What is a tenderloin? The whole tenderloin explained

Tenderloin is a premium cut of beef that is known for its tender and juicy texture. It is one of the most expensive cuts of beef and is often reserved for special occasions or high-end restaurants. In this article, we explain everything you need to know about the tenderloin.

Tenderloin steak on a plate with vegetables


The tenderloin is located in the loin region of the cow and is considered to be the most tender muscle due to its lack of connective tissue. When it comes to purchasing a whole tenderloin, there are a few different parts to be aware of.

Picture of uncooked tenderloin steaks

The parts and their characteristics

The whole tenderloin is a long, cylindrical muscle that runs along the spine of the cow. It is typically sold as a single piece and can weigh anywhere from 1 to 5 kilograms. The first part of the tenderloin is the butt, also known as the head or thick end. This is the larger end of the muscle and is located closer to the rear of the cow. The butt is wider and thicker than the other end of the tenderloin and is often used to make filet mignon steaks.

The second part of the tenderloin is the tail, also known as the thin end. This is the narrower end of the muscle and is located closer to the front of the cow. The tail is thinner and smaller than the butt and is often used to make tournedos or medallions. It is also sometimes used to make beef stroganoff or other dishes where smaller pieces of meat are desired.

In addition to the butt and tail, there is also a section of the tenderloin known as the chain. The chain is a thin, sinewy strip of meat that runs along the side of the tenderloin. It is often removed from the tenderloin and sold separately as a cut of meat. The chain is considered to be one of the most flavorful parts of the tenderloin, although it can be tough if not cooked properly.

A chef holding a whole tenderloin

How to prepare a whole tenderloin

When it comes to preparing a whole tenderloin, there are a few different ways to do it. One option is to leave the tenderloin whole and roast it in the oven. This is a great option for special occasions or dinner parties, as it allows you to serve a large group of people with a single piece of meat. Another option is to cut the tenderloin into smaller pieces and grill or pan-sear them. This is a great option for more casual meals or when you want to enjoy the tenderloin in smaller portions.

Picture of a filet mignon with vegetables


Regardless of how you choose to prepare it, a whole tenderloin is a delicious and versatile cut of beef that is sure to impress. Whether you're serving it for a special occasion or just enjoying it with family and friends, the different parts of the tenderloin offer a range of flavors and textures that are sure to please. Find our tenderloin steaks in our webshop!

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