How to Trim and Prepare a Whole Beef Tenderloin

A beef tenderloin is not just tender, but it is also full of flavour, however it is the most expensive cut of meat available, especially when buying from a reputable butcher or a reliable supermarket. Luckily, there is a way to reduce cost by buying a whole tenderloin and learning how to trim it yourself.

trim a whole beef tenderloin

Butchering a whole beef tenderloin might sound intimidating, but it is not as difficult as you may imagine. Learning how to age the tenderloin, correctly trim it and then portion for several later beef recipes will save up to fifty percent!

Equipment needed

We recommend ‘ageing’ the whole tenderloin for two to three days. For this you will need a catch pan and a wire rack.

The essential tools needed for the trimming are a sturdy sharp knife and a large enough cutting board. Prepare packaging bags to freeze or chill the pieces not used immediately.

Trim and prepare a whole beef tenderloin

Take your time and follow this step-by-step guide. The process of trimming and portioning should take no longer than 30 minutes. It might take a little longer for your first attempt. 


Prepare the tenderloin (2-4 days before)

  • Place the beef tenderloin onto a wire rack with a catch pan underneath. Keep in the fridge to age.
  • Flip the tenderloin twice a day until the meat dries and the colour turns dark. Depending on the brand and origin, this might take 2 to 4 days. 

Trim and portion the tenderloin

  • Hold the tenderloin with one hand and push a sharp boning knife under the silver skin about 4-5 cm from the end. 
  • Keep the knife at a slight angle and push towards the end.  
  • Remove the dark and dry bits around the tenderloin. Keep the off-cuts to make a stock, jus or a sauce base. 
  • Cut steaks at about 180 gram (6-7 ounces) each.
  • Cut the ends of the tenderloin to cut into cubes or strips. 

Grill a steak

  • If you like to grill the steaks directly, rub the beef with some olive oil and wrap tightly in cling film before refrigerating (optional). You might also need to ‘bind’ the steaks before grilling so they keep their form when cooking.
trim a whole beef tenderloin
  • Brush the steaks with oil and grill. 
  • Combine all ingredients for a seasoning of your liking and sprinkle some over the grilled steaks.
  • Always rest the meat before serving.

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