Once trimmed, and with the butt tenderloin (the lobe at the large end of the roast) still attached, the roast should weigh 4 1/2 to 5 pounds. If you purchase an already-trimmed tenderloin without the butt tenderloin attached, begin checking for doneness about 5 minutes early. If you prefer your tenderloin without a smoky flavor, you may opt not to use wood chips or chunks.


  • 1 beef tenderloin (about 6 pounds), trimmed of fat and silver skin, tail end tucked and tied at 2-inch intervals
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper


About 1 hour before grilling, set the tenderloin on a rimmed baking sheet and rub with the salt. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature. Cover two 2-inch wood chunks with cold water and soak 1 hour; drain.

About 15 minutes before grilling, open the bottom grill vents. Using a large chimney starter, ignite about 6 quarts (1 large chimney, or 2 1/2 pounds) charcoal briquettes and burn until covered with a layer of light gray ash, about

15 minutes. Empty the coals into the grill; build a modified two-level fire by arranging coals to cover one half of the grill, piling them about 3 briquettes high. Set the wood chunks on the coals. Position the grill grate over the coals, cover the grill and heat the grate until hot, about 10 minutes; scrape the grill grate clean with the grill brush.

Coat the tenderloin with oil and sprinkle all sides with the pepper. Grill the tenderloin on the hot side of the grill directly over the coals; cook until well browned, about 2 minutes, then rotate one quarter turn and repeat until all sides are well browned, total of 8 minutes. Move the tenderloin to the cooler side of the grill and cover, positioning the lid vents over the tenderloin. Cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin registers 120 degrees F for rare, 16 to 20 minutes, or

125 degrees F for medium-rare, 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer the tenderloin to a cutting board and tent loosely with foil; let rest 10 to 15 minutes. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve.

Recipe reprinted by permission of America's Test Kitchen. All rights reserved.

RecID 8532

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