There are some cuts of meat where consensus is there’s only one way to cook it. Take beef tenderloin. It’s big and it’s expensive, so many home cooks probably only make one once a year, dutifully slow roasting it as every recipe says you should, and paying attention not to overcook it, undercook it, or under season it. But you don’t have to only cook beef tenderloin one way. You can bust out and do other things. And you can make it frequently, especially as you can buy medallions instead of a whole tenderloin. That way you can experiment with this tender and lean cut whenever and however you want.

Here’s the thing: tenderloin isn’t the most flavorful piece of beef. There’s a reason slow roasting is typically the way to go. So the most common approach to mixing things up is to add flavor. And this generally means adding fat; fat is flavor. But it can also mean adding booze. Here are five recipes that will make you rethink beef tenderloin.


Beef Tenderloin with Tomatoes, Shallots and Maytag Blue via Food & Wine

Garlicky Tenderloin with Orange Horseradish Sauce via The New York Times

Porcini and Rosemary Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Port Wine Sauce via Food52

Beef Medallions with Cognac Sauce via Epicurious

Filet of Beef with Gorgonzola Sauce via Barefoot Contessa

Beef Tenderloin with Smoked Paprika Mayonnaise via Epicurious

Tenderloin with Black Truffle Sauce via Food52

The author of the black truffle recipe begins with this note, “This recipe is more about the sauce than the steak.” That’s a good sign.

If you’re really looking to bust out of a tenderloin rut, try slicing up some medallions for the tender-est stir-fry imaginable. On a four legged animal, the front and back legs do most of the work, the belly and the back are less used. The most underused muscle is the tenderloin. It’s certainly not a typical use of tenderloin, but why not?