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While my mom’s grilled beef tenderloin recipe is sure to impress your guests, it’s a simple, easy dinner that any home cook can prepare. You can even roast it in the oven! With a flavorful marinade, a simple dry rub, and a brown sugar, Dijon, and bourbon glaze, the meat is delicious alongside au gratin potatoes, flaky buttermilk biscuits, or a Caesar salad. Perfect for a Christmas dinner, and equally appropriate for your next Sunday supper!

Overhead shot of grilled beef tenderloin on a plate

How to Cook Beef Tenderloin

If there’s one “special” meal that our family regularly enjoys, this grilled beef tenderloin is absolutely at the top of the list. We do ham for Easter, turkey for Thanksgiving, and always Mom’s Southern bourbon-glazed beef tenderloin recipe for Christmas! The dish never fails, it disappears fast, and it feels way more decadent than your average weeknight dinner!

Side shot of sliced beef tenderloin on a plate

But let’s not get crazy, here — I’m certainly not sharing some complicated, stressful, or difficult beef tenderloin recipe that’s going to suck up hours of your valuable time on Christmas day (or any other day of the year). Oh, heck no! This only tastes fancy!

In fact, most of the work is done the day before, so you can prepare the meal in advance and then just enjoy your special holiday dinner the next day — no stress necessary. I nagged my mom for her “secret” recipe, which is no longer very secret. The truth is, Mom just adapted a beef tenderloin recipe that originally came from Weber’s Big Book of Grilling. Over the years, Mom’s tweaks have made the recipe even easier, which is perfect for impatient, busy home cooks like me! We love a grilled beef tenderloin most, but you can also cook the meat in the oven. Both sets of instructions are provided in the recipe box below.

Marinating beef tenderloin in a large ziploc bag

What is beef tenderloin used for?

Beef tenderloin is cut from the loin of the beef, and is comprised of three main “cuts:” the butt, the center-cut, and the tail. The butt end is often used for carpaccio, while the center-cut is best for sliced steaks and yields the traditional filet mignon. This is the part that we love for grilled beef tenderloin! The tail is not great for steaks because it isn’t a consistent size, so these small pieces of tender meat are often used in dishes such as Beef Stroganoff.

What is the difference between beef tenderloin and filet mignon?

Beef tenderloin is the name of the large cut of beef before it is sliced into steak. Once it is cut into steaks, those steaks are known by the French name, “filet mignon.” In other words, they are the same meat — one is cut and the other is not!

Dry rub in a small bowl

Ingredients

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for our favorite grilled beef tenderloin recipe. As always, specific measurements and complete step-by-step cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Beef tenderloin: we use a 2 ½ – 3 lb. center-cut tenderloin of uniform thickness for this recipe.
  • Worcestershire sauce, molasses, and Dijon mustard: form the rich, savory, sweet, and umami marinade.
  • Garlic powder, kosher salt, and ground black pepper: a simple seasoning blend that creates a dry rub for the meat.
  • Bourbon, Dijon mustard, and light brown sugar: the glaze ingredients that you’ll baste onto the tenderloin during the final few minutes on the grill.
  • Olive oil: adds a bit of flavor to the beef and prevents it from sticking to the grill.
Process shot showing how to grill beef tenderloin

How to Grill Beef Tenderloin

A meat thermometer is the key tool for cooking your beef tenderloin to the perfect level of doneness. It will come out perfectly every time! Again, this recipe and cooking method is slightly adapted from Weber’s Big Book of Grilling.

  1. Marinate the meat for 8-24 hours.
  2. Pat the meat dry, and season on all sides with the garlic, salt, and pepper.
  3. Let the meat stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before grilling (this will help it cook evenly).
  4. Lightly brush the tenderloin with olive oil.
  5. Sear the beef on a grill over medium direct heat until well marked (about 20 minutes), turning about ¼ every 5 minutes. Continue grilling over medium indirect heat (the cooler side of the grill) until internal temperature reaches 135°F for medium rare (10-20 minutes).
  6. During the final 10 minutes of grilling time, turn and baste with the glaze.
  7. Let the meat rest for about 10 minutes to retain its moisture and redistribute the juices before slicing, then place beef on a platter and serve!
Overhead shot of grilled beef tenderloin recipe served on a dinner table

Alternate Method: Beef Tenderloin in Oven

Roast the beef tenderloin in the oven at 475°F until the beef registers an internal temperature of 135°F for medium rare (about 20-30 minutes). Baste with the glaze during the final 10 minutes of roasting time.

Beef Tenderloin Temperature

The total cooking time will vary depending on the size, thickness, and temperature of your meat when you cook it, as well as on your preferred level of doneness. A meat thermometer is always the best way to know when your tenderloin is ready to come off the grill or out of the oven. Here’s what you’re looking for:

  • Rare (a cool red center): 125°F – 130°F
  • Medium-rare (a warm red center): 135°F
  • Medium (a warm pink center): 145°F
Square side shot of grilled beef tenderloin with a salad bread and wine

What to Serve with Beef Tenderloin

This versatile meat pairs well with a variety of sides. We like to complete the meal with a starch (like pasta, bread, or potatoes), as well as a vegetable or salad. Here are a few ideas:

Overhead shot of sliced beef tenderloin roast with gold flatware on a platter

Storage

Store uncooked tenderloin in the refrigerator for up to three days (do not marinate for more than 24 hours). Grilled beef tenderloin will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. You can also freeze leftovers wrapped tightly for up to 3 months.

Recipe Variations

  • We sometimes use a larger beef tenderloin that we buy at Costco, which weighs between 7 and 8 lbs. When cooking a larger tenderloin, the same instructions apply; however, you’ll need to double all of the ingredients for the marinade, rub, and glaze. It also takes closer to 1 hour to cook on the grill.
  • Instead of grilling the meat, roast beef tenderloin in the oven. Those instructions are provided below.
  • Season the meat with any of your favorite herbs and spices. For instance, try a bbq rub, our favorite all-purpose “house seasoning,” or herbs such as parsley, rosemary, thyme, chives, basil, or oregano.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs, bbq sauce, or a chimichurri sauce in lieu of the bourbon glaze.
Side shot of a dinner table with red wine and beef tenderloin recipe

Tips for the Best Beef Tenderloin Recipe

  • Prepare the marinade, rub, and glaze in advance. You will not need the rub or the glaze until you’re ready to cook the beef, but having it all ready to go ahead of time will take the stress out of a holiday meal.
  • For maximum flavor, use the grill! Your oven is a fine alternative, but you’ll get the best char and the best flavor from a grill.
  • Let the beef come to room temperature for 20-30 minutes before grilling. This will help it cook evenly.
  • Use a meat thermometer to know when your beef tenderloin is done. The total cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of your whole beef tenderloin. For a medium rare finish, the beef should reach an internal temperature of 135°F.
  • Allow the meat to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. Remember that temperature of the meat will continue to rise as it sits (thanks to carryover cooking), so pull the meat off the grill a little bit sooner than you think you need to.
Overhead shot of hands holding a platter of sliced grilled beef tenderloin

More Beef Recipes to Try

Square image of beef tenderloin

Grilled Beef Tenderloin

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Marinating Time and Resting Time 10 hours
Total: 10 hours 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 437 kcal
While my mom's grilled beef tenderloin recipe is sure to impress your guests, it's a simple, easy dinner that any home cook can prepare! You can roast it in the oven, too.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 center-cut beef tenderloin (about 2 ½ – 3 lbs.)

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

FOR THE RUB:

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

FOR THE GLAZE:

  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • Olive oil

Instructions

PREPARE THE MARINADE:

  • In a small bowl, whisk together Worcestershire sauce, molasses, and 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard.
  • Trim the tenderloin of any excess fat or silver skin. Place the tenderloin in a large zip-top plastic bag and pour marinade over top. Squeeze air out of the bag and seal to close. Gently toss to coat the beef in the marinade. Set the bag on a plate and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.

PREPARE THE RUB:

  • In a small bowl, stir together garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

PREPARE THE GLAZE:

  • In a small bowl, whisk together bourbon, ¼ cup Dijon mustard, and brown sugar until the sugar dissolves.
  • After 8 to 24 hours in the refrigerator, remove the tenderloin from the bag and discard the marinade.
  • Wipe excess marinade off of the tenderloin by patting it with paper towels.
  • Press the garlic rub into the tenderloin on all sides and allow to stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before grilling.
  • Lightly brush or spray the tenderloin with olive oil.

ON THE GRILL (preferred method):

  • Sear tenderloin over medium direct heat until well marked (about 20 minutes), turning ¼ every 5 minutes. Continue grilling over medium indirect heat until internal temperature reaches 135°F for medium rare (10-20 minutes). During the final 10 minutes of grilling time, turn and baste with the glaze.
  • Remove the tenderloin from the grill and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes (the internal temperature will continue to rise a bit during this time). Cut beef into 1-inch slices and serve warm.

IN THE OVEN:

  • Prepare tenderloin according to instructions above. After rubbing the tenderloin with garlic rub, allow to sit at room temperature while you preheat the oven to 475°F.
  • Place tenderloin on a roasting rack and insert a meat thermometer. Roast in the oven until the beef registers an internal temperature of 135°F for medium-rare (about 20-30 minutes). Baste with glaze during the final 10 minutes of baking time.
  • Allow meat to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Notes

  • Prepare the marinade, rub, and glaze in advance. You will not need the rub or the glaze until you’re ready to cook the beef, but having it all ready to go ahead of time will take the stress out of a holiday meal.
  • For maximum flavor, use the grill! Your oven is a fine alternative, but you’ll get the best char and the best flavor from a grill.
  • Let the beef come to room temperature for 20-30 minutes before grilling. This will help it cook evenly.
  • Use a meat thermometer to know when your beef tenderloin is done. The total cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of your whole beef tenderloin. For a medium rare finish, the beef should reach an internal temperature of 135°F.
  • Allow the meat to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. Remember that temperature of the meat will continue to rise as it sits (thanks to carryover cooking), so pull the meat off the grill a little bit sooner than you think you need to.
  • Recipe slightly adapted from Weber’s Big Book of Grilling

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the beef, marinade, rub and glazeCalories: 437kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 50gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 145mgSodium: 1192mgPotassium: 1041mgSugar: 15gVitamin A: 10IUVitamin C: 1.7mgCalcium: 92mgIron: 5mg
Keyword: beef tenderloin marinade, beef tenderloin recipe, grilled beef tenderloin, how to cook beef tenderloin
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in December, 2017. The photos were updated in May, 2022.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. This sounds like a delicious Christmas dinner! I don’t think I’ve made beef tenderloin quite like this before, so I will have to try this out. Love that rub and glaze on top!

  2. I wasn’t sure how, in NH, to grill on Christmas, the roast that my company gives as a “Thank You” to all their employees.
    This sounds very do-able for me.
    Thank You for all of the wonderful recipes. We did the Dump-and-Bake Kentucky Hot Brown Casserole, and it was fantastic!
    My son thanks you as well. He takes a lot of leftovers to work, as do we.
    Also, your grocery list planner is amazing! I find that I spend less money because I plan meals and buy only what I need.

    1. Hi, Patti! I’m so glad that you might try the beef. We love this dish!

      I’m also thrilled to hear that your family enjoys my recipes and meal planner. Thank you so much for letting me know!! 🙂

  3. This looks delicious. I usually cook ham because it’s cheaper and I don’t have to worry about having the beef turn out right for everyone’s preference ( rare, med. rare, med. etc.) Beef seems more special. Maybe I will try it this year. What side dishes do you usually serve with the roast?

    1. Hi, Lynn! You might be pleasantly surprised by the beef — especially if you purchase a large enough cut. When I get the 7-8 lb. tenderloin from Costco, it’s shaped so that the ends are smaller than the middle. As a result, the middle of the beef stays pretty rare, while the ends are more well done (because they’re smaller). That way everyone can pick the part of the beef that’s cooked to preference. I hope that makes sense. 🙂

      As far as sides go, we always have:
      – Aunt Bee’s Potatoes (so easy, and they can be made in advance): https://www.theseasonedmom.com/cheesy-potato-casserole/
      – My Grandmother’s Sauerkraut with Crispy Bacon: https://www.theseasonedmom.com/grandmas-easy-sauerkraut-crispy-bacon/
      – Often a salad (like this): https://www.theseasonedmom.com/tossed-salad-apple-butter-vinaigrette/
      – Usually a fruit salad or sauce, like this cranberry sauce: https://www.theseasonedmom.com/cranberry-clementine-sauce/ OR a fluff salad with fruit like my Orange Pineapple Fluff Salad: https://www.theseasonedmom.com/orange-pineapple-fluff-salad/ or my 6-Cup Ambrosia Salad: https://www.theseasonedmom.com/6-cup-ambrosia-salad/
      – If you want a warm vegetable dish, this broccoli casserole is great: https://www.theseasonedmom.com/cheesy-broccoli-casserole/
      – and you might like to include a bread basket or a loaf of fresh bread on the side.
      Enjoy!

  4. This is absolutely delicious. I am making this every year from now on!!! Thank you for a fantastic recipe!!

    1. Wonderful, Lyn-Anne! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it! We serve this every year for Christmas too, and it’s always a hit! 🙂 Happy holidays!

    1. Hi, Barb! It’s probably about 1 hour, but definitely use a meat thermometer to tell when it reaches 135 degrees F, since every piece of beef is slightly different in size/thickness. 🙂

  5. Look omg forward to trying this! I don’t have a grill but am thinking I could swear over high heat on the stove in either a large skillet or grill pan, then finish in the oven.

  6. 5 stars
    Hi Blair! I made this tonight in the oven with a tri tip and am blown away! So delicious and easy. I can’t wait to try it on the grill. Thanks for such a great recipe. Happy New Year!

  7. 5 stars
    Made this last night and it was wonderful! Only had four hours to marinate, but it was still very flavorful. Went a tad shy on the amount of brown sugar, but otherwise made as per the instructions. Love the “bark” from grilling and the inside was very juicy! Very nice dish–husband was impressed!

  8. For you’re southern bourbon-glazed beef tenderloin-can I used pork instead ? do I cook it the same amount of time ? I’m going to try it tonight–will let know it turned out,

  9. The flavor combinations look absolutely divine. I can see why your mother is famous for this recipe! Unfortunately, I don’t believe I’ll be on a beef tenderloin budget any time soon. How might I use the marinade, rub, or glaze on less expensive cuts. Thanks.

    1. Yes! We’ve used it with other types of steak as well. The pricier tenderloin is ideal for special holidays! 🙂