Grilled Beef Tenderloin Tails - 21

What are grilled beef ten­der­loin tails? I noticed some­thing new in the meat case at the local club store dur­ing a recent shop­ping trip…beef ten­der­loin tails!  I spoke with the staff and asked why they weren’t in the case reg­u­lar­ly?  The meat clerk stat­ed that they typ­i­cal­ly receive 2 types of beef ten­der­loin. One arrives trimmed or steak-ready and the oth­er is received whole. Should they sell out of the steak-ready vari­ety they will open the whole ten­der­loin to cut sin­gle filets from it. Since the thin­ner tails don’t yield a sig­nif­i­cant size steak the store mer­chan­dis­es them 2 in a pack­age at a reduced price.  So… let this tale begin.

At the reduced cost this appeared to be a pret­ty good deal to this old Grillin’  Fool. I’ve always tied 2 pork ten­der­loins togeth­er to achieve uni­form size for even cook­ing and used that for the inspi­ra­tion of this grilling recipe. It only seems nat­ur­al to try it with beef, par­tic­u­lar­ly since there is no way of cook­ing just one of these to a uni­form done­ness all the way through. No mat­ter what, the tapered end will be much more done than the thick end even if the thick end is only cooked to medi­um rare. But with two, I can tie them togeth­er, fat end to skin­ny, and get medi­um rare all the way through.

Here’s what beef ten­der­loin tails look like in the pack­age, on a cut­ting board with a pen to judge size and a pic­ture of how thick the ends are:

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In the pack­age
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In rela­tion to an ink pen
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The thick end

The ingre­di­ents for this grilling recipe:

2 beef ten­der­loin tails approx­i­mate­ly 1.5–2 lbs
Olive oil
Your favorite steak rub

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Ingre­di­ents sans oil

The I stopped buy­ing my cook­ing twine local­ly because it is so expen­sive for the most piti­ful lit­tle rolls. I got mine on Ama­zon in that stain­less hold­er above that I can refill again and again. If you just want the ball of cook­ing twine, they have that too.

The beef ten­der­loin tails are brought up to room tem­per­a­ture and tied togeth­er thin end to thick end to pre­pare them for the grill:

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Fat end to skin­ny
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Lash them togeth­er
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A lib­er­al dust­ing of the rub is applied to the beef ten­der­loin:

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Hit it with the rub

Don’t for­get the ends!

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Sea­soned, ends and all

Lubed with olive oil and ready for the grill.

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The Char-Broil 500X is set up for indi­rect cook­ing with coals on the left and the beef on the right and a grill temp between 275–300.

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Start­ing the Grill

On a side note, if you are still using lighter flu­id, please stop. You need to let that crap burn off for about 45 min­utes or longer so it doesn’t get into the meat. A chim­ney like the one above can be found at about any gro­cery or hard­ware store and even on Ama­zon. They last years and only need news­pa­per to get a roar­ing fire in 20 min­utes.

Grilled Beef Tenderloin Tails - 20
Coals hot and hick­o­ry ready to smoke

I enjoy a bit of hick­o­ry fla­vor with beef ten­der­loin. When I grill whole ten­der­loins, which are much thick­er than this, I’ll include a mix­ture of cher­ry and hick­o­ry with the grilling recipe, but I’m going for a light smoke here. A heav­ier smoke would do an injus­tice to thin­ner tails in my opin­ion.

Put the beef ten­der­loin on the grill on the side with no coals to indirect/smoke for approx­i­mate­ly 40–45 min­utes:

Grilled Beef Tenderloin Tails - 21
On the Grill

40–45 min­utes is an approx­i­ma­tion for that tem­per­a­ture and size of the meat. Both temp and size will vary, so look for an inter­nal tem­per­a­ture of the meat to get to 120–125 degree so that once we sear it, the beef ten­der­loin will be medi­um rare.

The lid is closed and I’m off to a search for an appro­pri­ate bev­er­age to pair with this grilling recipe:

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Close the grill

Found one!

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Gary Far­rell 2009 Pinot Noir

The beef ten­der­loin tails are look­ing good after 40 min­utes. The rub has meld­ed into the roast­ed meat:

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40 min­utes in

I mis­placed my ther­mome­ter so I’ll rely on the thumb test to check for done­ness.  Note: the thumb test will be one fin­ger or notch off when applied to beef ten­der­loin due to the ten­der­ness of the cut so what feels like rare on most steaks is actu­al­ly medi­um rare on a tenderloin/filet.

Now that the smoke fla­vor has been impart­ed on the beef ten­der­loin tails, It’s time to reverse-sear them to put on that glo­ri­ous fla­vor crust which means the meat’s going over the heat. The pro­teins will caramelize and the rub will char adding mul­ti­ple lay­ers to the fla­vor pro­file:

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Onto the fire

The tongs in the above pic­ture are the pre­ferred tongs of the Grillin’ Fools. You can find them a lot of places like Bed, Bath and Beyond or you can see them here on Ama­zon.

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Get­ting crusty

The grilled beef is pulled to the cut­ting board then foiled to rest for 10 min­utes.

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Off the heat
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Rats! Foiled again…

Why let it rest and for how long? When meat comes off the grill, the juices are in an excit­ed state due to the heat. If you slice it right away then the juices will come rush­ing out. Let­ting the meat rest will allow the juices to calm down and redis­trib­ute through­out the cut of meat mak­ing sure every bite is juicy and deli­cious. And how long depends on the size of the meat. a steak should be rest­ed for a cou­ple min­utes. For a bone in roast this big, rest for 10–12 min­utes.

Now I get to try out my new Shun chef’s knife. I’ve real­ly learned to appre­ci­ate fine cut­lery recent­ly.  I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty  to use a vin­tage mod­el of this blade while grilling with Cat Neville and decid­ed I had to own one myself. The feel and the way it han­dles is sim­ply superb. I think it is the Mer­cedes of fine knives.

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If you are inter­est­ed in pick­ing one up just like this, they can be pur­chased here.

First slice!  What?  Is that a hint of pink?

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Love at first slice

Yeah baby!!

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Would­ja’ look at that!  I think that I nailed a per­fect medi­um-rare!

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Medi­um Rare, pos­si­bly lean­ing toward Rare

Red meat, red wine!  I have my meal.

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Din­ner, as they say, is served!

I’m not sure what Mimi is hav­ing.  Per­haps it is time for this tale of two tails to end.

If you have any ques­tions, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email.

Also, you can fol­low the Grillin Fools on their Face­book page where you can post your grilling own pic­tures, share a grilling recipe or two, or join the gen­er­al grilling con­ver­sa­tion.  You can also fol­low them on Twit­ter @GrillinFool

Grilled Beef Ten­der­loin Tails
Recipe type: Entree
Cui­sine: BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2–4
How to take to oblong cuts of per­fect­ly good beef ten­der­loin and cook them even­ly
  • 2 beef ten­der­loin tails approx­i­mate­ly 1.5–2 lbs.
  • Olive oil
  • Your favorite steak/beef rub
  1. Tie the beef ten­der­loin tails togeth­er, fat end to skin­ny and vice ver­sa
  2. Coat with the rub and a dose of the olive oil
  3. Pre­pare the grill for two zone/indirect grilling with coals and smoke wood on one side and noth­ing on the oth­er
  4. Tar­get tem­per­a­ture inside the grill is 300 degrees
  5. Place the lashed togeth­er ten­der­loin tails over the side with no heat and close the lid
  6. Smoke the meat until it reach­es an inter­nal tem­per­a­ture of 115–120 degrees then move over to the hot side of the grill to sear all the way around
  7. Remove the grilled ten­der­loin tails from the grill and let rest for five min­utes before slic­ing and serv­ing
The times and temps in this recipe are for beef that is medi­um rare when plat­ed. For more well done beef, leave the ten­der­loin tails on the side with no heat until they reach a high­er inter­nal tem­per­a­ture of say 135–140 degrees and then sear for a steak that is on the medi­um to medi­um well side. 

Here’s a col­lage of the process:

Tenderloin Tails


Grilled ten­der­loin like this is real­ly good with sauces/butters…I usu­al­ly do a gor­gonzo­la but­ter and a chimichur­ri sauce. Delicious…this is a week­end after Thanks­giv­ing tra­di­tion!!!



I love that idea and I LOVE that day after Thanks­giv­ing tra­di­tion!


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