Ok, let’s say that watching Evan Lobel's video on breaking down a whole tenderloin inspired you to get a whole tenderloin for yourself to sharpen your home-butchering skills. And let’s further assume that you’ve already taken the initial steps to separate the whole tenderloin into its three principal parts: head, middle, and tail.
Where do you go from here?
Remember that a whole tenderloin weighs about 3½ pounds. Depending on how many people you’re planning to serve, the middle can be cut into Chateaubriand roasts between 1½ and 2 pounds or individual filet mignon of any size you choose. That will determine what you have left in the tail and the head.
For convenience, let’s say you cut the middle to be about 2 pounds. That means you’ve got about 1½ pounds of tail and head left to split between two or three future meals. The head will weigh about a pound and the tail will be about ½ pound.
The first decision you want to make is what to do with the middle part of the tenderloin: roast the whole Chateaubriand or cut it into individual steaks—filets mignon.
For average adult servings, your 2-pound middle cut will yield four 8-ounce filets mignon. These are perfect for using Lobel’s Guide to Cooking the Perfect Steak, which contains three different indoor and outdoor cooking techniques. We also have How-To videos for each of these techniques. Or to take the flavor up a notch by trying one of our recipes that include tasty additions such as Gorgonzola Scallion Compound Butter or Cognac and Herb Sauce!
If you prefer to roast the Chateaubriand instead of cutting it into steaks, here is a recipe that combines that classic roast with an equally classic Bordelaise Sauce to make a classically unforgettable pairing.
Are you in the mood for something exotic—maybe Asian? Cut the tail into strips or dice and get ready to stir fry. Here’s a ready-to-go stir-fry recipe that can be scaled down to the 2 to 3 portions the single tail will accommodate. Or cut up the head too, and combine it with the tail to create a larger dish.
Or get inventive and plan your own stir fry. Here’s our Stir Fry 101 that gives you everything you need to get started stir frying up a storm in your own kitchen.
Another option is to cut the tail into small steaks called tournedos. This is a great cut for sautéing and making a pan sauce. For do-it-yourselfers, here’s a link to our How-To Saute and Create a Pan Sauce. On the other hand, here’s a recipe that sautés the tournedos and combines them with a luxurious Bernaise Sauce.
The head of the tenderloin will weigh about 1 pound. The first option is to leave this 1-pound tenderloin roast whole for grilling or roasting.
Or you can cut the head into tenderloin steaks, which would yield about four 4-ounce steaks. Here again, the Lobel’s Guide to Cooking the Perfect Steak. Once cooked, tenderloin steaks can be simply served, or they make for excellent steak sandwiches!
Another option is to sauté the steaks. And with that option comes a recipe for combining the steaks with a peppercorn-brandy pan sauce. They are also terrific for an unforgettable sautéed steak-and-eggs breakfast.
A fourth option is to cut the head into cubes of 1 to 1½ inches. From here, you can use the cubes as kabobs for grilling or broiling, for stewing, or fondue.
Of course, when you need the entire weight of the head and tail for a larger meal, you can always cube the head and tail for using as kabobs, stew, or fondue, or cut both into strips or dice for stir frying.