Beef tenderloin and asparagus with blue cheese crumbles

The title of this post should be Rye Whiskey, Peppercorn and Garlic, Reverse Seared Beef Tenderloin with Blue Cheese Crumbles, but that is a bit wordy so Whiskey Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin it is because the three main ingredients of this epic recipe are, in no particular order, whiskey, peppercorns and beef tenderloin:

So let’s get after it and show how to make this recipe.

Whiskey Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin Ingredients:

  • 1 chunk of beef tenderloin (approximately 2.5 lbs)
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup minced garlic
  • 4 ounces of rye whiskey
  • Blue cheese crumbles

Beef Tenderloin Prep:

Start by making sure there is no silver skin on the beef tenderloin and coating it liberally with the salt. Then roll it in the peppercorns:

Peppercorn beef tenderloin and Whistle Pig Rye
You could make your pepper corns go farther if you run them through a mortar and pestle and rough crunch them a bit

Place it inside a 2 gallon resealable bag and add the garlic in, working the garlic around to coat as much as possible. Then pour in the whiskey:

Beef tenderloin marinating in peppercorns, garlic and Whistle Pig Rye
Beef tenderloin marinating in peppercorns, garlic and WhistlePig Rye

I know some of you are wondering about this right now. There is no way you are going to pour a half a bottle of expensive rye over a beef tenderloin to completely submerge it in whiskey. I’m not advocating that. Four ounces is about all it takes. Along with a couple turns of the plastic bag in the fridge. I think I rolled the bag over, redistributing the whiskey all over the beef, three times before I went to bed and a couple more times in the morning. That was all it took to keep the whiskey in contact with the beef while in the bag. With the application of the salt first, this is almost a whiskey brine, so we don’t need a half gallon to impart a lot of flavor.

After spending the night in the fridge absorbing all the flavor from the whiskey, peppercorns and garlic, pull the bag and let the beef come up to room temp on the counter. It would take half a day or more for the entire beef tenderloin to hit 72 degrees on the counter. The goal here is to get the outside up to temp. That could take a good two hours. Plan accordingly. And when it is time to smoke it as part of the reverse sear, we take the temp up slowly and we should get a nice even pink or red.

Beef Tenderloin Grilling Instructions:

I set my Green Mountain Grills smoker to 200F and placed the beef tenderloin in the middle of the pellet cooker:

Whiskey, Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin on the grill
Whiskey, Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin on the grill

Some of you are wondering about the peppercorns. No, don’t eat them. So why haven’t I knocked them all off? Because cooking them will do it for me. The tenderloin starts off with all sorts of peppercorns, but after it smokes to about 110F, it gets seared off and pretty much al of them will fall off. I smoked this for about 2 hours at 200F and after it got to 110F, I pulled it from the cooker and tented it under some foil:

Beef tenderloin resting in a foil tent
Beef tenderloin resting in a foil tent

At this point I cranked the Green Mountain Grill to 550 and placed some grill grates inside:

My thermoworks IR thermometer is showing 550 at the grill grate
My thermoworks IR thermometer is showing 550 at the grill grate

Time to sear:

The beef tenderloin back on the cooker to sear
The beef tenderloin back on the pellet cooker to sear
Beef tenderloin with some grill marks
Beef tenderloin with some grill marks
Beef tenderloin ready to come off the grill
Beef tenderloin ready to come off the grill

Once the Whiskey Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin is seared all the way around, pull it from the grill:

Beef tenderloin and Whistle Pig rye
As you can see, the searing process took care of pretty much all the peppercorns. Knock off any stragglers and this beef is done except for the resting time

While the tenderloin is resting, I tossed some asparagus on the grill grates:

Grilled Asparagus

For the asparagus recipe, click here, because it is as easy as it is delicious.

Some will argue that the beef needs to rest more than it takes to cook the asparagus. Don’t sweat the rest. I’m not as adamant about resting as I used to be.

Time to slice:

Medium rare beef tenderloin
This beef tenderloin is now ready to be turned into portion sized medallions

Beef Tenderloin Plated with Asparagus and Blue Cheese Crumbles:

Whiskey, Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin topped with blue cheese and a side of grilled asparagus, accompanied by a glass of Whistle Pig 12 year
Yeah, I couldn’t wait to dive in either!

Whiskey Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin Summary:

But how was it? The whiskey adds a great earthiness, along with some outstanding nuanced flavors, to the beef and the pepper adds a bit of spice, but not hot spiciness. The earthiness and the subtle bite of the pepper merge very well with the garlic and the creamy savoriness of the blue cheese. This is a meal fit for a king or a queen, or with this much food, both and the rest of the court!

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

Also, you can follow us on our GrillinFools Facebook page and Instagram.

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Whiskey Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin

Beef tenderloin, brined in whiskey, peppercorns and garlic and then reverse seared and topped with blue cheese crumbles.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 40 mins
Total Time3 hrs 50 mins
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Steak
Servings: 6


  • 1 beef tenderloin approximately 2.5 lbs
  • salt
  • ½ cup peppercorns
  • ½ cup garlic minced
  • 4 oz WhistlePig Rye
  • blue cheese crumbles


  • Salt the tenderloin all the way around thoroughly
  • Coat the tenderloin with the peppercorns and place in a resealable plastic bag
  • Add the garlic and work it around the beef to get good coverage
  • Add the WhistlePig rye whiskey and place the sealed bag in the fridge overnight, rotating the bag a few times before bed and again a couple times in the morning
  • Prepare the smoker for 200 degrees internal temperature
  • Smoke the beef tenderloin until it reaches 110 degrees internal
  • Crank the cooker up past 500 degrees and sear the beef all the way around
  • Remove from the grill and let rest
  • After a few minutes of rest, slice into medallions, plate and top with blue cheese crumbles
  • Serve and enjoy


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

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5 stars
This recipe sounds great! I am going to adapt it for some beautiful Vension Back-straps this weekend. Thank you for sharing.


5 stars
This sounds amazing!! I have just recently been looking to learn more about paring bourbons etc to the different meats I cook and the various ways its prepared and cooked. Perfect timing as I just purchased a bottle of the 12 yr Whistle Pig. I love the flavor of it. Thank you for an awesome webpage!! I had tried the cheap stuff and ruined a lot of meat… lol


Do you have instructions for either BBQ or oven, we are not real find of smoker flavor.



Absolutely. Simply bake at 200F in the oven until it reaches 110 then sear on the stove to take it to rare. If you want to go medium rare, take it to 120 before searing it on the stove…


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