Updated: Jan 6
During the holiday season, we find ourselves cooking more” special occasion” meals and because those are foods that we may not cook on a regular basis, getting them just right can cause some anxiety. Cooking premium cuts of beef such as a beef tenderloin can be especially nerve-wracking but following the method outlined in this post will I promise, ensure success.
Why is Beef Tenderloin Difficult to Cook in the Oven?
Well, the thing to keep in mind is that beef tenderloin is a very lean cut and if you use your oven in the traditional Bake or Roast mode then you will be cooking that lean cut of meat in drying heat. For that reason some recipes suggest wrapping the tenderloin in bacon to keep it from drying out during cooking.
When we use the traditional Bake and Roast modes in our oven the heat is directed at the food from the bottom and top heating elements. When we use a Convection mode heated air is circulated around the oven cooking the food from the edge to the center.
This heated moving air is key to retaining moisture in food especially lean tender cuts of meat.
What is the Best Method for Cooking Beef Tenderloin in the Oven?
If you like beef tenderloin that is uniformly pink yet nicely browned, fork-tender, and full of flavor then follow these easy steps for cooking the tenderloin at a low temperature with a high heat finish.
Seasoning is important. Because the beef will be cooked at a low temperature for approximately 50 minutes it will absorb a lot of flavor from fresh herbs such as thyme or rosemary and some slivered garlic. If you don’t have fresh herbs handy then some mixed Italian seasoning is a good option.
Cook the meat on a shallow-rimmed baking pan. It isn’t necessary to place a rack under the meat because during the low heat phase of cooking the pan won’t get so hot that it will leech moisture from the meat.
Allow the roast to come to room temperature prior to cooking. This is an important step because this ensures the meat will cook evenly.
Use a low temperature for the first phase of the cooking. I cook beef tenderloin at 200F (100C) and program the oven meat probe to reach an internal temperature of 125F (52C). A 3lb roast will take approximately 45 - 50 minutes to reach 125F. At this temperature the heated air gently penetrates the meat without causing moisture loss.
Take the roast out of the oven and set it aside to rest for 20 - 30 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 375 - 400F (190-205C) and cook for 10 minutes to brown the exterior.
When you remove the roast from the oven the internal temperature should read 135F (57C)
The meat will be very pink when you slice it but if it has reached 135 degrees it is perfectly cooked.
Now the meat can be carved into individual portions for serving.
Which Convection Mode Should I Use?
If your oven features a mode called Convection or True Convection that is the best mode to use for the low-temperature phase of the cooking. Otherwise, I recommend using the Convection Bake mode for more gentle heat.
How Can I Cook Side Dishes at the Same Time?
The best menu for a special occasion meal is one that allows the host time to spend with guests and of course in my way of thinking, cooking as many of the components of the meal in Convection is the solution.
Once the tenderloin comes out of the oven and is resting, you can increase the oven temperature and cook the side dishes at that time. Of course, if you have several ovens then you have more options but I always like to show what can be done with one oven using a Convection mode, it's all in the planning. If you follow this cooking plan then everything will be ready to serve at one time
I hope you will find this outline for cooking a beef tenderloin roast helpful and remember we have recipes for cooking all kinds of special occasion foods to help you achieve success with all your holiday cooking.
Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast