Tenderloin, usually the most expensive cut of beef, is prized for its tenderness, but the meat itself lacks robust flavor and benefits from the heavy seasoning of a brine. Start with basic salt and seasonings, then try adding other aromatics like herbs, berries and chopped root veggies. Brining a whole tenderloin takes at least one full day, so plan ahead to achieve the juiciest tenderloin possible.
Things You'll Need
- Large pot
- Kosher salt
- Brown sugar
- Chopped root vegetables
- Large bowl or crock
- Sharp knife
- Kitchen twine (optional)
- Plastic wrap
- Meat thermometer
Bring about a quart of water to a boil. Add about a third of a cup of each of kosher salt and brown sugar. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar, and add chopped root vegetables like carrots and onions. Stir in seasonings such as whole peppercorns, peeled garlic cloves, bay leaves or juniper berries.
Boil the brine for a couple of minutes then remove it from the stove. Put about a quart of ice cubes in a large bowl or crock, and pour the brine over the ice. While the brine is cooling, prepare the tenderloin by removing silver skin and gristle. Silver skin is the tough cartilage under the fat. Slip a sharp knife under one end of a piece of silver skin, and slide the knife between the meat and the cartilage. Tie the meat with kitchen twine, if necessary, to help it retain its shape during cooking.
Place the tenderloin in the crock or bowl with the brine, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 24 hours. If the brine doesn’t cover the tenderloin, turn it after 12 hours to submerge the other side.
Remove the tenderloin from the brine when you’re ready to cook it and throw away the brine. Roast the tenderloin in the oven or cook it on the grill until the internal temperature, read at the thickest part of the meat, registers 140 degrees Fahrenheit.