I have been a bit timid to try smoking a beef tenderloin since cutting them into filets and cooking them individually has worked so well in the past! But I braved it and the results were great and I learned some valuable lessons! Here is a summary for those short on time!
Prepping the Bacon Weave
In order to have a solid bacon weave ready to go, let’s make it first and stick it in the fridge to get nice and firm. Head over to our Bacon Weave Tutorial to check out our bacon weave-making technique.
Prepping the Meat
If you are rich enough to buy a “peeled” or “trimmed” tenderloin then please jump down to where we wrap the meat in bacon. If not, then the first thing we will do to the tenderloin is trim it ourselves.
Remove the meat from the cryovac and wipe the extra blood off with a paper towel.
Then make it look like a tenderloin!
Remove the “chain” and the silver skin and any unwanted fat. I like mine lean but some people leave a bit of fat on to give some flavor to a very lean piece of meat. If yours tapers too much on either end, then cut those ends off to make a nice log. Remember we are going to wrap this in bacon!!!
Add some salt and pepper for seasoning. You can add a steak spice too if you want. I chose to put some rub on the inside of my bacon weave, but probably won’t next time.
Now that we have our meat all trimmed and ready for cooking, very carefully roll the bacon around your meat log. It should overlap just a little. You’ll put the overlapped part on the grill so the weight will hold it together. You can use toothpicks to hold it together, but I would avoid this, if possible.
Prepping the Egg
At some point (either before you start trimming and seasoning or 30 mins before you are ready to start your cook), get your Big Green Egg stabilized at 230ish degrees (somewhere between 225 and 250 will work). Put some delicious wood in there to add a little smoke. This won’t take long so a couple of chunks or a handful of chips in a smoke box will do nicely. I chose to use hickory chips.
Once everything is prepped (Egg and Meat), get your heat measuring device of choice out and use it! REMEMBER: ALWAYS cook to temperature, not time or look or any other meaty metric that you can think of.
We are looking for medium-rare. This IS a tenderloin after all! So we’ll want to pull our meat when it hits 130-135 degrees. I pull earlier rather than later in that range because I like my steak very close to rare. If you prefer a medium steak or medium-well, then add 10 degree for each level away from rare that you want to go. So medium would be 140-145 degrees.
NOTE: If you use our handy-dandy Safe Minimum Temperatures cheat sheet when you cook (which I highly suggest you do) then you may wonder why we are “allowed” to pull tenderloin at 130 degrees and not wait until 145 degrees. The answer is: 145 is a safe temperature for processed beef, like hamburger. A solid piece of unprocessed beef goodness has a lower safe temp because there is far less chance of bacterial contamination.
Once you take your feast off the grill, let it rest for a good 10 mins or so. Since we didn’t cook at a very high temp, the bacon won’t be crispy, but rest assured that bacony flavor will have seeped into the beef just enough… So remove the bacon, it has served its purpose and is dead to us now.
Cut the tenderloin into approximately 2″ slices (solid 8oz – 10oz filets, depending on your tenderloin) and serve with your favorite sides. Enjoy!
This tenderloin was by far the most tender piece of meat I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing! The flavor was good (I will most likely try a less complex run next time to let the natural flavor of the beef shine through) and everyone that tried it sang it’s and my praises! I’m very happy with how it turned out. I did have a timing issue. I thought my 3ish pounds of beef would take about 2.5 hours to get to temp (130 degrees for med-rare) but it was there in right at an hour!!! So into some foil it went and into the cooler packed with towels until our sides were done! They didn’t overcook and came out hot and ready to serve! Crisis averted!
For those that just want to get to it, here is a quick rundown/review of what we did:
- Make the magical Bacon Weave.
- Optional: Sprinkle your favorite steak spice over the bacon.
- Trim the tenderloin, if necessary
- Wrap the weave around the tenderloin.
- Optional: Let it sit in the fridge overnight.
- Stabilize your Big Green Egg with the placesetter in “legs up” to 250 degrees.
- Add the wood chips of your choice. I used Hickory.
- Cook until the internal temp hits 130 degrees (Medium Rare)
- Pull it off the grill and let it rest for 10-15 mins.
- Remove the bacon (it won’t be crispy enough to eat… But that’s not the point!)
- Cut into 2″ sections for 6 oz – 8 oz filets.
- Serve your masterpiece and remember to video tape all the compliments you will receive so you can watch them over and over!
What’s your favorite steak spice? Let us know which one you love and how your tenderloin turns out in the comments.