Tenderloin Tails in General
Depending on how the butcher decides to cut them, tenderloin tails can run anywhere from 4 to 16 ounces each. Some unique characteristics of the tenderloin can make it somewhat difficult to cook. It is very lean, so it has a tendency to dry out quickly if overcooked. Also, tenderloin tails are not uniform thickness; instead, they taper to a point. However, tenderloin tails offer the same wonderfully tender meat as other cuts from the tenderloin -- such as filet mignon or chateaubriand-- but, typically, at a lower cost.
Tenderloin meat, due to its lean nature and tenderness, works very well for high-heat cooking methods such as grilled skewers. To prepare beef tail for kabobs, cut the tail into 1-inch squares starting from the thickest end of the tail. As you reach the thinner end of the tail, cut the meat a little longer so that when folded over, it will be about 1 inch thick. Slide the beef onto metal or presoaked bamboo skewers, folding over the thinner pieces. Season the beef with salt, pepper and any other steak seasonings of your choice and grill on high for about two to three minutes per side for medium rare, longer if you desire more doneness. Serve with grilled and skewered vegetables such as peppers, onions, mushrooms and campari tomatoes.
Beef, Mushroom and Onion Sauté
To make this dish, start slicing the tenderloin tail into thin, 1- to 2-inch strips, similar to what you would use for beef stir fry. Sauté sliced onions and mushrooms until the onions are soft, then add a small amount of high-heat cooking oil such as grape seed oil or vegetable oil and turn the pan up to high heat. Add sliced the tenderloin tail to pan. Sprinkle salt, pepper and other seasonings of your choice, and sauté for two to three minutes until onions and beef are browned. After removing the vegetables and beef onto a heated platter, deglaze the pan with red wine and then return to burner -- carefully, as the red wine may flame -- scraping up and browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a spatula. Add demi-glace and a touch of prepared mustard and reduce the sauce, then serve it with the beef and vegetables over rice or wide egg noodles.
Grilled “Twin” Tails
The major issue with grilling whole tenderloin tails is their lack of uniform thickness. To overcome this problem, tie two tails together. Starting with tails that are about the same size, place them roughly parallel to each other on a cutting board with the thin point end of one tail sitting next to the thick end of the other tail -- think of two triangles placed together to make a rectangle or square. Tie the tenderloin tails together using heat-proof cooking twine and season with olive oil, salt, pepper and other steak seasonings of your choice. Grill over medium heat until desired temperature -- cooking times will vary according to the size of your tails. For very large tails, such as those that are a pound or more each, you may need to cook partially over indirect heat to get the tails to medium rare before burning the outside. If the tenderloin has properly seared on the outside, but the inside is still underdone, turn off the burners on one side of the grill or slide all of the coals to one side of the grill if using a charcoal grill. Move the tenderloin off the direct heat, and cook over indirect heat on the cooler side of the grill until done.
Safe Internal Temperatures
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration recommend an internal safe cooking temperature for fresh beef of 145 degrees Fahrenheit -- which equates to medium rare -- and a three-minute rest before serving. Tenderloin tend to dry out very quickly, so for best flavor and juiciness, it is best not to let it your tails cook to more than medium rare.