The sandwich that works at any gathering—big, small, dinner party or potluck. Beef tenderloin sliders are a meat-lover crowd pleaser. Period. And preparing the beef roast is a cinch. This is one you'll be asked to make again and again. Adapted from Ina Garten and Epicurious.
photo styling: Paige Wassel | photography: Hartman Pictures
Beef tenderloin. Do those two words intimidate you? Trust me, friend, they won't after you read this post. I've got some foolproof roasting tips that are going to make you feel a whole lot better. Beef tenderloin is less scary when it's followed by the word "slider," right? Sliders are so friendly and when they're filled with beef tenderloin? Come. On. A beef tenderloin slider is something special and I have a hard time resisting it on a menu.
And when you tote this beauty to a gathering? You better put on a bumper suit 'cuz there's gonna be a stampede.
I am a big recipe researcher. I love reading lots of recipes to figure out the best way to make a dish successful without too much fuss. That being said, I am a big blender of techniques and recipes from many of my favorite chefs, magazines and bloggers.This beef tenderloin slider is a combo of an old Epicurious recipe with Ina Garten's classic beef tenderloin preparation method and my sauces. Separately, they are so good. Together they rock. On to the sandwich.
Fast and high like Ina's recipe above. Or a combo of both.
You can prepare it so many ways. Frankly, the key to the best beef tenderloin depends on the quality of the beef. And beef tenderloin typically is high quality BECAUSE it's beef tenderloin. That's my theory. I have paid more; I have paid less. And more isn't always better— but sometimes it can be. Wagyu -I see you. And the technique you use to roast it isn't going to ruin it but overcooking it can. See what I mean? Lots of ways to cook a beef tenderloin which can be overwhelming.
The secret to the best beef tenderloin recipe
One word - thermometer. If you don't have one, don't make this recipe (or any other) without a good meat thermometer.
Here's the old school skinny:
- Invest in a thermometer from a tried-and-true brand like Taylor, preferably without too many bells and whistles. You don't need a digital or one that connects to your phone or talks to you. A classic thermometer with numbers and a hand is best because there's less to break.
- Get a backup thermometer because sometimes even the best malfunctions. I can't tell you how many holidays I worked at Williams-Sonoma where customers would come in and say their beef and dinner were ruined because their thermometer broke.
- Test your thermometer- ideally before the big event.
Preparing the beef
- For any roast, it's crucial that the meat is trimmed, especially the silver strip in beef tenderloin. If your beef isn't trimmed, ask your butcher to do it. Sometimes there is a surcharge, but trust me, it's worth it so you don't lose any of that pricey, beautiful meat. You want to eat it, not pitch it.
- Once you have your meat trimmed, pat it completely dry with paper towels.
- Brush it with olive oil or in my recipe's case, butter and Dijon.
- Season it well with salt and pepper.
- You can truss the beef to even out the roast and give you nice even pieces when slicing. You do that by tucking the narrower end under and tying it securely with twine. Cut off the excess twine.
How to roast beef tenderloin
On to the preparing the beef tenderloin recipe...
- Blend some softened butter with Dijon mustard. It's ok if the mixture isn't perfectly smooth. Starting with one side, smear half of the Dijon butter all over the beef with a spreader.
- Next, liberally season the first side with lots of salt and pepper. To be honest, the amounts in the recipe are just a suggestion. Go with your family's tastes and preferences.
- Dress your seasoned beef up with some chopped parsley. Or don't. This is an optional step — my finished beef tenderloin sliders don't have parsley. I like options. Instead of parsley, I topped the sandwiches with arugula which adds another layer of pepper and a nice crunch.
- Roast the beef on high for 25 minutes at 500˚. Open a window a bit and turn on the fan. You'll want good ventilation and a pretty clean oven.
Oh gosh. This sandwich is good stuff.
The best condiments for beef tenderloin
You didn't think I could make a sandwich with just beef and bread, did you? This beef tenderloin slider demands just a little more mustard or maybe a tich of blue cheese, dontchya think?
Since I am a girl who likes options, I offer you two: dijon horseradish sauce and a chunky blue cheese dressing. Many times I dress half the sandwiches with each and I label them with a little homemade flag or stand which my kids would call "boujie." I just think it's polite.
TBH, it doesn't matter what you label them with because the sandwiches will be gone pretty darn quick.
And the peppery arugula? Over the top perfect. I'd advise stockpiling a few sandwiches or at least some of the beef for the next day. You're gonna want it.
Grab your favorite bread. Slider rolls work great for a big party; brioche rolls add an unbeatable richness; French bread cut into rolls make a hearty serving. Any way you slice it, this beef tenderloin is yummo whether eaten sans bread or with it!
Now about those sauces...
I am blue cheese obsessed. My kids add ranch to everything; I add blue cheese. And this blue cheese dressing, sauce, spread... whatever you call it. Forget the bottled stuff. This is THE best blue cheese dressing, if I say so myself.
For another option, I present an equally good Dijon horseradish sauce adapted from the Epicurious recipe. Use full fat sour cream for extra richness.
Absolutely! I have made it up to a day ahead, refrigerate it and then let it come to room temp before assembling the sliders.
I promise - you won't notice the mustard but if mustard just isn't possible, you can use the same amount of mayonnaise.
If possible, start out with 500˚ and then if you need to lower it, don't lower it any lower than 425˚. This will guarantee the beef has a nice crust. And make sure that your oven is fairly clean before roasting the beef.
What goes with beef tenderloin?
For a crew:
Roast a whole tenderloin. Use slider buns and after cutting beef into nice thick slices, cut each slice in half or thirds depending on the width of the slices. Spread the slider buns with spread of your choice. Top with arugula for great peppery flavor and crunch.
For a few:
Pick up a smaller tenderloin at the market either packaged or have your butcher cut the amount you need. I have done 2 lb roasts and they make enough sandwiches for 2 beautifully and some leftovers. For a satisfying dinner, make a salad with the leftovers with a mix of crisp lettuce and arugula and some crumbled blue cheese and cherry tomatoes.
Beef Tenderloin Sliders
- 1 3-4 lb beef tenderloin
- 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup parsley, chopped, optional
- fresh arugula, washed and dried
- Preheat oven to 500°
- Pat beef dry with paper towels. Place on baking sheet.
- Meanwhile, mix softened butter and mustard together in a small bowl. Spread half of the mixture over one side of the beef with a spatula or spreader. You can use your hands but it gets messy and a lot of butter ends up on your hands and not the beef.
- Season the first half with half of the salt and pepper. Add chopped parsley if using.
- Turn the beef over. Repeat Steps 3 & 4.
- Roast in preheated oven for 25 minutes until thermometer reaches 135° for medium rare. It might take a little longer depending on your oven. If you want rare, roast to 125° and medium 140°.
- Remove from oven and rest for approximately 15 minutes. The beef will continue to cook while it rests.
- Slice ¼ to ½" thick. For sandwiches, you can slice it thinner if you prefer.
- Clean your oven before roasting as this is a high heat. And i suggest opening a window so as not to set off a smoke alarm.
- Serve with Horseradish Dijon sauce or Blue Cheese Spread.
- Don't tent with foil too tightly so that the crust stays crispy.
- Make Ahead Tip: You can roast the beef the day before and bring to room temperature for serving. I usually assemble the sandwiches placing the beef on the rolls for a buffet and have guests add their sauce or spread of choice.
Blue Cheese Dressing
- ½ cup sour cream, Greek yogurt fine as well
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tbsp mayonnnaise
- 2 oz gorgonzola, maytag or rocquefort blue cheese, crumbled
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 2 tsp lemon juice, squeezed from ½ of a lemon
- 1 small squirt of sriracha, optional
- Combine first four ingredients in a medium bowl. Add blue cheese. Stir to combine. Add seasonings and adjust if necessary. For a pop of heat and bite of flavor, add sriracha. Can be made in advance. Refrigerate up to a week.
- Dip / Thicker version: use ⅛ cup of milk
Mustard and Horseradish Sauce
- 1 cup sour cream, Greek yogurt works too
- 3 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
- 2 Tbsp prepared horseradish, not sauce; you want just horseradish
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together until combined. Refrigerate until ready to use. Can be made 2 days ahead.