So I dig beurre blanc sauce and I dig beef tenderloin. Normally the beurre blanc is served over fish or chicken, but I had a hankering at the same time I wanted steak. Thus, after I reverse seared said steak, I crated Beef Tenderloin with a Beurre Blanc Sauce and I’m quite enamored with it, particularly when served over a bed of grilled asparagus.
Wait. Back up. Beurre blanc sauce? Some of you are thinking, it’s steak. All it needs is salt, pepper and maybe a little garlic. And I agree, most steak just needs salt, pepper and maybe garlic, but tenderloin requires a bit of a flavor boost. Ever ask yourself why they wrap so many filet mignon in bacon? It’s not to hold the meat together. It’s to give it some extra flavor from the bacon fat. It is the most tender part of the cow, but it also has very little fat and sadly, fat is what tastes good and is proof God wants us to do things in moderation because if I ate as much bacon as I wanted to, I’d be as big as a house. So I decided to jazz up this uber tender, but under flavored meat, with a beurre blanc sauce. The sauce actually takes more time to prepare than the roast, but it’s soooooooo worth it
Beef Tenderloin with a Beurre Blanc Sauce Ingredients:
- 3 lb beef tenderloin roast
- Coarse salt
- Fresh cracked black pepper and white pepper
- 3 tbsp fresh tarragon, minced – divided
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 tbsp shallots, minced
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp white pepper
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter sliced into tbsp size pieces (16 pieces) and chilled
Let’s start with the beef tenderloin:
Season the outside of the beef tenderloin with salt, black and white pepper and 2 tbsp of the minced tarragon, then drizzle with olive oil and work all the seasoning and herbs into the meat:
I use both black and white pepper because each one hits a different spot on the tongue making the flavor profile more nuanced.
Don’t forget your meat thermometer. You don’t want to mess up almost $100 of steak by guessing when it’s done:
Now off to the smoker which is set at 225F:
Why do you Reverse Sear Steak?
Most people sear then smoke/bake until the steak is done. The reason we reverse sear steak is because searing first will keep most of the smoke from penetrating the meat. By smoking first it infuses the smoke flavor but still allows for the sear at the end to get that gorgeous browning so it’s the best of both worlds. What I do is undershoot my target temp during the smoke session to allow room to sear at the end. In this case, I’m targeting 110F degrees in the smoke session and 125F (rare) from the searing step. This is called the reverse sear method and I use it for almost everything! Seriously, search this site for “Reverse Sear.”
While the beef tenderloin is doing its thing on the smoker, time to prep the sauce. On a much hotter grill, in this case my gas grill, place a sauce pan and pour in the wine, white wine vinegar, shallots and remainder of the tarragon. Bring to a boil:
Reduce the liquid down to at least a third of the original volume. Then bust out a second sauce pot and pour the liquid/shallot/tarragon concoction through a sieve into the other pot. Make sure to press down on the shallots and tarragon with the back of a spoon or butt of a knife to get the last of the glorious flavor into the pot and subsequently the sauce:
Now move the pot off the edge of the heat. Add the heavy cream, salt and white pepper, and one tbsp of butter:
Let each pat melt over a slow simmer making sure to whisk the sauce after each one goes in. This takes a good 20-30 minutes to finish, but the results are magical:
Pull the sauce after it thickens a bit but before it thickens too much as much of the thickening happens after the sauce leaves the heat and it cools down. I was worried the sauce was too thin but after being off the heat about 5 minutes, it was a wonderful consistency.
The beef tenderloin reached 110F degrees on the smoker, time to give it a good sear over a hot fire on my gas grill:
Once grill marks form, rotate the meat 45 degrees:
Once the cross hatch grill marks form, flip it over and repeat. I essentially did this on three sides rather than just the top and the bottom to get nice browning all the way around:
My asparagus is lightly charred, the sauce is still cloying and creamy (keep whisking every couple of minutes as the steak cooks), while my beef tenderloin is at 125 and ready to be sliced.
But wait, you said 125F. That’s rare. This looks more medium. Ah, so it does. Patience, grasshopper (Google “TV Show Kung Fu” for those of you that don’t get the reference). This happens sometimes with steak. I assure you it was exactly 125F when I pulled it thanks to my probe thermometer. It was also exactly at 110F when I took it off the smoker. A couple minutes of “breathing” while the sauce finishes and my beef tenderloin reddens up nicely and is begging for the beurre blanc sauce:
Notice the edge to edge red. Not thick band of grey around the outside. It’s only slightly less red around the edge of that medallion of red, tender deliciousness.
You can add a little extra of the minced tarragon on top if you like:
And a pic from the other side:
And a couple more medallions and another drizzling of that thick sauce, this time with no blur (or bokeh) effect:
How was the beef tenderloin with the beurre blanc sauce? Absolutely, positively divine. The sauce was so fluffy and cloying that it gave the steak an amazing mouthfeel. Like the meat was wrapped in a pillow of deliciousness and took the filet mignon (another term for beef tenderloin) to another level that not even a slice of bacon could achieve.
I have a funny story about this sauce
Way back when, in my 20’s, I worked at a small legal publication while I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I had a friend that was a chef at a local restaurant that wanted to purchase some ads in our paper. I decided to try my hand at sales. I sold them an ad which featured a fish dish with a beurre blanc sauce, something I had never heard of at that time. Well, the restaurant never reviewed the proof I sent and it was published as is. The problem was I misspelled the sauce and the ad listed it as beurre BLAND instead of beurre blanc. Bland!?!?!? Oops! I felt bad about it but I didn’t return my $65 commission (I said it was a small publication). In the end, maybe that was God telling me to skip the sales. He had much bigger things in store for me like being the Grillin’ Fool! I will say this though. At that little legal publication, I met my wife. I fell in love with her immediately. After she broke my heart twice, she eventually came around and we got married. Over the next 16 years we had four kids together. Sales wasn’t for me, but she was. And this Fool is good with that because we have a pretty spectacular life together with our little family of 6.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or send me an email.
Beef Tenderloin with a Beurre Blanc Sauce
- 3 lb beef tenderloin roast
- coarse salt
- fresh cracked black pepper and white pepper
- 3 tbsp fresh tarragon minced - divided
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp shallots minced
- ¼ cup white wine
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp white pepper
- 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks sliced into tbsp size pieces (16 pieces) and chilled
- Season the roast with the salt, black and white pepper, tarragon and olive oil
- Place the tenderloin in a 225 degree smoker
- While the steak is smoking, start the sauce
- Place an oven safe sauce pot on a hot grill and pour in the wine, vinegar, shallots and tarragon
- Boil the liquid down to at least a third of the liquid is remaining
- Get a second oven safe pot and pour the wine/vinegar/shallot/tarragon concoction through a sieve into the other pot
- Put this new pot off the edge of the heat and pour in the heavy cream, salt and white pepper
- Add a tbsp of butter and whisk a bit
- Once the tbsp of butter melts, add another tbsp of butter and whisk again
- Repeat until all 16 tbsp of butter are incorporated in the sauce
- Let the sauce simmer for another 5 minutes or so, whisking every couple minutes
- Sear the beef tenderloin all the way around
- Once the beef tenderloin reaches 125 for rare remove it from the heat
- If you want medium rare, place the roast on the side with no heat or an upper rack until it reaches 135 for medium rare or 145 for medium
- Slice the beef tenderloin into medallions and drizzle with the beurre blanc sauce