needed to create the perfect smoked whole beef tenderloin. Now it’s up to you when to cook it. Don’t forget to prepare a good spice rub to go with this premium cut of cow meat. Couple it with patience and you can have the best-tasting beef tenderloin you and your family and friends can enjoy in get-togethers.
If you find this recipe awesome, share it with a friend. If you have more tips or recipes for your own on how to cook beef tenderloin, share it with us by leaving a comment. Happy smoking!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to smoke a beef tenderloin?
Since the tenderloin has very little fat, it’s important not to overcook it or it will taste dry. We like to smoke beef tenderloin to a rare temperature of 120 degrees and no more than medium-rare, which is 130 degrees F. This should take anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the size of the tenderloin.
Can you smoke filet mignon?
Filet mignon is a common name for steaks cut from the beef tenderloin. You could smoke these smaller steaks using the same method described in this article, although it will not take nearly as long for them to finish.
What is the best wood for smoking beef tenderloin?
Since beef is a full-flavored meat, you can choose any type of wood you please for smoking. It can hold up to the stronger-flavored woods, like oak, hickory, and mesquite, but it also does well with the fruit woods like apple wood, pecan, and cherry. Have some fun and mix your woods together to create a unique blend!
What is the difference between beef tenderloin and filet mignon?
Beef tenderloin is the name of the large cut of beef that comes from inside the beef loin. It’s located beneath the spine and doesn’t get much exercise, so it lacks connective tissue which makes it exceptionally tender. The filet mignon, on the other hand, is the French name for the steaks cut from the tenderloin.
What temperature do you smoke beef tenderloin?
We like smoking beef tenderloin at 300 degrees F. This is the perfect temperature to keep it nice and moist instead of drying it out as it cooks. You’ll get a nice caramelization on the outside of the loin, too, which you won’t get if you cook it at lower temperatures.