What is Beef Tenderloin?

Beef tenderloin is one of the most popular options on a beef menu. This is a cut considered to be one of the most tender as well as the most expensive. The beef tenderloin is sold as a whole roast and individually cut steaks known as tenderloin steaks.

Today, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about beef tenderloin.

What is Beef Tenderloin, Exactly? 

Beef tenderloin is a cut from the cow’s short loin, more precisely, from the area of the animal known as the psoas major. The tenderloin is a long muscle located near the cow’s backbone. The muscle isn’t responsible for bearing any of the cow’s weight, so it’s far more tender than other cuts. 

Other famous steaks from beef tenderloin include filet mignon, chateaubriand, and tournedos. It is also part of the smaller side of the T-Bone and Porterhouse Steak.

Raw fresh steak filet migno
raw tenderloin steaks (filet mignon)

Other names for beef tenderloin

In the US beef tenderloin is also known in many regions as Beef Loin, Butt Tenderloin, Filet Mignon, Chateaubriand, Tenderloin Tips, Tournedos, Medallions or Tenderloin Steak.

As for countries outside the US, Beef Tenderloin is known as filet in France, eye fillet in Australia, filé mignon in Brazil, and fillet in South Africa and the United Kingdom.

What part of the cow is the beef tenderloin? 

Beef tenderloin is one long muscle that starts just past the ribs and ends in the sirloin primal. Yes, tenderloin stretches across two primal cuts (the sirloin and loin).

Buying Beef Tenderloin

You can typically find beef tenderloin at your local supermarket in two forms: trimmed or untrimmed. Untrimmed tenderloin is cheaper because it still comes with fat lining around the cut. You can avoid trimming the meat yourself by paying a few extra bucks per pound.

Tenderloin beef cuts are a bit pricey compared to other cuts. You can buy whole beef tenderloin roast or individual steaks. It doesn’t matter if you shop at Costco or a fancy butcher shop – these principles apply everywhere.

When buying steak, try to find cuts that have no brown spots. While steaks with brown spots are still safe to eat, they aren’t as fresh. If you’re unsure which cut is the best, you can always ask the butcher for recommendations.

Beef Tenderloin FAQs

What Does Tenderloin Steaks Taste Like?

Tenderloin steaks are fine-grained and lean, usually thicker cuts but smaller in diameter. The high-quality cut of beef tenderloin is a very tender steak boasting a mild buttery flavor. However, the tenderloin steaks aren’t as rich in flavor as a flat iron steak or ribeye.

Is beef tenderloin tender?

Yes, it is a very tender cut. Beef tenderloin is a muscle located near the cow’s backbone. This muscle is not used at all, which is why beef tenderloin is one of the most tender cuts of beef. 

How many tenderloins are in a cow?

There are only two tenderloins per cow.

How big is a beef tenderloin?

Raw beef tenderloin is a long piece of meat (usually about 2 feet long) weighing an average of 4 to 6 pounds. A whole tenderloin will feed even a dozen people.

Photo of author

Written by: Adam Wojtow

Adam Wojtow, the founder of Steak Revolution, is a true steak enthusiast. His primary goal is to help others perfect their steak-cooking skills.