should you salt beef tenderloin before cooking

There was a time that I made beef tenderloin roast every Christmas. Somehow this tradition got away from me and we turned to prime rib and lasagna, all wonderful favorites, but heavy and just a little more trouble.

This year I wanted easy, so I came back to preparing beef tenderloin for the holidays. There is no one (in my circle anyway) that does not love filet mignon and tenderloin roast, including the children. While I feel I have perfected my prime rib recipe, preparing tenderloin roast is much more foolproof and takes much less time.

Salting the roast and letting it rest uncovered overnight makes for deeper seasoning, plus a drier surface for more efficient browning. Slow-roasting in a low oven cooks the tenderloin evenly from edge to center.
should you salt beef tenderloin before cooking

What is a Beef Tenderloin Roast?

The tenderloin is the most tender cut of beef found within the loin. Once cut into slices, it’s known as filet mignon. The Chateaubriand is made from the center of the tenderloin and used to be a common (expensive) entree on fancy restaurants, available for two. The tenderloin extends from the short loin into the sirloin.

We had a large tenderloin piece (5-6 pounds) that we cut into two crosswise pieces. This assured each piece would be medium rare. Each piece gave us 6 generous servings, cut into medium slices. The pictures are of just one of the halves.

Preparing Beef Tenderloin Roast in Under One Hour

If you read the many recipes on the internet you will become very confused, so let me put all that to rest and tell you the best way to make a tenderloin roast.

You will read recipes that take two to three hours at 250 degrees F. or twenty minutes at 250 degrees F.

You will read recipes that tell you to roast slow and low and then turn the broiler on. I don’t like that idea either as the broiler can cause more disappointment if you go that 30 seconds too long.

I opted for searing on top of the stove, roasting at a high temperature, the same way I make perfect roast chicken.

All you need is a roasting pan, a meat thermometer and a good butcher.

Once you begin preparing beef tenderloin the Spinach Tiger way, the process of roasting and resting is under one hour. You will need up to 48 hours in the refrigerator to dry brine, and up to two hours sitting on the counter.

  • Two Days to Dry Brine
  • Two Hours on Counter Before Roasting
  • Twenty to Twenty Five Minutes Roasting on high temperature.
  • Ten Minutes Resting

Wait until your guests arrive to do the roasting. Feed them cocktails and appetizers like this cheese plate.

You do not want this meat done before they get there. You want to be able to slice and serve as soon as the resting period is finished.

should you salt beef tenderloin before cooking

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Should I salt my tenderloin overnight?

Let your beef sit, uncovered and salted, in the fridge for at least a few hours, or up to overnight. This dries out the outside which allows for a really nice sear.

What cooking method is best for beef tenderloin?

The food web and a great many cookbooks (very many of them highly reputable) recommend blasting a tenderloin in a hot oven, 450–500°F (232–260°C), for a relatively short time to cook it, followed by a counter rest.

Should you salt beef before roasting?

Not only do you need to season the meat aggressively, you need to do so the night before you plan on cooking it. Explains Rick Martinez, associate food editor: “You’re essentially doing a quick dry brine with salt and pepper.” This will give the seasoning ample time to permeate beyond the roast’s interior.

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