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Earthy, Spicy, and Sweet Flavors to Celebrate
The end of the year is here and we’re celebrating. There’s no question that 2020 has been a challenge, but it’s not stopping our family. We’re going big and bold with this Southwest beef tenderloin, paired with confetti of fried Brussels sprouts, pomegranate seeds, and molasses. Our family enjoys a classic preparation, but I couldn’t resist bringing in our local flavors of Mexican food.
(I always have to remember to capital Brussels when talking about the sprouts. Did you ever realize that?)
Southwest Flavors Enhancing the Beef
The combination of coffee and sweet chiles is one of my favorites for big cuts of beef, or even quick sears on thin steaks. Inspired by my previous recipe for Ancho Coffee Skirt Steak Tacos, the seasoning evolved and turned into this delicious flavor for a much bigger roast. Simple changes, knowing that I would be tying it in with the bitter flavors of Brussels sprouts and the sweet & sour notes of pomegranate.
Think about your overall flavors when you’re making seasonings. Some of the best dishes I’ve had use a combination of spice, sweet, sour, heat and different textures to create an incredible experience with every bite.
There’s a secret ingredient to my Southwest beef tenderloin: Pomegranate Molasses. This sweet & sour sauce has a strong punch which explodes in your mouth, bringing out the other flavors of the dish such as the coffee. Highly recommend picking some up, you’ll be pouring it over your oatmeals, salads, and much more.
The Beef Tenderloin Cut
This is a roast sized Filet Mignon, weighing in around 3-5 pounds. This incredibly special cut of beef is typically reserved for special occasions, in our case the holidays.
The tenderloin is a milder, more tender cut than a Prime Rib Roast. It’s by far the most tender cut on the cow, making it a prized possession by many. Get your fork out for a buttery texture that will just melt in your mouth. This is all due to the minimal amount of fat content, which is also an issue for some.
I’ve been using the Chateaubriand roast from Omaha Steaks (fancy name for the beef tenderloin roast). The company ages their beef for at least 21 days, plus it comes pre-trimmed. The biggest flexibility is the size, you can order either 2lb or 4lb which is helpful depending on your plans.
Preferred Method for Cooking
Combing through my recipes, you’ll see that I love to use the reverse-sear process by smoking first, and searing second. That’s a perfect method to add in an extra layer of flavor while also maintaining a perfect temperature throughout.
This method is not just my favorite, but it’s also a highly recommended method due to the low-fat content on this Southwest beef tenderloin. Cooking a tender piece of beef such as the beef tenderloin using a hot & fast method will create a larger temperature gradient inside: that means you can potentially have a slice that’s well-done on the outside and medium-rare in the center.
Reverse-searing, whether you use the oven or the smoker, is a much gentler process. This allows the meat to cook at a more even temperature, allowing you time to sear the outside before it’s completely finished. The key is making sure that you cook it just to under your target temperature before searing it. See this chart for a reference:
Reverse-Sear Temperature Guide
|Doneness||Target Temp in the Smoker||Final Temp during sear|
Top Tips for Success
- Dry brine the tenderloin overnight in the fridge. Seasoning the meat the night before will allow the flavors to penetrate more, and will enhance the crust for the browning process.
- Take your tenderloin straight from the smoker to the grill. You don’t need to rest the meat after roasting it slow, you can do that after it sears.
- Flip often when searing. That will prevent the beef from having a large temperature gradient.
- Rest the beef roast with some compound butter after searing. I recommend brushing it on and letting it rest for about 10 minutes.