Roast Beef Tenderloin

Roast Beef Tenderloin

Review recipe several days in advance since it recommends salting the meat 6 - 24 hours before roasting, to improve browning.
Based on a recipe by Charles Kelsey, Cook's Illustrated, March & April 2009.
Course: Main Course - Beef
Author: Catherine Christiano


  • beef tenderloin center-cut Chateaubriand estimate 1/2 pound per person, read step 1
  • Kosher salt
  • coarsely ground black pepper
  • unsalted butter softened

Shallot - Herb Butter (quantities for 2 pound roast, scale up for larger piece of meat)

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 1/2 medium shallot minced, approximately 2 tablespoons
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • OR
  • 1 medium garlic clove minced and 1 T fresh parsley finely chopped


Meat Prep

  • Have a butcher prepare a trimmed, center-cut Chateaubriand from the whole tenderloin. It is typically not available without special ordering. It should be trimmed of fat with silver-skin layer removed. For a large gathering, double by making two roasts. Using 12 inch lengths of twine, tie roast crosswise at 1 1/2 inch intervals.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and insert wire rack. Sprinkle roast evenly with Kosher salt (2 teaspoons for a 2 pound roast) and coarsely ground black pepper (1 teaspoon for a 2 pound roast). Place roast on rack in pan and refrigerate overnight ( 6 - 24 hours). This is to dry it out a bit so it will brown nicely. If pressed for time, allow roast to stand at room temperature for 1 hour instead.

Roasting Meat

  • Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 250°F. Pat roast dry with paper towels. Sprinkle evenly with pepper. Spread unsalted butter evenly over surface. Place roast on rack inserted into foil lined pan. Insert oven temperature probe into center of roast. Place in oven. Roast until it reaches desired internal temperature: rare = 125°F; medium rare = 130°F. A 3 - 3 1/2 lb roast takes approximately 70 minutes.

Shallot - Herb Butter

  • In small saucepan or skillet, melt butter. Add remaining ingredients. Cook until butter begins to turn a slight nutty brown.

Searing Meat

  • Skillet method - In a 12 inch heavy-bottomed skillet, add 1 tablespoon canola oil and heat over medium-high until just smoking. Place roast in skillet and sear until well browned on all sides, 1 - 2 minutes per side or about 4 - 8 minutes total. If preparing 2 roasts for a large gathering, sear each one separately.
  • Broiler method - (makes for messier oven clean-up) - Place oven rack just above center so roast will be about 6 inches from element. Preheat broiler to high. Place roast on rack in pan, in oven under broiler. Turn roast every 30 - 60 seconds, no more than 2 minutes per side, to brown evenly on all the way around.

Finishing Meat to Serve

  • Transfer roast to carving board. Spoon Shallot-Herb Butter evenly over top of roast, reserving half to pass. Allow roast to rest 15 minutes. Meanwhile, warm serving platter. Remove twine, cut meat crosswise into 1/2 inch thick slices. Serve, passing remaining Shallot-Herb Butter separately.