Russ’s birthday menu yesterday featured grilled tenderloin of beef with a selection of beautiful vegetables, plus pineapple slices. We spent the afternoon at our friends’ beach house in San Pancho, and the setting could not have been any better.
There was no blue sky to highlight the blue of the ocean, which you can barely make out at the end of the sand. It is hard to believe that Hurricane Alex, so far on the other side of Mexico, sent its cloudy arms over the western coast, hundreds of miles away.
The birthday boy is also the grill master, and he likes his grilled meat fairly simple, without distracting bar-b-que sauces and seasonings. A simple marinade of olive oil and minced garlic bathed the tenderloin in a zip lock bag until it was grill time. The remaining oil in the bag was then brushed on Mexican squash halves, pre-cooked, halved potatoes, and portobello mushrooms, which also got generous pats of organic butter.
The over-sized green onions (known as chambrays in this part of Mexico) went on the grill as is. There’s not much you can do to improve carmelized onions right off the grill. Same for the whole poblano chiles (how to roast and peel chiles) and the sliced pineapple, which added a sweet taste at the end of the meal. For us, less is more when grilling. KISS is our grill motto. Do I have to spell that out for you?
Grill the tenderloin as one piece, rather than cut into individual steaks, to retain maximum moisture. After it is removed from the grill, cover with foil and allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. If it is sliced immediately upon coming off the grill, without a rest time, too much juice will drain out of the slices, resulting in drier meat. A tenderloin is too special to be treated this way.
Use an instant-read thermometer for the best indicator of doneness.
120-125 degrees F. (49-52 C.) = Rare
130-135 degrees F. (54-57 C.) = Medium Rare
140-145 degrees F. (60-63 C.) = Medium
If you have to cook your tenderloin to medium well or well, in my humble opinion
you are over-cooking one of the best cuts of beef.
The tenderloin was from Kenny’s Meat Market in La Cruz, where the beef is from range-fed cattle. At 120 pesos a kilo, that works out to just under $5 a pound. If you are shopping for tenderloin in a carnicería in Mexico, ask for “filete”.
OK, since you asked, I’ll spell KISS for you. Keep It Simple, Sweetie.
A heron on the neighbor’s roof. Click the photo twice to see his beautful, striped head.