Christmas Grilled Beef Tenderloin

Unlike Thanksgiving, Christmas has no set expectation for the the holiday meal. Ham and turkey are Christmas favorites, and sides and desserts are usually whatever the chef wants to serve. At our house, the centerpiece of the Christmas dinner is a beef tenderloin grilled on the Weber (charcoal briquettes; no gas!). We’ve been serving this for more than a decade, and it’s always a favorite.

I found this recipe in the same Williams-Sonoma book as the grill-roasted turkey. It called for a wet marinade with red wine and a bunch of herbs. Well, I’m not a big fan of cooking with wine, and I replaced the various herbs with rosemary from my garden.


Drip pan
Meat thermometer
Kitchen knife
Cutting board
Big pan
Small bowl
Zester or cheese grater


1 beef tenderloin. 6 lbs. will be enough for 10 people, plus leftovers
2 rosemary branches, about 6 inches long (will yield about 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon of bottled minced garlic (2 cloves)
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Lemon zest from 1 lemon
Olive oil


2:30 before serving
– Start the coals.
– Remove the rosemary leaves from the rosemary branches (easy way: grab the tip of the rosemary branch with one hand; pull your other hand toward the cut end; leaves will fall off easily).
– Chop the rosemary leaves.
– Stir together rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper and lemon zest.
– Remove the tenderloin from the refrigerator.
– If the tenderloin is too long for the grill, cut in half.
– Rub tenderloin with olive oil.
– Rub oiled tenderloin with the rosemary/garlic/salt/pepper/zest mixture.

1:45 prior to serving
– Move half the hot coals to one side, half to the other.
– Place the drip pan in the middle.
– Add more coals to the fire and fill in around the drip pan.
– Brown all sides of the tenderloin (directly over the coals).
– Place the browned tenderloin over the drip pan and cover the grill.

1:10 prior to serving
– Check the temperature of the tenderloin
– 130F for rate (should take about 40 minutes)
– 140F for medium (should take about 5 minutes)

Remove tenderloin from the grill when it is cooked to your liking.
Cover tenderloin with foil and let sit at least 15 minutes before carving.
If tenderloin is done early, let it sit longer.
Carve 15 minutes prior to serving.

Tenderloin Carving


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