Whiskey Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin
The title of this post should be WhistlePig Rye, Peppercorn and Garlic, Reverse Seared Beef Tenderloin with Blue Cheese Crumbles, but that is a bit wordy so Whiskey Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin it is because the three main ingredients of this epic recipe are, in no particular order, whiskey, peppercorns and beef tenderloin:
So let’s get after it and show how to make this recipe.
Whiskey Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin Ingredients:
1 chunk of beef tenderloin (approximately 2.5 lbs)
1/2 cup peppercorns
1/2 cup minced garlic
4 ounces of WhistlePig Rye
Blue cheese crumbles
Start by making sure there is no silver skin on the beef tenderloin and coating it liberally with the salt. Then roll it in the peppercorns:
Place it inside a 2 gallon resealable bag and add the garlic in, working the garlic around to coat as much as possible. Then pour in the whiskey:
I know some of you are wondering about this right now. There is no way you are going to pour a half a bottle of WhistlePig over a beef tenderloin to completely submerge it in rye. I’m not advocating that. Four ounces is about all it takes. Along with a couple turns of the plastic bag in the fridge. I think I rolled the bag over, redistributing the whiskey all over the beef, three times before I went to bed and a couple more times in the morning. That was all it took to keep the whiskey in contact with the beef while in the bag. With the application of the salt first, this is almost a whiskey brine, so we don’t need a half gallon to impart a lot of flavor.
Now on to the other matter here. Some will skip past WhistlePig in favor of a cheaper libation. Maybe even one of those bottles with the white label that simply has the letters W H I S K E Y on the front. Don’t do that. Don’t be that guy (or girl). As a general rule, if the ingredient is not something you would drink independent of the recipe, then don’t use it in the recipe. Never buy cooking sherry or cooking wine. Use sherry or wine that you would have no problem pouring into a glass for yourself. Same here with the whiskey. WhistlePig is one of my absolute favorite whiskeys and has been for years. I used what I like to drink and you should as well.
After spending the night in the fridge absorbing all the flavor from the whiskey, peppercorns and garlic, pull the bag and let the beef come up to room temp on the counter. It would take half a day or more for the entire beef tenderloin to hit 72 degrees on the counter. The goal here is to get the outside up to temp. That could take a good two hours. Plan accordingly. And when it is time to smoke it as part of the reverse sear, we take the temp up slowly and we should get a nice even pink or red.
I set my Green Mountain Grills pellet cooker to 200F and placed the beef tenderloin in the middle of the smoker:
Some of you are wondering about the peppercorns. No, I don’t recommend eating them. So why haven’t I knocked them all off? Because cooking them will do it for me. The tenderloin starts off with all sorts of peppercorns, but after it smokes to about 110, it gets seared off and pretty much al of them will fall off. I smoked this for about 2 hours at 200F and after it got to 110F, I pulled it from the cooker and tented it under some foil:
At this point I cranked the Green Mountain Grill to 550 and placed some grill grates inside:
Time to sear:
Once the Whiskey Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin is seared all the way around, pull it from the grill:
While the tenderloin is resting, I tossed some asparagus on the grill grates:
For the asparagus recipe, click here, because it is as easy as it is delicious.
Some will argue that the beef needs to rest more than it takes to cook the asparagus. Don’t sweat the rest. I’m not as adamant about resting as I used to be.
Time to slice:
Time to plate and top with some blue cheese crumbles:
But how was it? The whiskey adds a great earthiness, along with some outstanding nuanced flavors, to the beef and the pepper adds a bit of spice, but not hot spiciness. The earthiness and the subtle bite of the pepper merge very well with the garlic and the creamy savoriness of the blue cheese. Pair it with a lovely WhistlePig Rye and that is a meal fit for a king or a queen, or with this much food, both and the rest of the court!
I’m proud to partner with WhistlePig on this post. They are truly one of my favorite whiskeys, if not my favorite. I always have a bottle on my bar at home.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email.
- 1 chunk of beef tenderloin (approximately 2.5 lbs)
- ½ cup peppercorns
- ½ cup minced garlic
- 4 ounces of WhistlePig Rye
- Blue cheese crumbles
- Salt the tenderloin all the way around thoroughly
- Coat the tenderloin with the peppercorns and place in a resealable plastic bag
- Add the garlic and work it around the beef to get good coverage
- Add the WhistlePig rye whiskey and place the sealed bag in the fridge overnight, rotating the bag a few times before bed and again a couple times in the morning
- Prepare the smoker for 200 degrees internal temperature
- Smoke the beef tenderloin until it reaches 110 degrees internal
- Crank the cooker up past 500 degrees and sear the beef all the way around
- Remove from the grill and let rest
- After a few minutes of rest, slice into medallions, plate and top with blue cheese crumbles
- Serve and enjoy
Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.