Friday, December 16, 2016

Reverse Seared Beef Tenderloin with Cherry Bourbon Sauce

Certified Angus Beef is in da house!

I don't mean - "I went to the store, bought some C.A.B. and it's in the fridge."

Literally, Certified Angus Beef was at our home yesterday.

Chef Michael Ollier and Matt Shoup, from Certified Angus Beef Headquarters, were in Knoxville and visited our house to do a Facebook Live video about creating the perfect holiday roast.  I chose to use the beef tenderloin because it is the most tender and it is one of the faster cooking roasts.  We used the "reverse sear" technique but the tenderloin comes out great with just about any cooking method.

The recipe that we used - Beef Tenderloin with Cherry Bourbon Sauce - is special to me because this recipe is all about my family.

My sister lives in Florida and she's on our BBQ competition team.  So every time we compete in a KCBS BBQ contest or cook at a grilling/BBQ event - my parents have to watch her two dogs.  They would rather come see us of course, but they stay and watch the pups instead so we can have our fun.  

To thank my parents, we cancelled one of our events and did a family weekend with them in Florida.  This is one of the dishes that we created together.  We cooked the tenderloin on my sister's Big Green Egg and while that was going, my mom, my sister, and I came up with the cherry bourbon sauce.  We just stood around the pot, adding this - adjusting that, until it was "shut your mouth" good.  For me, that is one of the best parts about holidays - cooking with and for family and friends.

Here are the two videos from the Facebook Live event and then I'll have the recipe below these.

Reverse Seared Beef Tenderloin with Cherry Bourbon Sauce

  • 2 to 2.5 pound center cut, Certified Angus Beef tenderloin, tied
  • 1 tablespoon high temp cooking oil (canola, peanut, etc)
  • 1/4 cup beef rub (see Notes)
  • 1/2 cup beef stock for spritzing
For the Cherry Bourbon Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium sized shallot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ounce bourbon
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 tablespoon roasted garlic
  • 1/3 cup cherry preserves
  • 6-8 quality cherries (see Notes), finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons nectar from the jar of cherries
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch 
  • 1 tablespoon cold water.


  1. Set up your grill/cooker for indirect heat at 250°f.  You can use wood chunks if you like, but I prefer just using natural wood lump coal for a slight smokiness.
  2. Lightly coat the center-cut beef tenderloin with oil and liberally season the roast on all sides and ends.
  3. Place the roast on your grill and cook until it reaches an internal temperature 128°f for medium rare, between 1 hour and 1 hour 15 minutes.  If you are cooking to rare, I'd pull at 120°f.  For medium, I'd pull at 133-135°f.
  4. Meanwhile - make the cherry bourbon sauce.  Saute the diced shallot in butter in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Deglaze with the shot of bourbon, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up any bits stuck to the pan.  Add the broth, garlic, and simmer for 25 minutes. 
  5. Finish the sauce.  Add the preserves, chopped cherries, and cherry nectar.  Whisk together the starch and water to make a slurry.  Whisk in the slurry and simmer for 10 more minutes.  
  6. Once the roast hits the internal temperature you are after, let the roast rest until the carry over cooking stops and the internal temperature starts to drop.  This should take 10-15 minutes.  Meanwhile switch your grill to a direct heat set up (cooking directly over heat source) and get it as hot as you can.
  7. Sear the roast directly over your "rocket hot" coals (or heat source) one each side just long enough to crisp the crust and put color on your roast.  This should only be 45 seconds to a minute per side.  
  8. Let the roast rest for 5 minutes, then slice and serve with the cherry bourbon sauce drizzled on top.
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 20 mins.
Cook time: 01 hrs. 15 mins.
Total time: 1 hrs. 35 mins.


  • Beef Rub - Use a rub with low or no sugar content.  This can be as simple as Dalmation rub - equal parts coarse ground black pepper and kosher salt.  The rub we used is listed below.  It makes more than you need but we use it on brisket, steaks, and roasts so I like to make big quantities.
  • Cherries - You want really good cherries for this.  Our friend, Tom Linke, turned us on to Luxardo Cherries and that is what we use in ours.  They are ridiculously expensive but they are also amazing - like eating candy.  I've seen them in some grocery stores, I know Williams Sonoma carries them, and of course, there's always Amazon (affiliate link).

Certified Angus Beef fire roasted beef tenderloin
I got my deck set up with different styles of grills/cookers so we could show how you would roast a beef tenderloin on 7 different common types of grills.

Certified Angus Beef whole tenderloins from Food City
This is a 90 minute cook that we were demonstrating in a brief live video, so we had to have multiple roasts ready at different stages of the process.  Justin at the Morell Road Food City made sure he had enough roasts in for us.

Certified Angus Beef tenderloins processed broken down
I broke two of the tenderloins down into center-cut roasts, petite filet, kebab chunks, and the "chains".  

Nibble Me This Beef Rub Recipe
Christopher Prieto is the operator of Prime BBQ and the main contributor to Southern Living's Ultimate Book of BBQ. I highly recommend his book - it's got solid recipes.

Certified Angus Beef's roast perfect beef tenderloin free app
Here's the prepped roast that we originally did in Florida, ready to go onto the grill. 

Certified Angus Beef tenderloin roast on the grill.  Thermoworks ChefAlarm tracking the temps.
Remote probe thermometers have a wired probe that stays in the meat while it cooks and reads out to a "remote" unit so you can see the temp of your meat as it cooks.  You really need one for this process so you take your roast off at the exact temperature. You can buy remote probe thermometers at any grilling store, big box home improvement stores, and even a lot of grocery stores these days.  

Thermoworks ChefAlarm Remote Probe Thermometer has max temp data logging, great for reverse sear tracking
Another tip, always rest your steaks and roasts on a raised rack like this so it cools evenly instead of trapping heat between the meat and flat surface.  It's also important to wait to sear the roast until the internal temperature has started to fall.  This particular remote probe unit tracks the max and min temps, so it makes it easier to know when the temps have started to fall.  If buying one, look for one that features max and min temps if possible.

Certified Angus Beef is the #bestbeef for a #roastperfect meal.
Because you rested the roast and let the cooking energy dissipate, the cooking temp won't rise up during the sear portion of the reverse sear technique.  

Roasted, seared, and ready to eat.

So I think that I learned something during this Facebook Live video yesterday.  I have always been of the opinion that you don't HAVE to rest the roast a SECOND time after the sear, because the meat has already rested.  We were short on time and I had to slice as soon as the roast came off the grill.  If you watch the video, when we slice the meat looked to be medium or even medium well - no pink at all other than the smoke ring.  Chef and I were both a little shocked.  Within 5 minutes, a little myoglobin started to pool on the cutting board and the red showed up in the meat.  The only thing different about this cook was slicing immediately after the sear instead of waiting a few minutes.  Well that and it was like 20°f outside.  So I'll always do a rest after the sear.  I usually do anyway, just because I'm getting things situated but now I'll make it a apart of the process. 

Certified Angus Beef whole tenderloin
This was the roast that we seared in the video, just about 5 minutes after the video.  If you saw the video and how it looks here, you can see how much it changed.  

This is the roast that we started during the video and finished after the video ended.  Both roasts were pulled at an internal temperature of 128°f.  The only difference was the first one did not rest after the sear and this roast had about a 10 minute rest.  Lesson learned - you do need a second rest period when using the reverse sear technique, after all! 

Certified Angus Beef #roastperfect tenderloin roast
Here is the original roast that we made with my mom and sister back when we first created this recipe.  

I hope you enjoyed our video.  Thanks to Chef Michael and Matt for visiting - we enjoyed sharing the day and our home with you guys!  Also, special thanks to Justin at Food City for getting the extra tenderloins in on short notice.  That's a benefit of shopping at a store with real butchers instead of just meat stockers. 

If you could use a "personal life coach" to help you with your holiday roast, Certified Angus Beef has got you covered - they are offering their Roast Perfect app for free right now during the holidays.  The app works with Apple and Android smart phones and will tell you everything you need to know about creating that perfect beef roast for the holidays.

FTC Standard Disclaimer: Certified Angus Beef is one of our sponsors for the coming year; however, a quick scroll through my blog will show I have used their beef for years.  I have no affiliation with Food City or Luxardo cherries.