Tenderloin lean? On what planet? Good tenderloin is well marbled with flecks of very palatable fat in the meat -- rather than being surrounded by a solid wrapper, or having big mofo chunks inside. Tenderloin is very, very, tres, beaucoup rich. That's why you can get away with smallish portions.
The tenderloin is a separate group of muscles (including the chain) that runs through the short loin and the sirloin -- sort of between the top block and the top sirloin itself. The point of the fillet is in the short loin -- the chateau end in the sirloin.
A lot of people love tenderloin whether as filet mignon or some other way. A lot of them women. Maybe in part because a small piece can be oh so very satisfying. Whatever. While we may have our preferences I think we can live with the idea that others have theirs.
I don't have a single favorite. Pretty simple, if it's steak I like it. Top sirloin and tri-tip cooked California style; bone in rib, Porterhouse, either cooked more or less the same way or cut a little thinner and grilled hotter; carne asada; you can't make me choose.
For California beef barbecue and generic grilling I usually allow the meat to temp for awhile in a glass baking pan with a few splashes each of red wine and Worcestershire sauce. Splashes mind you -- no drowning of the meat. After about fifteen minutes, they'll mix with the meat juices to form a thick syrup.
Then I season my beef with a basic competition style beef rub. That's kosher salt, fresh coarsely ground black pepper, paprika or smoked paprika, ground chipotle or a little chile de arbol, granulated garlic, granulated onion, and a pinch each of dry mustard, sage and thyme. It's fair to partly California and what "Montreal steak seasoning" was before Schilling decided it needed a name.
If it's a thick steak, and I'm cooking indoors I'll sear it off in a pan and put it in the oven. I don't care how wonderful or flavorful the cut, no fond goes unused. Can you say "pan reduction?"
Outdoors, I like to get some good cross-hatched tattooing, adjust the rack and/or cover, and finish indirect or a long way over hot coals. That "long way over hot coal" is California (what people who don't actually know better call 'Santa Maria') style by the way. It's a lot like what Southerners call "open pit." I love the trad California Central Valleys style accompanients too.
If the steak's cut thinner, indoors or out, I cook hot and fast -- usually. Still with the cross hatching on the outdoor grate.
But shishkabob -- much slowness.
You want a bacon wrapped fillet? Steak Diane? Philly cheese steak? Pizzaiola? Steak (romsteck at that) avec frites? Somethin else?
Edited by boar_d_laze - 8/3/10 at 11:05am