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Beef Tenderloin question

post #1 of 8
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I purchased a full beef tenderloin and I don't know how to trim it so that I end up with the tenderloin and the other parts. Can someone help?
post #2 of 8
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post #3 of 8
Tenderloin is one big little-used muscle. Make sure that you trim off the silver skin. You can leave it whole (tuck the narrow end under to make sure the whole thing is roughly the same thickness for consistency in cooking. You can slice it like bread--maybe 1-1 1/2" to make steaks. You can leave a part of it in about a 6-8" chunk for a Chateaubriand.

You could even butterfly it and stuff it with some compound butter or something, it you'd like.
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post #4 of 8
To trim the tenderloin: If it has a fatty long piece about 1" in diameter that runs the whole length of it, remove this piece. It has some meat that can be trimmed out for tips, but not much. Remove any exterior fat if present. You should now have a long, tapered piece of meat with some silver skin. Using a sharp boning or filet knife, insert tip under silver near narrow or pointed end of meat. Slide knife toward pointed end to loosen silver skin (it is a tendon). Grasp loosened end of silver. Place knife blade at an angle with blade scraping underside of silver. Pull silver toward thick end of piece while using knife against silver to scrape meat loose. Silver will strip away in 1" strips so you will have to repeat this process a few times. Once silver is removed ends can be cut off and trimmed for stroganoff or tips. Cut the rest crosswise into steaks as desired.
post #5 of 8
I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the chain, greyeaglem. Among other things, once trimmed, it's one of the best meats going for things like Philly steak & cheese sandwiches.

jfield: After trimming the tapered end (which, btw, makes a great roast), you'll stilll have a smaller end on the main hunk. When cutting steaks you may find it necessary to buterfly one or two of them, to equal the size of the others.

That is, say you're cutting steaks 1 1/2" thick. On the thin end, cut it 3", butterfly it, and open it up to make a 1 1/2" steak.

It's a matter of feel whether or not you do this; depends a lot on how much of the tapered end you removed.
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #6 of 8
The "chain" or "strap" after removing the silverskin, is great for adding to sirloin and chuck and grinding into great hamburger. I"ve got 9 lbs of it vacuum sealed in the freezer waiting for the time I find some nice chuck to grind with it. I already bought a 10lb tube of ground Black Angus sirloin from Venison America to mix with it.

Sometimes the tenderloins have many intertwining (it seems) layers of silverskin. These are much more tedious to remove. Other times, I find only basically one layer of silverskin. The more fat you have in the strap the better for the hamburger.

The butt end is the hardest to deal with as it has this "deep cleft" in it, that I like to cut out. The odd shape I'm left with challenges my imagination and cutting skills to make decent steaks out of. Sometimes I end up just chunking it for kebobs, but not often.

I generally make the whole tenderloin into as many "filet mignons" as I can. One big one for me (6' 3") and one littler one for the wife (4' 11").

I like to dry marinate them with my secret freshly ground from whole spices mixture and Foodsave them in vacuum bags. Into the freezer and they last for up to 2 years without loss of flavor or attaining "freezer burn". Trouble is, when they're on sale I buy some many, I run out of freezer space. That is why I haven't made my 30lbs of hamburger yet!

doc
post #7 of 8
The fat end with the cleft I find makes terrific little chunks for things like fajitas, "steak tips," and the like. The thin end makes chateaubriand.

Basically what I do, if I'm not roasting the thing whole, is prepare it as several people have described: remove the chain and any silverskin first up. Then you have a fat end, a slowly tapering middle, and the thin end that has the folded-up tail in it. Cut off the fat end to the end of the cleft, trim, and cut in cubes. Now start cutting in 1-1.5" thicknesses. You should get 2 tournedos, then about 3-4 filets mignon, and then you get to the thin end. Roll this tightly in a cloth napkin, and stand it on its end: it should be a cylinder, fairly tightly held in this form. Now pound straight down with a heavy skillet, several times, and you should have a large approximate circle roughly 1.5-2" thick; this is a chateaubriand. Cook this carefully, fairly well peppered, like any big steak (I find pan-searing and oven-finishing best), to very rare or maybe just medium-rare. Cut on the bias in slices, serve with bordelaise, bearnaise, or pan-reduction wine sauce, for 2 people as a romantic dinner with a very good red wine, salad, and crusty baguette.

Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques has step-by-step photos of doing all of this up to and not including the cooking part.
post #8 of 8
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