Editor’s note: Posse members not only love to eat barbecue but they also love to cook. Bryan Gooding, who recently retired and moved from Dallas to Lopez Island in Washington state, shares his secrets for smoking great tenderloin.
By Bryan Gooding
Though I love to barbecue meats you can’t treat a beef tenderloin like a brisket or pork butt. The smoking needs to be hot and fast since there isn’t enough fat on a tenderloin to survive a long time in low heat.
So I use my smoker with a lot of heat from a wood fire. In this case I used apple wood but you could get a nice spicy taste from mesquite or a soft buttery smoke from pecan.
Since this is fast you don’t need to worry about over-smoking the meat so you can avoid wrapping in paper.
|Making the rub, from start to|
finish. (Photos ©Bryan Gooding)
To make the rub, pulse chopped shallots and garlic in a small food processor to a smooth mince. Crush the coriander seeds and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle. Add the brown sugar, crushed coriander/black pepper mixture and salt to the food processor and blend together.
Slather a thick coat of the rub all over your tenderloin and let it marinate in the refrigerator uncovered for at least three hours but not more than five. Before cooking, set the tenderloin out and allow it to come to room temperature about an hour before cooking.
Have your smoker up to 400 degrees. Start the fire with charcoal (always use a chimney with newspaper because that charcoal lighter fluid crap is not good for you), add your wood and let the charcoal burn away so you have a nice hot wood fire.
Set the tenderloin on the grill as close to the firebox as possible without letting the flames lick the meat. Place the thick end of the meat towards the fire.
I set my meat thermometer, centered, in the thickest part of the tenderloin. I started out at about 45 degrees internal temperature on the meat. Close up the smoker and try to keep the temp at 400 degrees (adding wood as necessary).
I found that a fire that hot needs more air than the fire box vents allow so I cracked the door to give sufficient air.
I pulled the meat once the internal temp hit 130 degrees (this took about 40 minutes during this cook) and double wrapped it in foil and let it rest for about 20-30 minutes before slicing into thick pieces.
The beef tenderloin is a perfect meat for a group meal as you get the whole range from rare to done. Cut your more done meat from the small end and rarer cuts from the thick end. I find the combination of the smoke, shallots, and coriander spice gives you an unusual flavor pallet to what can be otherwise a fairly plain-jane cut of meat.
We serve ours with a sauce made with creamed horseradish combined with sour cream and a little salt.
2 Tbsp. coriander seeds
2 Tbsp. black peppercorns
3 large shallots, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
¾ cup Kosher salt
¼ cup brown sugar
1 beef tenderloin, trimmed (about 4 lbs)
Some charcoal for starting your wood fire (unless you have a better way)
Plenty of good smoking wood – pecan, cherry, oak, mesquite, apple or whatever is handy in your area
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup horseradish
salt to taste