Smokey Bison Tenderloin
Tenderloin is the holy grail of red meat. It doesn't matter what animal it comes from. It's rich in flavor, unbelievably tender, and absolutely heavenly to eat. It's almost impossible to ruin a tenderloin, but there are things you can do to ensure that this expensive cut of meat reaches its full potential. Read on to find out how to cook a tenderloin in a way that will create memories you and your guests will never forget. Ingredients: 3-4 Bison Tenderloin. You could use beef or elk or just about anything, but this particular recipe is for bison. It will work for anything, but it's optimized for bison. For best results you want a thick cut of meat. At least 2". This is not a steak you cut 3/4" thick. To protect the juices and the tenderness leave the steak a full 2" thick. 3-4 Clove of Garlic. This needs to be fresh garlic. You just spent a day's wages on tenderloins for you and your guests. Don't cheapen it by using garlic powder. 1/4 Yellow Onion. This could be any onion, but it tastes best with a sweet variety. 3 Tbs. Spice Rub. If you haven't read our post on spice rub, you need to. A good rub is essential to unlocking the flavor. Don't use a store bought rub. Spice rubs are quick and easy to make and you need to make it to your taste. 3 Tbs. Olive Oil. You want to use olive oil here (not vegetable oil) because olive oil has a higher "smoke" temperature. Meaning that vegetable oil "burns" at a lower temperature. It can be any type of olive oil, cheap or expensive, virgin or not, but it must be olive oil. 1/2 lb. of the hardwood chunks of your choice. This can be any hardwood but you don't ever use pine or fir or something like that. Conifers have creosote and other chemicals that don't taste good and aren't good for you. So use hardwood. Instructions: First, take the steaks out of the fridge at least 2 hours before you want to cook them. This is not optional. The steaks must be at room temperature to get an acceptable result. If you take a 2" thick piece of meat from the fridge and put it on the grill, the outside 1/2" on both sides will be well done and the middle will be raw. Don't do that! Just plan ahead. You spent a lot of money on the best cut of meat money can buy, plan ahead. You'll want to put your wood chunks in a bowl of water and let them soak while your meat is coming to room temperature. This is not a big deal. Yes, it will float, so not all of it will be submerged. Don't worry, just give it a mix as you walk by and it will be fine. Finely mince the garlic and onion (as fine as possible) and put in a zip lock bag with the spices. Next put some of the olive oil in your hands and rub it on the steaks. You don't want the steaks dripping in oil. You just want a thin film that will help the spices stick to the meat. When the steaks are oiled, put them in the bag with the spices and give them a good toss. One by one take the steaks out of the bag and vigorously rub the spices into the meat. Don't be shy about this. That's why they call it a rub and not a sprinkle. Set the meat aside for at least 30 minutes to let the spices penetrate the meat and you're ready to cook. Heat the grill to 500 degrees. Sear the meat for about 30-50 seconds on each side and remove from the grill. You want to cook at about 200 degrees. Turn the grill to low and leave the lid open and the grill will quickly cool down. When it's at 200 degrees, you're ready to cook. Start by putting the soaked wood chunks directly on the fire. They will smoke and steam and that's what you want. Put the meat back on the grill, making sure it's not over the direct flame. We're going to cook it with indirect heat. Shut the lid and cook until medium rare. If you are confident in the "touch" method of cooking steaks, great. Use that. If not, you can insert a resident thermometer in the thickest part of the steak before cooking and leave it there. The steaks are done when they reach about 130 degrees. If you use a thermometer, don't pull it out until you are done cooking and the meat has rested. The final step, when the meat is done cooking is to let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Don't worry. It's not going to get cold. It's 2" thick. It will take half an hour to cool off. Failure to rest the meat after cooking will result in all the juices running out onto the plate when you cut the meat. You've seen it. A big puddle on the plate, soaking the veggies and potato and everything else. Don't do that. Just let it rest. It will be perfect if you do. Cooking your meat like this will result in a perfectly cooked, perfectly spiced, and perfectly tender cut of meat. There is nothing that compares with tenderloin, especially when it's cooked to perfection. Give this recipe a try and let us know what you think. We're confident it will be the best red meat you've ever eaten. Let us know how you like it!