Friday, December 9, 2016

Salt-Crusted Beef Tenderloin – No Lomo

I received a food wish for lomo al trapo a while back, which I learned is a Colombian method for cooking beef tenderloin. The meat is encased in salt, wrapped in a kitchen towel, and then set on top of hot coals. 

Crediting the intense heat, and salt crust, aficionados of this Colombian technique say it produces the juiciest, most flavorful beef tenderloin you’ve ever had.

It really sounded amazing, and I wanted to try it, but realized many of you would have trouble explaining why you were destroying a perfectly good kitchen towel in the process. So, I decided to try a towel-free salt crust technique I’d used successfully on prime rib before, and despite some minor aesthetic issues, it worked amazingly well.

Beef tenderloin is a lean cut of meat, which can make for a fairly boring roast, but that was not the case here. The tenderloin took on an intensely beefy flavor, and was so juicy that I thought something was wrong.  There was so much on the cutting board, I was afraid there wouldn’t be any left in the meat, but I’m happy to report every single bite was dripping with moisture.

Maybe this summer, when the grill is fired up, and I have one too many kitchen towels around, I’ll try the real lomo al trapo technique, but in the meantime I was thrilled with how this came out, and really hope you give it a try soon. Stay tuned for the béarnaise sauce video, and as always, enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
2 pound center-cut beef tenderloin roast
1 garlic clove crushed
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 egg white
about 3 cups coarse-ground sea salt

40 comments:

Kelsey said...

My husband and I always do lomo al trapo on weekend canoe trips, I can't wait to try this at home version! Thanks Chef John!

Lemon Chiffon Cake said...

Can you use kosher salt in place of coarse ground sea salt?

juglar del zipa said...

thanks, chef john!

this is very useful! not only you may not want to ruin a kitchen towel but you may not have a fireplace or a coal barbecue. great alternative!

indeed you get very good results with the "tenderloin à la towel" method. but in this case you used something colombian barbecuers would rarely use: a probe thermometer. people in colombia don't like juicy meat. now, wether you're using a towel or not, you're attempting to make a ceramical cover for the meat that prevents the heat to be that agressive. it's the same principle you see in clay chicken or clay fish. or the "tender by the bone" thing.

thanks again!

ps. i guess you meant "no trapo" for the title.

Brian Beezley said...

Do you think the same technique would work well with a pork tenderloin? Can't wait to try this on my traeger!

Vincent said...

Chef John I think you mean Colombian not Columbian.

Patricia Watts said...

Would this work for a Pork Loin as well?

Justin Roa said...

Soooo, how would this fare with pork? I have a pork tenderloin just waiting for something good to happen to it.

closedepic said...

This looks fantastic! Would this technique work with pork tenderloin as well?

ja ha said...

I going to make this for Christmas. I had been trying to decide between roast and steaks. You convinced me. Thank you! How did you prepare the potatoes you served along side?

Joe Barber said...

Cooked temp aside, would this be possible with Pork tenderloin?

Jesica Davis said...

Can you shared the link to the steak sauce used in this video?

Jason Smith said...

An object of pure beauty. I swoon!

Thank you! :")

Megatron said...

Chef Jon! Love all your recipes! We tried this tonight and the outside of tenderloin was a little too salty for our liking, but the texture was absolutely perfect. Any tips for the next time we try this? We didn't make the bearnaise sauce (your video isn't up yet!) Would that have helped?

LC said...

For those of us who can't really afford tenderloin at the moment, are there other cuts we can use this technique on? Petit filet, maybe?

Leila Friel said...

Great recipe chef. We are definitely trying this tomorrow. I was curious though if you think this method would work well with any other cuts, or perhaps a pork loin?

Alexandra Leatherman said...

I have a thermometer in there, but about how long would it take to get to the same level of pink that you achieved in your video?

Ti said...

Can't wait to try. Where may I find the Bearnaise Sauce? Thanks!

Justin Daugherty said...

Hey Chef John. I dunno if I'm just missing something obvious here, but how WOULD I avoid the crust cracking with the thermometer? Placing it lower down, or not using it at all?

Gustavo Pluto said...

Hi Chef John. Do you think this technic can work with chicken breast?
Best Regards.

Roberto said...

Your headline "Salt-Crusted Beef Tenderloin – No Lomo " implies that you were preparing a burned towel while leaving the loin out. Thank goodness you chose the opposite approach.

JOHN ALBRECHT said...

Hey Chef John, I would like to try this dish for New Year's. I was wondering about practicing on a pork tenderloin. Do you think that would be too salty or have any chance of success?

mom of chef said...

Thanks so much Chef John! I have been hoping you would post a recipe for this cut of beef!! I will make soon .

TruePerception said...

So, I recently had some merlot caramels that were covered in a purple sea salt. The salt had a wonderful smokey flavor. Do you know what kind of salt it was, and would that work well with this recipe?

Jordan Carmichael said...

Hi Chef,

For those without an electronic probe, did you find you had to adjust the cooking time much compared to cooking a tenderloin cut normally?

Thanks!

About Me said...

Would this work with porkloin? My father can eat beef. Thanks!

Steve Kennedy said...

I've been thinking beef for Christmas. I better try a small one for my wife and I first.

Ms. McCarroll said...

What kind of kosher meat would you suggest as a alternative? I don't think beef tenderloin is commonly produced kosher.

Chef John said...

Thanks Vincent! I just changed!

Chef John said...

Yes, this technique will work with any cut of roasting meat. You will need to adjust the internal temp of course, depending. Enjoy!

Vincent said...

Chef John you left the 2nd Colombian word misspelled. Sorry for being such a Grammar Nazi but my family is Colombian and it astounds me how many people spell Colombia with a u.

Ed Adams said...

Chef J: Question for you I hope you can get around to answering. I made a tenderloin tonight with this technique plus also made the bernais sauce. The cook on the fillet was awesome and the bernaise was great. My salt crust looked very similar to yours and I brushed it off and I did a quick sear. However, the meat was incredibly salty and I thought perhaps the egg white coating I put on wasn't thick enough. It's the only difference I could see between mine and yours so was curious if mine was so overpowerfully salty because the egg white wasn't thick enough and left too much salt behind when removed. Does that sound plausible?

Greeter said...

I am such a novice. My meat thermometer melted in the oven. I guess it was the wrong kind. I checked it at 25 minutes and it was so tough I could hardly get the spare thermometer into it. It registered 120 degrees. I am going to hope that the 125 degree mark does the trick but it is taking a while...forgot to mention I am in Honduras...maybe the meat is tougher.

Greeter said...

Follow-up comment: So, I am writing because I really want to learn how to conquer meat. I received very little instruction on beef cuts growing up. So, my meat was thicker than yours and finally reached the desired temp. It looked like yours, ran beautiful juices aplenty after 15 minutes, but the chewing was so arguous. I chewed each bite until my jaw cramped and the top of my head hurt. Eventually I settled for enjoying the juicy flavor and the little fragments of the meat that managed to break free. But was left with a pile of little chewed meat balls on my plate. Any advice?

Chef John said...

Greeter, That was NOT tenderloin! If it was that tough, it was probably eye of round, which looks the same, but is MUCH MUCH tougher!

Jay McCollum said...

Hey Chef John, big fan here. I just made this recipe. While the beef was as tender and juicy as I could hope for, I ended up with an unfortunately salty tenderloin. I did use the egg whites to slather the tenderloin before rolling it in salt, but it can out salty none the less. What I noticed was that this particular cut that I purchased from a store that shall not be named but sounds like Few Reasons, was wrapped in twine which had left indentations into the meat. Could that have been my problem with this one? Thanks in advance for any advice you can give. I'd like to give this another run, but as a student, I'm not exactly rolling in dough to continue to fail with this one.

Alex Weber said...

Made this for Christmas dinner alongside a roast goose (had heart palpitations when the only Chef John recipe for goose I could find involved words like "involved" and "gamey, less-than-tender meat, and copious amounts of grease," but it turned out amazing, especially the Goose gravy). Fabulous! My salt wasn't super course, which made this slightly salty, but with the aforementioned goose gravy, this was still a fantastic cut of beef. Love you so much, Chef J, I would barely know how to boil water if it weren't for you.

Ltrain Bradley said...

Chef John I cooked the Salt-Crusted Beef Tenderloin for Christmas Dinner to 5 people. Followed your instructons. OMG it was perfect. Not salty at all. I had a great cut and trimmed center cut. Thank you. My friends could not believe how great this was. We had other foods but this was a hit. Thanks again.

Charlie House said...

Great recipe. I used a bottom round roast instead. I was cooking for some family members who believe beef is cooked when blackened so wasn't wasting a good cut of meat on them. Do you think it would work to use butter as the coating instead like in your prime rib recipe? Or would all the salt just run off? Really like the seasoning flavor with the butter and herb provence.

Charlie House said...

Great recipe. I used a bottom round roast. I was cooking for family who think beef is cooked when blackened so I wasn't wasting a good cut of meat on them. Do you think this recipe would work with butter as the coating like in your prime rib recipe or would all the salt just run off? I really like the flavor with the butter and herb provence. Thanks.

roger redland said...

I followed this recipe exactly and it was fabulous. I was a bit nervous after spending $70 on the meat. People said it was the best piece of meat they've ever eaten including from a restaurant.