Nothing Tops Ladd's Grilled Tenderloin Recipe (2024)

My beloved’s grilled beef tenderloins are legendary, and he fixes them two or three times a year, whenever we have a gathering of friends or a special family occasion. We served grilled tenderloin as part of our Fourth of July celebration on Saturday (along with regular steaks and hot dogs!), and wound up with some unused tenderloins that his dad had thawed out for us before the party. This was a lot of expensive beef, and since we couldn’t re-freeze it, Marlboro Man decided to grill them up on Sunday and distribute them to his dad, Tim, our family friend Dave…and, well, ourselves! We ate it for dinner Sunday night, then wrapped it in foil to slice and eat all throughout the week. (Cold sliced tenderloin out of the fridge is one of the things they serve in Heaven.)

I’ve referenced my husband’s grilled tenderloins for years, both here and on my Food Network show, but I’ve never had a chance to take photos of the process…until now!

Here’s how he makes them. They’re definitely not a regular weeknight item because of the high price tag of tenderloin, but if you’ve got a special occasion in your family, this is a serious, serious treat. And keep in mind that depending on the thickness of your slices, a whole tenderloin can feed quite a few people!

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Unwrap the tenderloin (these were whole tenderloins, not the “butt” pieces commonly sold) then slightly pull the sides away from the middle cylinder. (Don’t separate them; just pull them apart.)

Side note: These hands have cradled my babies, delivered calves, wrestled steers to the ground, built fence, thrown footballs, repaired equipment, and held me.

I love these hands.

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What you want to do is expose all that tough silvery membrane you see on the surface of the center cylinder. It’s bad. Really, really bad!

Oh, it’s not poisonous. Just tough, annoying, and…tough. And annoying.

But mostly tough.

But equally annoying.

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Pinch the end of the membrane…

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And carefully work your knife underneath.

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Once the knife loosens enough of the membrane, cut the end loose and pull it up as you use the knife to shave the membrane away from the meat. Your goal is to get rid of as much membrane and as little meat as possible!

Keep going until you get all the way down to the end…

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Then put it in a pile to discard or, hypothetically speaking, of course, feed it to your dogs thereby sealing your canine friendships for life.

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When Marlboro Man grills tenderloin, he never puts them straight on the grill. The outside would get burned/charred before the meat would have a chance to cook. It’s different than a steak, which is relatively thin and cooks within several minutes. A tenderloin on a nice, hot grill will take about 20 to 30 minutes to cook to medium rare; if it were placed right on the grate of the grill, it wouldn’t have time to cook before the skin turned black.

So he lays them inside these heavy duty foil pans instead. They provide the protection the tenderloins need.

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Oh. And one other thing.

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He douses them with butter. (There are two tenderloins in the pan, and about 3 sticks of melted butter in there. Yes, I said three sticks of butter. Yes, I said three sticks of butter. Yes. I said three sticks. Of butter.)

(But you can just use two sticks if you’re trying to make healthy choices.

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Now, when Marlboro Man grills tenderloins, he doesn’t use a gourmet blend of herbs and spices.

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He uses McCormick Lemon & Pepper seasoning and Lowry’s seasoned salt.


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Then they go right on the grill!

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A little while later, the butter starts to bubble.

And that, my friends, is a beautiful sight.

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About 10 minutes in, he turns them over with really long tongs.

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Then he seasons them again!

A note about seasoning tenderloin: Because the tenderloin will eventually be sliced, each slice will wind up having a relatively small surface area of seasoning. This differs from a steak, where you grill both sides and slice individual bites. IF you overseason a steak, well…you’ll overseason a steak and it will be too much. But it’s difficult to overseason tenderloin because each slice doesn’t wind up with much surface area.

It’s early. I hope this makes sense.

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After that, he just let them cook, turning them probably another two times to let them cook and brown evenly.

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The wind picked up and the grill got a little hot, and the butter almost cooked away, so Marlboro Man did what any self-respecting griller would do. He threw in another stick o’ butter.

(Don’t be alarmed!)

**A note about the butter: You definitely want plenty in there so the tenderloin is almost bathing in butter. But please use caution when it comes to moving the pan(s) off the grill. Don’t fill the pans so full that you risk sloshing the butter and burning yourself, and be sure to wear heavy gloves when you’re moving the pans. Melted butter is very, very hot!

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Now, I should have had a timer and timed precisely how long it took for the tenderloins to be done from the time they went on the grill to the time they left the grill…but it’s impossible to give precise directions because of the variation in grill styles, grill heat, etc. But I would say it was in the range of 25 to 35 minutes.

If you want to be sure (and it’s good to be sure since tenderloin is so pricey and once it’s overdone you can’t undo it), use a heavy duty meat thermometer. They’re sold in supermarkets and take away the guess work. Just insert it sideways into the thickest part of the tenderloin and stop grilling it when it reaches about 125 to 130 degrees for medium-rare to rare.

Keep in mind two things:

1. The temperature of the meat will continue to rise slightly after it’s removed from the grill.


2. The thinner end pieces of the tenderloin will be more cooked than the thick center. So if you have guests with varying preferences, you can serve the center slices to those who like it rare, then go out from there.

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Speaking of slices…watch my man slice the tenderloin.

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It’s a glorious thing to behold.

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That right there is beautiful medium-rare doneness.

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And here’s a thicker piece. Still nice and medium rare, a little more toward rare in the center of the slice.

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Grilled tenderloin. It’s a treat beyond all treats. Try it the next time you have a special occasion in your household!

Just don’t overcook them and don’t burn yourself and all will be well in the world.

Nothing Tops Ladd's Grilled Tenderloin Recipe (2024)


Should I sear beef tenderloin before grilling? ›

On larger cuts of meat it is better to sear at the end rather than the beginning. If you sear first, the muscle fibers will contract and push moisture out making your cut of beef dry and tough. The reverse sear is done for about 3-4 minutes per side during the last 8-10 minutes of the cook.

Which cooking method is best for beef tenderloin? ›

The food web and a great many cookbooks (very many of them highly reputable) recommend blasting a tenderloin in a hot oven, 450–500°F (232–260°C), for a relatively short time to cook it, followed by a counter rest.

How do you grill a tenderloin steak on a gas grill? ›

Light a charcoal fire in one half of a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to high for 10 minutes and lightly oil the grate. Place tenderloin on the hot grill and close the lid. Grill until well-seared, about 5 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side.

How long to cook beef tenderloin on grill per pound? ›

Plan on about 15 to 20 minutes per pound of meat with a low temperature and an additional 15 minutes of resting time. Remove the tenderloin when it has reached an internal temperature of 125 degrees F. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.

What temperature do you grill beef tenderloin? ›

Maintain a grill temperature (on the cool side) of around 325 - 350. A 6 pound beef tenderloin should take a little over an hour to reach our magic temperature of 130 degrees. Don't go by time though, cook to temperature. Once the tenderloin hits 130 degrees, remove from the grill and place on a platter.

Do you season beef before searing? ›

Season with salt and pepper: Just before cooking, sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper. Wait to do this until you're ready to actually put the meat in the pan, otherwise the salt draws moisture out of the meat and you'll need to pat it dry again.

Is it better to cook beef tenderloin fast or slow? ›

Slow-roasting in a low oven cooks the tenderloin evenly from edge to center. Basting the tenderloin with browned butter flavored with thyme and shallots enhances browning and gives it more flavor.

Should you salt beef tenderloin before cooking? ›

Generously season roast with kosher salt. Keep uncovered in refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or up to overnight. About 1 to 1½ hours before planning to cook, remove roast from oven and allow to come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Is it better to cook beef tenderloin at high or low temperature? ›

Low-heat roasting— 225°F to 300°F, or 200°F to 275°F in a convection oven—will produce a roast with rosy interior that's evenly cooked all the way through, but you won't get much in the way of a well-seared crust.

Is grilled tenderloin the same as filet mignon? ›

It's common to wonder, “Is beef tenderloin the same as filet mignon?” The answer is no, they are two different cuts of beef. However, filet mignon comes from the beef tenderloin, cut from the very end and most tender area of the tenderloin.

Is tenderloin the same as filet mignon? ›

Filet Mignon is part of the Tenderloin, which is why some see Tenderloin and Filet Mignon as one in the same. Filet Mignon is cut from the tip of the Tenderloin, a delicate and tender area of the loin primal.

How long to grill 1-inch thick beef tenderloin? ›

How to Cook Filet Mignon on a Grill
  1. For a 1-inch cut, grill 10 to 12 minutes for medium-rare (145°F) or 12 to 15 minutes for medium (160°F).
  2. For a 1½-inch cut, grill 15 to 19 minutes for medium-rare (145°F) or 18 to 23 minutes for medium (160°F).
  3. Transfer the meat to a platter.
Feb 7, 2024

How long do you cook a 2 inch tenderloin on the grill? ›

Filet Mignon Cook Time on the Grill

If your certified Angus beef filets are closer to an inch or 1 ½ inches thick, they probably won't need any more than 4 to 5 mins. of grilling on each side. But, thicker cuts of two inches or more will require a grill time of about 6 mins. on each side.

What is the cooking TIme chart for beef tenderloin? ›

Oven Roasting Guidelines
beef cutTenderloin Roast (well-trimmed)
oven temperature (preheated)425°F
weight (pounds)2 to 3 (center-cut) 4 to 5 (whole)
Approximate Total Cooking TImeMedium Rare: 35 to 45 minutes Medium: 45 to 50 minutes Medium Rare: 45 to 55 minutes Medium: 55 to 65 minutes
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How to cook beef tenderloin filet mignon on the grill? ›

Place the steaks on the grill and close the lid. Cook for about 5 minutes. If you want nice diamond grill marks, rotate the steak about 90° after about 3 minutes. Then flip the steak on other side and cook for another 5 minutes or so, or until desired doneness.

Should you sear a beef tenderloin? ›

Well, traditional recipes for tenderloin (and most steaks and roasts) call for first searing the meat at a high temperature, then finishing it off at a relatively low temperature.

Should you sear or grill first? ›

Steaks, burgers, and chops that are 1 inch or more in thickness are best cooked using a two-stage cooking method. Sear first over direct heat, then finish over indirect heat. Be sure to deduct the searing time from the total estimated cooking time to determine the finishing time.

Is it better to sear before or after roasting? ›

It's not really necessary to sear your roast before cooking, but caramelizing the surface gives the cut an incredible depth of flavor, enhanced with the complex layers of nutty caramel and coffee-like bitterness that meat-lovers find delicious.

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