Kitchen Secrets: How To Breakdown a Whole Beef Tenderloin for Fillets and Burgers

June 29, 2014

Buying a whole beef tenderloin is a cost effective way to eat. Portion cut fillets can cost $20 per pound or more, but you can buy a whole tenderloin for around $9 per pound. When you have a lot of hungry mouths to feed during BBQ season, every penny counts!

In this episode of Foodista’s Kitchen Secrets, Chef Bobby Moore from the Barking Frog in Woodinville, Washington shows us how to breakdown and prepare a whole beef tenderloin. You learn how to remove the tough, unwanted silver skin, which pieces to save and grind up for delicious burgers, and finally, how to cut it into perfectly portioned tenderloin steaks. It's easier than you think!

Watch the short video below and be sure and subscribe to Foodista's Kitchen Secrets here for more culinary tips and tricks.

Tools you’ll need:

A sharp boning knife
A chef’s knife

Video Transcription

My name is Bobby Moore, executive chef of the Willows Lodge, home of the barking frog. I'm getting ready to show you how to break down a whole tenderloin. Follow me.

First thing you want to do is you want to pick the right knife. I have a boning knife here that I'm going to use, so we can take off the silver skin. I also have another chef knife here that I'm going to use to take off some of this fat. You can see all these nice big fat chunks. What I do is I'll take the back of a chef knife like this, and I'll just take the back of it, like I said, and push that fat off. Don't be afraid to use your hands every now and then when you're doing this.

On the other side, we're going to have more silver skin that we're going to have to deal with. All right. I think we got the majority of that. I just want to clean it up a little bit. All right. We're going to go over here. Now we have all this silver skin we're going to deal with. So I go in, and then back this way, and now I have that, almost like a handle. So with my nice sharp knife, I'm just going to start taking little bits of that silver skin off. All right? Just, kind of, pushing up and down. You're going to have this side muscle here. With your fingers, you can push down in here, and get rid of that. Right here where you get stuck, just give it a little help with the tip of your knife. You're not going to use this. OK? Then we take this and we grind that. We make hamburgers with it. Don't throw that away if you're at home and you're butchering a whole tenderloin.

As you can see, it's starting to look like a tenderloin. So we're just slowly trimming that up, taking some of the fat off. You can see here we still have some of that sinew. I'm going under it, back down. And I'm just going to slowly take it off. Every tenderloin is going to be a little different. It's going to have a little bit more fat on it sometimes. I'll take that tip right off there. Right here, where this tenderloin, this muscle up here, it kind of divides like this, so what we're going to do is, we want to cut this out, almost like a V cut. I'm going to get that out. And with tenderloin, and that's why people enjoy tenderloin so much, is because it doesn't have all that fat on it. So you definitely want to clean that up.

So now we can cut these into steaks. This, we're going to cut to, like, little, that's probably, like, a five ounce piece of meat for the tenderloin. So to help form it, I'm going to push it back down. This is where you start getting into the really beautiful tenderloins. So we're going to do, about, an 8-ounce tenderloin. Right? There's the tenderloin. Push that down, like that. You've got a really nice piece of tenderloin steak right there, that you can grill up on the barbecue. Look at that marbling too. See the marbling in there? And then just push it down. Four, five, six beautiful beef tenderloin steaks that we can, grill them up or we can sear them up, however, you guys want to eat them. And that's how we break down a beef tenderloin.