Okay, time for a little tension breaker after a few weeks of “all politics-all of the time” here. (I realize not everyone likes this feature of my blog. Not to worry. We will return to our regularly-scheduled programming soon enough. In the meantime, we have to eat and there is a small, but dedicated group of readers out there who ONLY care about the occasional recipes.)
So last night, we took our first stint at cooking for the UW-Marathon County’s 28th Annual EATS scholarship fundraiser. Yesterday afternoon found us preparing five whole beef tenderloins; about 25 lbs., trimmed. We whipped up 200 servings and it lasted less than an hour with the great crowd on hand. (I thought there might be more vegetarians, but the carnivores more than made up for them, if they were there.) Anyway, we apologize for those who may have been expecting to see us and then discovered our station abandoned by 8 p.m. By way of recompense, here’s how to make it yourself – and it’s really simple.
Here’s what you need:
- Whole beef tenderloin, trimmed
- Teriyaki sauce
- Olive oil
- Garlic powder (I also use a roasted garlic spray.)
- MEAT THERMOMETER!
In a good-sized mixing bowl, slather on the teriyaki sauce with enough to spare to leave a bit in the bottom of the bowl. Season with garlic powder and pepper; then cover it with a layer of olive oil. If you have the garlic spray, apply it at any point. Leave the meat in the mixing bowl, turning it from time to time to make sure it is marinating evenly. (Yes, you can drop it into a large re-sealable plastic bag, if you want to do this ahead of time and put it in the refrigerator. What I usually do is leave it in the mixing bowl until the meat reaches room temperature, which is an hour and a half to two hours.)
Fire up your grill and let it pre-heat. What I do is start with a fairly hot fire to sear the meat and put on an attractive finish. Then I back it off and put the meat on the upper rack so it doesn’t burn. This is where your meat thermometer comes in. I generally take the interior temperature to 125 degrees for medium rare and 140 degrees will be pretty much cooked through. (The previously limp tenderloin will now have some body to it and you will get a feel for this after you’ve done it a time or two.) Take the tenderloin off the grill when you reach the proper temperature, recognizing that it will continue to cook a bit while you allow it to rest for 15 minutes or so before slicing it and the interior temperature will even rise a few degrees, initially.
The importance of using a meat thermometer regularly through the finishing process can’t be overestimated. Tenderloins have an inconsistent shape and it’s impossible to eyeball things without actually checking the temperature frequently.
This method yields juicy, flavorful tenderloin every time. If you have people who like a more well done cut, simply take their servings from the narrow end of the tenderloin.
For those who took in last night’s event, we added a mushroom sauce to the bottom of the chafer to keep things steaming and moist over the hour-long serving time. To prepare it, we sautéed mushrooms in butter, au jus, Worcestershire sauce and Lawry’s seasoning and then strained it. The finished tenderloin servings of about 1.5 oz. each were then placed into the chafer on the sauce base and we had no difficulties with things become dry or overcooking in chafer. This is a decent technique for a larger hors d’oeuvres type of presentation, where the serving time can become rather extended.