Grilling Prime Tenderloin
I stopped in at Everett's Meats on 38th yesterday to pick up a few red meat essentials for the freezer. They had this tenderloin winking at me from the case and I thought it would make a mighty tasty dinner.
To prepare, I mixed up some herb butter by chopping a few various herbs (rosemary and thyme) and then combining them with softened butter. I reused the wrapper to shape it into a butter log to put back in the fridge.
An hour before I wanted to eat, I took the steak out of the fridge and heavily salted both sides of the cut. Use rock salt for this so the grains can easily be washed off later. The salt is important in that it removes water from the beef. Otherwise, when you cook the meat, the water steams it and drains flavor away. The salt draws the moisture to the surface of the meat and leaves the fat and proteins behind. Furthermore, once the water is drawn out, the meat re-absorbs some of the salt, seasoning the steak and breaking down the proteins making the meat more tender. The juiciness of the steak will come from the melted fat, so the more marbled the steak, the more tender it'll tend to be.
Let the steak sit out on the counter covered in salt for 45 minutes. This is for a 1 1/2 inch thick cut. More or less time is needed if your cut is different. Figure about 15 minutes for each 1/2 inch. Leaving the steak out also let's it come to room temperature before cooking. After 45 minutes, wash the salt off the steak and dry it thoroughly. No more salt is needed for seasoning, but a sprinkling of pepper is nice.
It'll take about 10 to 15 minutes to grill the steak to medium rare -- which is my preference. While the steak is salting, get the grill good and hot. You want to sear the outside of the meat to keep the flavors inside. Place the steak at a diagonal to the grill bars and cook for one or two minutes. Use tongs to replace it at 90 degrees the other way to get a cross-hatch burn pattern. Never fork a cut of meat as it'll dry out that area when the juices run out. After another one to two minutes, flip the steak and repeat. Leave on the grill long enough to achieve your desired doneness. This depends on the heat you have, but in this case 15 minutes was about right.
After removing the steak from the grill, immediately let a couple of pats of butter melt into it and let the meat sit for at least 5 minutes, this help draw the moisture back into the middle of the cut.
Congrats, you've now made a perfectly cooked, tender steak. A great way to guarantee that the expensive piece of beef you brought home is prepared correctly.
Now peek at the rest of the pics. :)