How to Tie a Beef Tenderloin

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Beef tenderloin recipes are ideal for holiday menus or Sunday dinners. But before you even preheat the oven, study up on How to Tie a Beef Tenderloin so the meat cooks evenly.

A beef tenderloin tied on a wooden cutting board.


 

For Christmas dinner, Easter brunch, or any Sunday dinner you wish to make feel more like a holiday, turn to Roast Beef Tenderloin. But no matter how you season or slice it, it’s important to learn how to tie a whole beef tenderloin.

Tying the whole tenderloin not only keeps the meat about even from edge to edge, which allows for even cooking time, but also limits the amount the meat spreads while cooking. Translation: Your roast beef will be beautifully uniform in shape as well as succulent and juicy if you follow these steps for how to tie beef tenderloin before roasting.

Equipment and ingredient notes

  • Kitchen twine: My top pick is any butcher’s twine made from cotton. Linen twine is a close runner-up, and if you don’t have access to either of those, unflavored dental floss can work in a pinch.
  • Beef tenderloin: My Roast Beef Tenderloin recipe calls for a 2-pound portion, but feel free to use this method for how to tie beef tenderloin with whatever meat serving matches your crowd size. Look for center-cut beef tenderloin, also known as Châteaubriand. This cut of meat has a thick layer of fat that needs to be removed before roasting.

Step-by-step instructions

To trim the beef tenderloin:

  1. On one end of the roast, slide the blade of your knife between the meat and the shiny connective tissue (silverskin).
Fat being trimmed off of a beef tenderloin.
  1. Immediately begin to pull the connective tissue back away from the meat as you continue to cut between the two until you’ve reached the other side of the roast.
Fat being trimmed off of a beef tenderloin.
  1. Work in strips if necessary and repeat as needed.
Fat being trimmed off of a beef tenderloin.

To tie the beef:

  1. Using 12-inch lengths of kitchen twine, tie a loose knot around one end of the meat and pull until snug to make an anchor knot.
A beef tenderloin being tied on a wooden cutting board.
  1. Pull a length of twine away from the anchor to create a large loop.
A beef tenderloin being tied on a wooden cutting board.
  1. Loop it around the tenderloin.
A beef tenderloin being tied on a wooden cutting board.
  1. Space it about 1 ½ inches from the anchor knot and tie a second knot.
A beef tenderloin being tied on a wooden cutting board.
  1. Pull more twine to create a third loop and secure it 1 ½ inches from the second knot.
A beef tenderloin being tied on a wooden cutting board.
  1. Continue tying the roast crosswise at 1-inch intervals until the toast is evenly tied. Sprinkle tied roast with salt, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
A beef tenderloin tied on a wooden cutting board.

To roast the beef:

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 300 degrees. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet (line the baking sheet with foil for easier cleanup). Pat roast dry with paper towels, then sprinkle evenly with pepper. Transfer roast to prepared rack or roasting pan.
A tied beef tenderloin on a rack.
  1. Rub the roast with butter or olive oil. Roast until beef registers 125 degrees (for medium-rare), 40 to 55 minutes or 135 degrees (for medium), 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Juices should run clear when tested with a probe thermometer. Flip the roast halfway through cooking.
A roasted beef tenderloin on a rack.
  1. In a large pan over medium-high heat, heat vegetable oil until just smoking. Add roast to skillet and sear until well-browned on all sides, about 2 to 4 minutes per side.
Browning a beef tenderloin in a skillet.
  1. Transfer roast to a carving board and let rest for 15 minutes. Remove twine and cut roast crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices.
Rubbing shallot butter on a roasted beef tenderloin.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This technique for tying beef tenderloin uses a 2-pound portion of beef which feeds about 6 adults, but the technique can be used for any roast.
  • Prime Rib with Mustard Cream Sauce: Put your new meat-tying skills to use with a show-stopping Prime Rib. This one is served with a mustard sauce, but a creamy horseradish sauce would be delicious too.
  • No-tie steaks: Looking for beef without the twine? Try Grilled New York Strip Steaks, Surf and Turf with filet mignon and lobster tails, or Grilled Tri-Tip.
  • Compound butter: Add more flavor to any steak with a pat of flavorful compound butter. Just combine softened unsalted butter and your favorite aromatics and herbs like garlic, shallots, finely minced red onions, rosemary, thyme, black pepper, or kosher salt, roll into a log, chill, and slice.
A sliced roast beef tenderloin.
Roast Beef Tenderloin with compound butter.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you trim beef tenderloin before tying?

Slide tip of a chef’s knife under connective tissue, keeping the knife tip close to surface of the meat. Using your other hand to pull connective tissue tight against the blade, smoothly slide the knife angled away from the meat to slice away the white portion on the top of the beef tenderloin.

What other meats should I tie or truss before cooking?

Keep that kitchen twine handy. Cornish hens, chickens, turkeys, and prime rib all benefit from being tied or trussed.

What is the doneness temperature for beef tenderloin?

I swear by my instant-read meat thermometer, and follow these temperature guidelines for any beef preparation:
Rare: 120 to 125 degrees F
Medium Rare: 130 to 135 degrees F
Medium: 140 to 145 degrees F
Medium Well: 150 degrees F
Well: 160 degrees F
While many chefs (and I) prefer a slightly lower temperature for juicer, more tender beef, the USDA has a more conservative minimum safe cooking temperature of 145 degrees F. Cook to your desired doneness level.

More kitchen techniques

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A beef tenderloin tied on a wooden cutting board.

How to Tie a Beef Tenderloin

Beef tenderloin recipes are ideal for holiday menus or Sunday dinner. But before you even preheat the oven, it's important to study up on how to tie a beef tenderloin so the meat cooks evenly.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 505
5 from 2 votes

Equipment

Ingredients 

Instructions 

To trim the beef tenderloin:

  • On one end of the roast, slide the blade of your knife between the meat and the shiny connective tissue.
  • Immediately begin to pull the connective tissue back away from the meat as you continue to cut between the two until you've reached the other side of the roast. Work in strips if necessary and repeat as needed.

To tie the beef:

  • Using 12-inch lengths of kitchen twine, tie a loose knot around one end of the meat and pull until snug to make an anchor knot.
  • Pull a length of twine away from the anchor to create a large loop, then loop it around the tenderloin, spacing it about 1 ½ inches from the anchor knot.
  • Pull more twine to create another loop and secure it 1 ½ inches from the second loop.
  • Continue tying the roast crosswise at 1 1/2-inch intervals until the toast is evenly tied.

Notes

  1. Kitchen twine: My top pick is any butcher’s twine made from cotton. Linen twine is a close runner-up, and if you don’t have access to either of those, unflavored dental floss can work in a pinch.
  2. Beef tenderloin: My Roast Beef Tenderloin recipe calls for a 2-pound portion, but feel free to use this method for how to tie beef tenderloin with whatever meat serving matches your crowd size. Look for center-cut beef tenderloin, also known as Châteaubriand, which has a thick layer of fat that needs to be removed before roasting.
  3. Yield: This technique for tying beef tenderloin uses a 2-pound portion of beef which feeds about 6 adults, but the technique can be used for any roast.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 servingCalories: 505kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 28gFat: 43gSaturated Fat: 19gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 126mgSodium: 917mgPotassium: 483mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 291IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 18mgIron: 4mg
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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