Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Port, Garlic, and Thyme! Fool-proof recipe – I'll never feel anxious cooking beef tenderloin again. Serve for Christmas dinner or a special holiday meal.
This post is brought to you in partnership with Joule: Sous Vide by ChefSteps.
I have always considered beef tenderloin a “high stress” meal and given it a wide berth. This is an expensive cut of meat—it’s not one that you want to mess up by trusting an untrustworthy recipe or forgetting to set a timer.
Add to this, roast beef tenderloin most often appears on menus around the holidays. I’ve never quite been able to overcome the terrifying possibility of ruining both a wage-devouring cut of meat and Christmas dinner.
But then I started doing more sous vide cooking, and with it came a confidence in cooking things that previously intimidated me. Like fish. And pork chops that actually taste like something.
Maybe, just maybe, it could do the same for beef tenderloin. Spoiler alert: Of course it could.
NEW TO SOUS VIDE COOKING? START HERE
- Everything You’ve Been Wondering About Sous Vide Cooking at Home
- How to Use Your New Sous Vide Immersion Circulator
- How to Seal Foods Without Using a Vacuum Sealer
- Sous Vide and Food Safety: What to Know
New to sous vide? Take a look at this post to see what the fuss is about!
Let’s talk about beef tenderloin for a second. This cut comes from the center of the loin, where the muscle is very tender and lean (not a lot of fat). Typically, this cut is sliced into the individual steaks we know and love called filet mignon.
It’s a small cut, usually weighing less than 8 pounds total. When you compare that to the size of a fully-grown steer and how much meat that steer can provide, you begin to understand why the tenderloin is such an expensive, coveted cut of meat.
The fact that it’s tender actually makes it really easy to cook—but also very easy to overcook. Tenderloin can easily go from melt-in-your-mouth to tough and chewy if you take your eye off it for a second.
This is where sous vide comes into play. Sous vide is a very gentle and slow kind of cooking. The beef is coddled in the sous vide water bath, cooking gradually in its own juices over the course of a few hours. The sous vide immersion circulator (I use a Joule) also keeps the temperature tightly controlled, so the tenderloin never has a chance to overcook.
Basically, it takes out the guesswork and the potential for human error, giving us a 100% stress-free meal.
To make this beef tenderloin even more special, I give it a double-sear: once before it goes into the sous vide bath and again after it comes up. The first time builds flavor in the dish; the second time gives the cooked roast a nice outer crust.
Use some port wine (I like tawny port) to deglaze the pan, then pour it over the beef. While it cooks, the beef picks up the rich flavor of the port—so good. And, of course, cooking juices become a delicious sauce that you can serve alongside the roast.
Slice it thinly like roast beef or thick like filet mignon—either way is a winner. While the tenderloin was cooking sous vide, I spent the time roasting a few sheet pans of winter vegetables and making a of polenta to serve alongside.
Curious to give sous vide cooking a try? Check out the Joule immersion circulator from ChefSteps. (I love mine!)
Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Port Wine and Garlic Recipe
One and half pounds of beef will comfortably feed four people; two pounds will feed six. You can stretch it to feed a few more people if you are serving the tenderloin with several other dishes on the table.
When buying your tenderloin roast, make sure the butcher removes the silver skin. Also ask them to truss the roast with twine. You can do both of these steps yourself, but it's one less thing for you to worry about back home!
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds center-cut beef tenderloin (See Recipe Note)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup tawny port wine
- 4 to 5 medium cloves garlic
- 5 to 6 sprigs fresh thyme, plus extra to serve
- 10-inch stainless steel or cast iron skillet
- Joule, or other sous vide immersion circulator
- 1-gallon zip-top freezer bag
1 Sear the beef tenderloin: Sprinkle the tenderloin with salt and a generous amount of pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot enough, a drop of water should sizzle and quickly evaporate on contact.
Sear the tenderloin in the pan until it's dark brown all over, 1 to 2 minutes on each side and both ends. Transfer to a plate or cutting board and allow to cool slightly.
2 Make the port-garlic sauce: While the pan is still hot, add the butter and garlic. Cook until the garlic is golden and fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds.
Add the port wine and use a stiff spatula to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Let the wine come to a simmer, then remove from heat.
3 Seal the tenderloin in a zip-top freezer bag: Make sure the tenderloin and sauce are no longer steaming. It's fine if they are still quite warm, but they can melt through the bag if they're still steaming hot.
Place a gallon-sized zip-top freezer bag on your counter and flip the zip-top edge outward, forming a cuff around the bag. This helps the bag stay open and upright as you fill it.
Transfer the tenderloin to the bag and pour the sauce over top. Lay 5 or 6 sprigs of thyme over the top of the tenderloin.
Fill a stock pot with 5 or 6 inches of water. Slowly submerge the tenderloin in the water, using your hands to help push out all the air from the bag as you go. When you reach the top of the bag, zip it closed.
Lift the tenderloin out of the water and place it on a towel while you heat the water for the sous vide.
- Read more about this method here.
4 Heat the water for sous vide cooking: Place your Joule or other sous vide immersion circulator in the stockpot of water. Set the sous vide immersion circulator to heat the water to 133°F for rare beef, 140F for medium-rare (my preference), 149°F for medium-well, or 167°F for well-done.
5 Cook the tenderloin sous vide for 2 1/2 to 3 hours: When the water has heated to its required temperature, lower the tenderloin into the water so that it is entirely submerged. It's ok if the top of the bag pokes out of the water as long as the tenderloin itself is submerged.
Cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, but avoid cooking for much longer or the beef will start to get a little soft and mushy.
6 Sear the tenderloin a second time: When the tenderloin is done, lift it from the water and place the bag on a kitchen towel. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles and evaporates on contact.
Use tongs to lift the roast from the bag and transfer it to the skillet. Be careful—it will sputter! Sear for 30 to 60 seconds on all sides, until the outside is even more deeply browned and a crust has formed.
Transfer the tenderloin to a cutting board and rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
7 Deglaze the pan: With the pan still over medium-high heat, pour in the sauce directly from the bag into the pan (discard the sprigs of thyme). Simmer for about a minute and scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Carefully transfer the sauce to a serving cup.
8 Slice and serve the tenderloin: Cut through the twine and discard. Slice the tenderloin either into thick "filet mignon" steaks (one steak per person), or into thinner "roast beef" slices (3 or 4 slices per person). Serve immediately with the sauce.
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Sous Vide Cooking at Home
Look, I’m not Andrew Zimmern, but I do work for him (both a blessing and a curse). I love to cook, but I didn’t go to culinary school. Two years ago, I turned a hobby into a salaried job when I started testing Andrew’s recipes for Food & Wine magazine and andrewzimmern.com, and now I’m bringing my own kitchen experiments to life in a brand new series. First up: sous vide cooking at home.
Part One: Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin
When the folks at Sansaire sent a care package to the office that included a new sous vide machine, what else was there to do but take it home and try er’ out? I’ll admit, I’m a little skeptical of the process. It seems more like a science experiment than a method for the home cook after all I’m drawn to a more humble, old world approach to food. (Not too mention that not-correctly-cooked sous vide chicken I ate at a restaurant last month, with its pink hue and rubbery texture, left a sour taste in my mouth.) But, every doubt I had disappeared when the sous vide beef I made turned out to be the best piece of meat that’s ever come out of my kitchen.
It helps to have friends in the rolodex who know a thing or two about cooking sous vide. I called Gavin Kaysen, from Minneapolis’ Spoon and Stable, and quizzed him about sous vide tenderloin. Here’s what he had to say:
- Set the sous vide machine in a large stockpot, fill with water and turn to 59 degrees celsius.
- Place two 5 oz portions of tenderloin, seasoned with salt and pepper, in a Ziploc bag. Remove the air by holding the top of the bag open and lowering the bag into the water bath. When just the top of the bag is above the water, zip it closed and drop it into the water.
- Cook for 40 minutes.
- Remove the bag from the water bath, and let it rest for 12 minutes.
- Take the steak out of the bag, and sear in a hot pan, basting with butter, thyme and garlic.
Seems easy enough, right? Well, as it turns out, it was just that simple. Think it’s not possible to accomplish in your home kitchen? Think again. It not only resulted in one of the most tender, perfectly-cooked pieces of meat I’ve ever made, it also took the stress out of over- or under-cooking the most expensive cut of beef you can buy. I can’t speak for other ingredients or proteins, but for beef tenderloin, I’d say the sous vide method is a winner. Stay tuned for more experiments to come.
The Sansaire sous vide machine. Why use this method? First, it allows for precise and even temperature control, so you don’t overcook your food. Second, results are easily repeated. And finally, cooking in a plastic bag creates a more humid cooking environment, typically resulting in moist, juicy food.
The sous vide machine plugged in and clipped to the side of my stock pot, with the beef tenderloin sealed in a Ziploc bag.
40 minutes later, the meat rests for 12 minutes. Maybe not the most appealing to look at, but be patient, it gets better.
Here’s a look at the cross section of the tenderloin… evenly cooked from edge-to-edge.
You can sear the tenderloin in a hot cast iron pan with butter and herbs, but this is where I strayed from Kaysen’s recipe because I wanted to take my new Searzall for a test run. The brainchild of the Booker & Dax food lab, the Searzall attachment for a blowtorch produces a consistent, evenly-spread flame that creates a professional-quality crust on meat. It’s an amazing tool for searing, melting cheese and making s’mores indoors. Plus, I love using a blowtorch in the kitchen.
The final product. Honestly the best piece of beef I’ve ever cooked. Would I prepare beef tenderloin this way again? Absolutely.
What is beef tenderloin?
Beef tenderloin is located in the middle of the back of the steer, tucked between the sirloin and the ribs of the animal. Filet mignon is a favorite cut of beef and it is cut from the tenderloin. This is the most tender area of beef, due to the lack of movement and exercise this muscle gets.
Tenderloin will have a mild flavor, minimal marbling and can be cut into smaller portions to make a Chateaubriand or cut into individual filet steaks. Leave it whole for an impressive presentation to family and friends.
Foolproof Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin Recipe to Try
Cooking food can be tricky unless you know the right directions and follow them correctly. If you have sous vide cooker and want to make some beef tenderloin, then this sous vide beef tenderloin recipe is for you.
A steak as elegant as tenderloin needs special care while cooking because you don’t want to ruin it. This dish can bring joy to your holiday table. We are pretty sure that all of your family would love it. Having sous vide opens up the gate to a lot of sous vide recipes .
Cooking Time: 3 hours
- 2 pounds of center-cut beef tenderloin steak.
- 1 tsp salt.
- 1tsp fresh black pepper.
- 2 tbsp butter.
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil.
- 5 medium garlic cloves.
- 4 to 5 sprigs of fresh thyme.
- 1/2 cup tawny port wine
- Cast iron skillet (10 inches)
- Sous vide immersion circulator.
- Sous vide zip lock bag
- Add salt and pepper to your tenderloin and sear it in a sizzling hot pan with 1 tbsp oil.
- After obtaining dark brown color on all sides, take it out and allow it to cool.
- Add garlic and butter to the already hot pan and let it get fragrant and golden in color for half a minute. Now pour in your wine and let it simmer.
- Add your steak in the sous vide zip lock bag , pour your sauce on top, and add the sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary for taste and smell.
- Submerge your bag into the sous vide container slowly removing the air and when you reach the top, zip locks the bag.
- Let you water heat and then place your zipped steak in the pot with the sous code immersion circulator in the sous vide rack .
- Set the temperature depending on your preference.
- Let the tenderloin cook for around 3 hours.
- Sear your steak after cooking to get a more brown outside that has a crust.
- Let the steak rest on a cutting board for 7 to 10 minutes.
- Keep the pan hot and carefully add your sauce to it and let it simmer.
- Slice your steak for serving. Discard the twine after cutting it. You can slice the steak as a thick mignon steak or thin roast beef slices depending on your preference using your favorite paring knife .
- Pour the sauce on top and serve immediately.
Why Sous Vide is the Ideal Cooking Medium for Tenderloin?
As you guys already know, tenderloin is a type of steak that doesn’t have much fat. Most of the part is lean so the best serving is rare to medium-rare. Although, if you let the meat get too much heat, anything over 140 degrees Fahrenheit, your steak will become very dry and chewy.
If using an oven, a very accurate meat thermometer is needed, and getting it done just right can be hard. That is where a sous vide cookbook comes in because it will not let the temperature get any higher. You will get to keep the highly prized tenderness of your steak.
Perfectly Cooked Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin
Some would argue that tenderloin is the king of steaks. I personally prefer fattier cuts like Rib-eye, but tenderloin is always a crowd pleaser and people seem to be impressed by it. Especially when its cooked perfectly it will melt in your mouth. Follow this guide, and you will get perfect tenderloin every time.
I always sous-vide my beef tenderloin. For me, it’s the best way to cook it exactly how I want it with no guess work. You basically set it and forget it. I use the Nomiku for all my sous-vide cooking. I definitely recommend looking into one. You can use my code, “thechefdan” for an additional $35 off when you preorder the wifi Nomiku. Enough about that, onto the recipe.
I find that I get the best sear using cast iron. Check out Staub at zwilling.ca
- 2 pounds (910 g) center-cut beef tenderloin
- Kosher salt Black pepper
- ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil, divided
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon (8g) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3½ cups (830ml) low-sodium chicken stock
- 2 cups (480ml) beef stock
- 1 (25-ounce [750-ml]) full-bodied red wine, Cabernet or Merlot
- 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons (6g) fresh parsley, chopped
Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin with Ginger, Honey and Rosemary
If you've ever worried about over-cooking pork tenderloin and serving tough dry pork, you can stop worrying right now with this recipe. Cooking sous vide pork tenderloin will take away all your concerns. The gentle slow cooking delivers pork that is full of flavor AND moisture every time.
The Benefits of Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin
If I were asked to convince someone about the benefits of sous vide cooking, I might suggest they make this recipe. Pork tenderloin cooked in a sous vide water bath is an excellent example of all the benefits of sous vide cooking – prevent over-cooking, give you moist results, and pack a lot of flavor into a meal.
How Long to Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin
Pork tenderloin is a lean piece of pork that is very easily over-cooked. Because it is relatively small, just a few minutes can take it from being perfect to being dry when cooking with traditional methods. When you cook it in a sous vide water bath, however, that thin margin of error expands and you can let it cook for as little as 1½ hours or for as long as 4 hours and still have a perfectly cooked piece of meat. That gives you the comfort of time – you don’t have to be ready for dinner at a specific time based on when the pork is going to be finished AND you don’t have to start dinner at a precise time in order to put dinner on the table right at 7pm. Let your mind worry about side dishes, dessert, kids homework, or whatever else might trouble you. The pork is going to be just fine and will be ready when you are.
Temperature for Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin
Because the pork basically cooks in its own juices (along with the marinade) in a sealed bag, there is nowhere for the moisture to disappear to, no way for it to evaporate. Sous vide takes all the guess work out of cooking. You don’t even need an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature because by setting the temperature of the water you are cooking in, and leaving the pork there for at least 1½ hours, you already know the pork is cooked to that temperature. So, what is that temperature? I like to cook pork to 145ºF when cooking in a sous vide water bath. That will give you pork with a touch of pink and lots of moisture. You can safely lower that temperature to 135ºF if you really prefer the pork medium-rare. The duration of time that the pork is held at that temperature is long enough to keep it safe. (You can read more about sous vide safety here.)
Sauce for Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin
Finally, being able to put all the flavors you want into the marinade and cook the pork in those juices, ensures that all the flavor you crave will infuse into the pork. Plus, the juices left in the bag make the basis for a sauce for the final dish. Once you are ready, sear the cooked pork in a hot skillet for just a minute or two. The honey content in the marinade browns very quickly, giving the pork a beautifully brown seared appearance without over-cooking the inside. Then, pour the juices from the bag into the pan after you’ve seared the pork. Let them reduce while you slice the pork tenderloin into ½-inch slices. By the time you have the pork on the plate, the sauce is ready to go.
Make-Ahead Frozen Pork Tenderloin
Another huge advantage of sous vide cooking is that it’s so easy to prep meals ahead of time. You can freeze the pork and its marinade ahead of time and then drop the frozen pork tenderloin into the sous vide water bath, cooking it from frozen. You just need to add 45 to 60 minutes to the cooking time (cook it for a minimum of 2½).
Whichever way you choose to cook it, you’re left with a beautiful meal with tender, moist pork, perfectly cooked and a sauce to pour over the top. Dinner rarely gets easier than that!
Before I started using the Joule by ChefSteps, I thought that smoking was one of the better ways to prepare ribs, followed shortly by braising. Sous Vide Ribs With Cider BBQ Sauce changed my mind on that one for sure!
Season the beef tenderloin with salt, dehydrated garlic, and freshly ground black pepper on all sides
Sear all sides of beef tenderloin until nice grill marks form
In a food safe, zip-lock bag add beef tenderloin, butter, garlic, thyme, and a splash of port
Remove air from the bag and submerge into the sous vide cooker's water bath for 3 hours
Remove beef tenderloin from the bag, pat dry, and sear again on all sides until a dark crust forms
Serve this juicy beef tenderloin with mixed grilled veggies and a potato side dish for the perfect holiday meal
Use the liquid from the zip-lock bag to make a flavourful gravy for your beef tenderloin meal
Fill a large pot with water, and set your sous vide cooker to cook at 130ºF. Start heating the water.
Season the tenderloin on all sides with salt and pepper, and place in a resealable plastic bag or vacuum bag. Add the herbs, garlic, and 2 pats of butter. Seal, place in the warm water, and cook sous vide for 3 hours.
Once the beef is done cooking sous vide, heat a large cast iron skillet to high heat. Remove the tenderloin from the bag, and keep the juices, herbs, and garlic reserved for cooking.
Add 2 tbsp. of butter to the skillet, and once melted, sear for 1-2 minutes per side. Add the juices, herbs, and garlic from the bag to the pan, and use to baste the meat.
Once seared, remove the tenderloin from the skillet, and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Cut into 1/2″ – 1″ slices, and enjoy!
Glad you asked how to vacuum seal the beef burgundy bags for freezing. There are 2 methods you could utilize to seal your bags. First is the freeze and seal method. Stand your filled vac and seal bag in a freezer save container so that it does not tip over, spilling the contents. Once frozen, place the open end of the bag in the vacuum sealer, remove the air and seal.
More sous vide recipes:
Second method is the wet seal method. I don&rsquot know if that is the correct name but that is what I am calling it. Place your vac and seal on a flat surface and your filled bag in front of it. Slowly and carefully, while holding onto the open part of the bag, lay the bag down allowing the air to be removed.
Carefully lay the end of the bag in the van and seal, sealing twice. If using this method you need to be sure that there is at least 4 inches of extra bag at the top to ensure minimal spillage.
How many number of pounds or kilos can you Sous Vide at a time?
I was introduced to Sous vide cooking over 8 years ago, with the purchase of the first edition Modernist Cuisine (Useful texts on volume and cook time for specific proteins). This was the first recipe that I endeavored. And it has been a staple ever since. The original recipe included Langavulin 16 year aged. Originally I would sear before sous vide to kill any bacteria present, however this step isn’t as necessary if you are working with a full beef tenderloin, as searing after will inevitably kill any thermodynamic prevalent bacterium. There is no substitute for a medium rare or rare preparation than sous vide. Routinely my dinner guests will state that no restauraunt within my metropolitan area can come close to this beef tenderloin in flavor and or perfect temperature then this recipe. Be advised that sous vide does not translate seasoning after immersion cooking, thus a good seasoning before last sear is necessary. The Langavulin is a must in this recipe, as it adds a wonderful smoke flavor to the meat. A tablespoon is adequate to achieve this added flavor. Enjoy
Hello Jason- The suggested approximate cook time is 60-90 minutes, as it appears in the text of the recipe. Note however that this is only an approximation. The amount of time that it takes for a tender cut (in this case- Beef Tenderloin) to cook is determined by the thermal conductivity of the specific protein. This varies from pork to beef to fish etc. Another determining factor is the shape of the protein. Is it a cylinder, cube, slab, etc. Lastly, another factor at play (and the most important of them all) is the thickness of the piece of food to be cooked. Try having a look at our iOS app, The PolyScience Sous Vide Toolbox, for further clarification or the cooking time charts as printed in Modernist Cuisine, Modernist Cuisine at Home, and Immersed. In short- giving specific cook times for the cooking of proteins, especially those with great thickness, is tricky because it really depends on and differs from steak to steak.
When discussing cooking temperatures for tender cuts of protein, the choice really comes down to the degree of doneness that you prefer. Do you like you steak cooked rare? Medium well? Well done? The choice is really up to you.
so how come there is no cooking times? How long do you cook it for? Also, how come the temps very so much from different web sites on cooking sous vide. 54 deg C for 1 1/2. on one site yours is 49 deg C. but not sure how long. just curious
You can also do a whole smoked pork sholedur (it already comes vacuum packed in food grade plastic at the supermarket) in the instant pot for 24 hours at 65C. Just put it in and fill with hot water from the tap. Set the instant pot to keep warm with the lid off, and then unwrap and eat 24h 30h later.