This is such a reliable recipe and it never fails to please. Roast a large cut so that you can have slices of cold buttery beef the next day.

Roast the next day. It looks and taste much better than any roast beef from a delicatessen.

This recipe first appeared under my post “Roast Beef Tea Sandwiches” – a sandwich inspired by a trip to the iconic English Tea Room at Brown’s Hotel, Mayfair, London. Their roast beef tea sandwiches came with a sliver of beetroot. It was a nice addition. I have had requests to separate the sandwich recipe from the roast beef recipe. So I have listened and here it is, a stand alone recipe for these wonderful Deli-style Roast Beef with a wonderful round pink middle. Good hot out of the oven or cold the next day.

Deli Style Roast Beef Tenderloin

Prep: 15 minutes 
Cook: 4 minutes to sear beef plus 25 minutes (+/- 5 minutes) to roast.  ~5 minutes per 3.5 oz (100 g) beef @ 250F (125C).
Inactive: 20 – 30 minutes to rest beef before slicing
Level: Get a thermometer and its Easy! Please read my ‘Tips’ section below.
Serves: ~ 3 – 4 
Oven Temperature: 250F (125C)
Can recipe be doubled? Yes, roast 2 similar size rolls of tenderloin and not one big roll. Cooking time would be somewhat the same give or take 5 – 10 minutes.
Make ahead? Beef can be roasted and refrigerated up to 2 days ahead. I prefer to roast it ahead. The beef will have rested well and upon slicing, look like something bought from a top end delicatessen but taste much better.

Ingredients

1.2 lbs (550g) beef tenderloin*
Wet Rub
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp oil
1 and 1/2 tsp of Soy Sauce/Tamari/Bragg**
Others
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
~ 2 Tablespoons oil
* Try to get a cut of beef that is more or less evenly sized throughout its length (ask for the centre cut), do not get the end cuts as those tend to taper off. If you can, have your butcher tie the roll of beef tenderloin.
** Tenderloin beef while very tender is milder in flavour compared to other cuts of beef. Rubbing Soy Sauce/Tamari/Bragg gives it the extra depth of flavour that it needs. Do not skip. 

Method

Preparing beef for roasting
1. Turn on the oven to 250F (125C), oven rack adjusted to middle shelf.
2. Bring your beef to room temperature.
3. If you have an oven safe frying pan this is the time to use it. If you do not have one, you need a frying pan that is preferably nonstick AND a roasting/baking tray preferably nonstick that will fit the beef tenderloin.
4. If you are using a roasting/baking tray, place it in the cold oven to heat up as your oven heats up.
5. If you were unable to have the butcher tie up the beef, it is easy to do it yourself if you have butcher’s twine.
6. The simplest way is to tie a dead knot at 1″(2.5cm) intervals. The reason for tying the beef is to get your beef into a somewhat uniform size for even cooking, especially if you were unable to get a centre cut whereupon you would then have to fold down and under, the narrower, tapered end of the meat giving you a somewhat even sized roll. If you have no butcher’s twine, you should be fine without tying the meat. With such a small roll of beef, the beef should already be fairly evenly sized throughout.

The Wet Rub and salting & peppering
1. Wet rub: Mix the soy sauce, mustard and oil. Set aside.
2. Only when your pan is hot do you rub ~1 Tablespoon of oil over beef and salt & pepper it. Salt it too early and the beef juices will run.

Searing the beef
1. When the oven is hot enough, heat up your frying pan until it is very hot. If your are not using a nonstick pan, grease the pan with ~1/2 Tablespoon of oil.
2. In that very hot pan, sear each side of beef for no longer than 30 – 60 seconds. It really depends on the circumference of the cut. The one in the image above took ~45 seconds per side. Once there is nice browning, that would be the time to turn.
3. There are 4 sides so that means no longer than a total of 4 minutes. I would usually take only 30 – 45 seconds to sear the last side (again depending on the circumference of the cut) as the beef would have sat a little longer (hence have more cook time) in the hot pan. Do not leave beef any longer than necessary in the hot pan. Otherwise, you might not achieve the nice pink centre on the tenderloin.

Transfer from hot pan and apply Wet Rub (Soy sauce, Mustard, Oil)
1. You must remove beef from the hot pan to avoid over searing the beef.
2. Transfer beef to an awaiting plate, apply the Wet Rub.
3. As I use an oven-safe cast-iron pan to sear, I transfer beef back to that pan and bake in the oven. If you are using a preheated roasting/baking tray, transfer beef to that and bake. Remember: If the tray is not nonstick, grease it with ~1/2 Tablespoon oil before sitting beef on it.

Roasting
1. For a meat this size, you want to roast it for about 25 minutes (+/- 5 minutes) to medium rare. It works out to be about 5 minutes per 3.5 oz (100 g) @  250F (125C). It will continue to cook when you take it out from the oven and as it tents under aluminium foil.
2. 5 minutes before beef is supposed to be ready, use a meat thermometer to check that the meat registers an internal temperature of 135F (55C – 60C) at its thickest part. If you do not have a thermometer, carefully prod the meat at its thickest part with your index finger.  It should feel the same way as when you prod the fleshiest part of your open palm -for me, that’s the flesh that sits 3″ – 4″ (7.6 -10cm) down from the tip of your pinkie finger. That’s is my personal test for beef cooked to medium rare. Read the ‘Tip’ section below to find out how you can accurately get meat cooked to the level of ‘doneness’ that you like each and every time.

Remove and rest the roast beef
1. Once the beef reaches a temperature of 135F (55C – 60C), transfer it to a plate and tent loosely with aluminium foil. Leave it alone for at least 20 – 30 minutes before slicing.
2. Do not leave it on the roasting/baking tray or oven-safe pan or the beef will continue to cook in the residual heat. Tenderloin is a very lean cut of meat and when over cooked (even slightly) will be very dry and quite tasteless. Better to under than over cook. You can cook the beef briefly if you find it too rare. When the roast has rested its 20 – 30 minutes, slice into thin slices or refrigerate whole and slice later.

Tips

(1) The best advice I can give you to get meat done the way you like is to purchase a meat thermometer  
Think of it this way. Beef is expensive. Beef tenderloin is one of the more expensive cuts of beef. It would be a pure waste of effort and money to have beef not done to your liking and worse, overcooked and inedible because you lacked a thermometer which is cheap compared to the price you paid for the meat. Get a thermometer.

(2) Invest in an oven-proof thermometer (probe thermometer)
You need only insert the thermometer once into the thickest part of the meat at the beginning of cooking. ‘Oven-proof’ means you can leave it in the meat throughout the cooking process and check on how the meat is fairing whenever necessary. You can not leave an instant-read thermometer in the oven. As its name suggest, it reads the meat temperature for an instant and then you have to remove it. I do not recommend instant-read thermometers as that repeated skewering into the meat draws out a lot of meat juices and dries up the meat. Go for an oven-proof thermometer.

(3) Leftover beef
If you have any leftover beef, they are great in sandwiches, to top on ramen… but I really just eat them straight out from the fridge. Sliced cold roast beef is so delicious.

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