What is a beef tenderloin tail?
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.
Save some cheddar on grilled beef tenderloin tails
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:
Grilled Beef Tenderloin Tails Ingredients:
- 2 beef tenderloin tails approximately 1.5-2 lbs
- Olive oil
- Your favorite steak rub
- Salt (optional, depending on how much salt is in the steak rub)
Beef Tenderloin Tail Preparation
The beef tenderloin tails are brought up to room temperature and tied together thin end to thick end to prepare them for the grill:
A liberal dusting of the rub is applied to the beef tenderloin:
Don’t forget the ends!
Lubed with olive oil and ready for the grill.
How do you cook tenderloin tails?
The grill is set up for indirect cooking with coals on the left and the beef on the right and a grill temp between 275-300.
We will be reverse searing these steaks
That means we will be smoking the meat, bringing the temperature up slowly which allows for much more even cooking than subjecting the meat to intense heat immediately. Once we infuse the meat with that sultry smoke, we crank up the temp and give it a good sear.
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:
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 120F-125F 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:
The beef tenderloin tails are looking good after 40 minutes. The rub has melded into the roasted meat:
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:
The grilled beef is pulled to the cutting board then foiled to rest for 10 minutes.
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.
First slice! What? Is that a hint of pink?
Wouldja’ look at that! I think that I nailed a perfect medium-rare!
Red meat, red wine! I have my meal.
I’m not sure what Mimi is having. Perhaps it is time for this tale of two tails to end.
How do you grill filet mignon tails?
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email.
If you want any other steak recipes, click here.
Grilled Beef Tenderloin Tails
- 2 beef tenderloin tails approximately 1.5-2 lbs.
- olive oil
- your favorite beef or steak rub
- Tie the beef tenderloin tails together, fat end to skinny and vice versa
- Coat with the rub and a dose of the olive oil
- Prepare the grill for two zone/indirect grilling with coals and smoke wood on one side and nothing on the other
- Target temperature inside the grill is 300 degrees
- Place the lashed together tenderloin tails over the side with no heat and close the lid
- 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
- Remove the grilled tenderloin tails from the grill and let rest for five minutes before slicing and serving
Here’s a collage of the process: