Beef Tenderloin and Cabernet Sauvignon

Beef tenderloin is my very favorite cut of meat.

And it scares me to death.

Beef tenderloin can be culinary bliss or if cooked improperly, the most expensive mistake you’ll ever make.

So, when I recently prepared a beef tenderloin dinner to celebrate having the twins and their parents in town, I turned to the wise and wonderful Barefoot Contessa for advice.

Seriously, is there anyone better at instilling confidence in home cooks than Ina Garten? Her soothing voice. Her “keep calm and trust me” demeanor.

She is simply the best.

Ina’s recipe for beef tenderloin calls for four ingredients.

  • 5-pound beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
  • 2 Tablespoons of butter at room temperature
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Ok, that’s the easy part.

I’ve made beef tenderloin enough to know the drill: take the meat out of the refrigerator several hours before cooking to let it come up to temperature, slather the tenderloin with butter, generously salt and pepper, place in a roasting pan and you are ready to go.

The very, very, very tricky part of cooking a beef tenderloin is the temperature at which to cook it.

A Google search for “how to roast a 5-pound beef tenderloin” brings results ranging from 250° to 500°.

Quite the range, eh?

Now you know why I turned to my culinary spirit animal, Ina Garten.

I will let the expert show you how it’s done.

Our crowd favors “rare” so I cooked my tenderloin at 500° for EXACTLY 22 minutes as Ina instructs here.

It turned out perfectly as I knew it would and we gobbled it up before I thought to snap a picture.

One little side note.

Because I was terrified of overcooking the main course, I used not one but two meat thermometers.

The standard, every kitchen should have one, old-school meat thermometer

Mocadeaux - meat thermometer

and the fancy-pants, set it and forget it, remote meat thermometer.

Mocadeaux - remote meat thermometer

Both were brand new as my old ones had gone caput within days of one another.

At the precise 22 minute mark, the low-tech thermometer registered a few ticks below 130°, just where I wanted it to be.

However, the high-tech device registered an alarming 86°! If I had relied just on that thermometer without the backup thermometer and the guidance of my mentor, Ina, my precious tenderloin would have been destroyed. Shoe leather.

Lessons learned: Always have a backup thermometer and always trust Ina.

Now, about the wine…

A dinner featuring my favorite meat needed to also feature my favorite wine – Cabernet Sauvignon.

Peter reached deep into the wine cellar and picked out two gems.

2007 Quintessa Cabernet Sauvignon

Mocadeaux - 2007 Quintessa Cabernet Sauvignon


2009 Darius II Cabernet Sauvignon

Mocadeaux - 2009 Darius II

Both of these beautiful wines are definitely special occasion gems pulled from the top shelf of our cellar. But you can find great bottles of cabernet sauvignon at your local wine store. Always remember to ask the staff for suggestions.

Check out my recommendations, including “Everyday Cabernet Sauvignons”Chimney Rock which always rocks and “A Red Wine Lovers List of Red Wines I Love”.

Mocadeaux - red wine list

With a perfectly cooked beef tenderloin and a thoughtfully chosen Cabernet Sauvignon, you can’t go wrong.

By the way, be sure to send a note letting me know when dinner will be served. I wouldn’t want to be late!

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  1. Thank the Lord I don’t have to worry about temps or anything, thanks to the Mister. I LOVE Beef Tenderloin!! Enjoy your weekend, Mo.

  2. I’m sure the Darius II tasted lovely, but even if it didn’t, that is one of the prettiest wine bottles I have ever seen!
    Vicki recently posted…Baked Coconut Doughnuts – Pinterest Success {42}My Profile

  3. The best celebratory dinner ever!!

  4. I ALWAYS trust Ina’s recipes.
    Kathy G recently posted…Outlet Treasure HuntingMy Profile

  5. The barefoot Quintessa! Yes. So delighted the wine and the meat turned out perfectly, Mo. I have to say that she and her husband remind me a little of you and yours. Truly. Can you imagine if you got to meet them? I think you’d get along like a baked alaska on fire.
    Thanks for the brilliant tip on the two thermometers too. I need all the help I can get …
    Kelly L McKenzie recently posted…All One Needs Is A Little PerspectiveMy Profile

    • Hahaha! I never made that connection – Contessa, Quintessa! If I ever had the opportunity to meet Ina and Jeffrey I would likely be so gobsmacked that I’d instantly turn into a babbling idiot. One can dream, though…
      Mo Lux recently posted…Places To VisitMy Profile

  6. Always trust Ina? Just love her too – she’s been a kitchen fairy for years. Meat thermometers and Ina sound like trusty companions.

  7. Well, yum!! Now I need beef tenderloin! And Cabernet!
    I have noticed that my fancy digital thermometer is less than accurate – it told me a turkey was done after only 20 minutes! I have taken to trusting those culinary gurus – Ina is great and Mark Bittman is also a good go to.
    Laura Ehlers recently posted…Not My Uncle’s Lake of the OzarksMy Profile

    • I really want to trust my fancy remote thermometer but it has shown itself to be a fickle friend, letting me down more than I’d like. Once again, humans like Ina and Mark prove to be superior to machines!
      Mo Lux recently posted…Places To VisitMy Profile

  8. Mmm. Looks like it was a fantastic dinner!
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  9. Love Ina Garten, you can’t go wrong with her recipes. And this one look delish! I’ll be trying it.
    Elizabeth recently posted…7 Wine Storage Solutions for Your Tiny Living SpaceMy Profile

  10. My hubby and I have steak night every friday night. Only night of the week that we eat red meat and we always do it up right! Huge rib eyes or bone in tenderloin. And when the kids are all in I always do a whole tenderloin. Mouth watering just thinking about it!
    And I am a cabernet ho!!! Only wine I really ever drink. sometimes a duckhorn sauvignon most reds every day of the week for me. Oops, that makes me sound like a lush, eh??!!!!!
    Nah……I just love wine. Good for the heart ya know!!
    I would give anything to visit your wine cellar…….I would rather shop for wine than nice clothes….heheheheh!
    janey recently posted…Yeah Baby!!!!My Profile

    • Cabernet lovers unite!! I always say that I’ve never met a red wine variety that I didn’t like. Our cellar is probably 80% red which draws us to eating more red meat than we probably should. I’m counting on the wine to counteract the ill effects of the meat. Sounds good, right?
      Mo Lux recently posted…Places To VisitMy Profile

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