Holiday Beef Tenderloin - 132

Turkey rules the roost on Thanksgiving, but when Christmas and New Years rolls around, I’m all about the almighty cow. Prime rib, more prime rib, rib eye steak sandwiches, and of course beef tenderloin. Some of you are cringing at the thought of grilling at Christmas due to the weather. I get that. Standing over a grill while pouring charcoal into a chimney or even standing there with a Looftlighter can be rough. Having to repeatedly go outside to check on the coals before even putting the meat on is a pain and takes you away from the Christmas festivities. So let me simplify it a bit and smoke this bad boy on a gas grill. That’s right, I’m smoking a holiday beef tenderloin on a gas grill. The trips outside include, turning the grill on. Placing the plank on the hot grill. Placing the meat on the plank. Searing the meat and bringing it in. That’s it. And when it is cold outside, standing next to a hot grill is pretty pleasant, if not downright enjoyable. It also saves room in the oven for the all important sides and pies.

Holiday Beef Tenderloin Ingredients:

1 wooden smoking plank (preferably oak)
4lb beef tenderloin, trimmed
Coarse salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
Granulated Garlic
Dried rosemary
Grape seed oil (substitute olive oil if necessary)

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The oh so festive ingredients

I know what you’re thinking. Planking is for salmon, right? Absolutely. And it’s glorious. But why does it have to be only for salmon? Why do we only impart that sweet, aromatic smoke into salmon? Why not shrimp, or scallops, or red meat like pork and beef? Not to mention, my only knock on my gas grill is that it doesn’t impart as much smoke flavor that I like. Add a wooden plank and I have instant smoke!

If you don’t know where to find smoking planks, may I suggest our friends over at They are much cheaper than the grocery store (if they even have them) AND they have free shipping. They would make an excellent Christmas present to anyone you know with a gas grill.

The most popular plank is cedar, but the smoke I prefer most with beef is pecan along with white or red oak. This is  red oak which I drop into a sink full of water for 30-60 minutes:

Holiday Beef Tenderloin - 040 grilling plank

Now go prep the meat. What kind exactly? Just a black angus beef tenderloin from Mateker’s. Sweet baby, Jesus, do they have phenomenal steak!

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Black Angus, Baby!

As any good butcher shop should, the outstanding meat cutters at Mateker’s asked if I would like it trimmed. Always agree to this for a number of reasons. The meat cutters are much better at trimming a tenderloin than 99% of the people out there meaning there will be very little waste. You don’t want to pay filet mignon price for fat you are going to go home and trim off yourself. And it will save you time later:

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Oh Beefy Night!

I didn’t put any amounts in here except for the size of the beef tenderloin. And it’s really not about weight as it is about length. You want it shorter than your plank. Planks come in different sizes, so I would recommend getting the planks first.

To season, coat the top with coarse salt, pepper, granulated garlic and rosemary. Go heavy on the salt and pepper. With the garlic and rosemary, choose whatever fits your taste buds. I had a rosemary hater in the group that night, so I went fairly light:

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Seasonings Greetings

Drizzle with grape seed oil:

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Tis the Seasoning

Flip the meat over and repeat:

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The perfect recipe for the holiday seasonings

Don’t forget the ends. Make sure to season them as well.

Now prepare the grill. I sparked up my TRU Infrared gas grill. I set my dials to here, about medium high:

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The goal is to smoke the wood not ignite it

Now, place the soaked red oak plank on the hot grill grates for three minutes:

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Dry out the plank a bit

After 3 minutes, flip the plank over and place the beef tenderloin on the plank and close the lid:

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So why did I just soak the plank in water and then dry it out? If the plank is water logged, it won’t smoke. But it needs some water in there to keep from bursting into flames. Try to picture that red oak plank above on fire without cringing. I can’t knowing what that cut of meat cost!

After only a few minutes, my plank is blackening around the edges and I’m getting some smoke:

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Sweet, sweet smoke

If when you do this you can’t get the grill hot enough to smoke the plank or get it so hot that the plank keeps bursting into flames, you might want to check your burners or the fuel regulator or both. Don’t trash the grill and buy a new one. Replace the bad parts. The good people at can walk you through steps on how to figure out the problem and how to fix it. Replacing a few parts is cheaper and easier than replacing a whole grill.

At 30 minutes, smoke is rolling out of the side of my grill:

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And lots of it

At 45 minutes, the tenderloin itself is starting to blacken, but that’s OK:

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That charring is a good thing, so don’t sweat it

At 45 minutes, the internal temperature is still a little low at under 100:

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Not quite yet

I gave it the full hour at which point the internal temp rose to between 110 and 120. Then I took the tenderloin off the plank and seared the bottom only. The top and sides already had a nice browned crust and needed no searing, notice the red oak plank is in the background, charred pretty well around the outside:

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Tis the season to be searing, Falalalala-Lalalala

Same scenario as searing a steak, except only on one side. Get some grill marks (approximately 3-4 minutes) and then rotate 45 degrees and the bottom will look like this:

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Christmas Crosshatch

Then take the soon to be holiday beef tenderloin inside and let it rest for 20 minutes so the juices, in an excited state from the heat, can calm down and redistribute throughout the meat:

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Let it rest

20 minutes sounds like a long time, but don’t worry, it will still be plenty warm.

Slice and serve:

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Christmas is the season for green and RED

That slice was from dead center, so it is the reddest. The farther away from center, the more done the meat will be. So adjust accordingly per guest and what they prefer in terms of doneness.

By planking the beef tenderloin, I get the sultry smokiness I don’t normally get on a gas grill, plus the lovely char around the outside and a perfect red interior, getting more pink closer to the edges. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good bite!

If you have any questions about the holiday beef tenderloin, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Holiday Beef Tenderloin
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Holiday Meal
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
Holiday Beef Tenderloin, smoked on an oak plank in a gas grill before being seared to caramelized protein perfection! Perfect for Christmas or New Years Eve dinner.
  • 1 wooden smoking plank (preferably oak or pecan)
  • 4lb beef tenderloin, trimmed
  • Coarse salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • Granulated Garlic
  • Dried rosemary
  • Grape seed oil (substitute olive oil if necessary)
  1. Soak the plank in water for 30-60 minutes
  2. Season the beef tenderloin with salt,pepper, garlic and rosemary
  3. Drizzle with grape seed oil
  4. Set the grill to medium high heat
  5. Place the plank on the grill, wait three minutes and flip the plank over
  6. Place the tenderloin onto the plank, close the lid
  7. Smoke on the plank until the internal temperature of the holiday beef tenderloin reaches 110-120 degrees (about an hour)
  8. Remove from the plank and sear on the bottom, rotating 45 degrees after 3-4 minutes and leaving on for another 3-4 minutes to get cross hatch grill marks
  9. Remove from the grill and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes
  10. Slice and serve

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

@GrillinFool - #GrillPorn abounds here. All meat, all the time!
Briskets from @saltlickbbq here in Downtown St. Louis at @qintheloustl! So many of you say… - 13 hours ago
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Looks wonderful!! I’ll have to do that soon. Thanks for the details on how to do it. Scott, I sent you an email about 2 weeks ago. Did you receive it? I wonder if it went to your spam folder.



I did not get your email and checked my spam folder. Sorry…


There we go! You got it for sure now. Thanks for the reply. I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Excuse me while I clean up the drool from my desk… can’t wait to give it a go, looks AMAZING!


Oh my goodness, this … I would eat this right now. This morning. Before 9 am. This is one beautiful piece of meat. I’m so glad you came and joined our Holiday party with this gorgeous recipe!


Thanks for having me, Nicole! I need to do more of this stuff!

One old, wise man told me that “the seasoning of meat-smoking is the most important thing, the rest is history”


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