The tenderloin from any animal is such a prized piece of meat, you want to make sure you honor your harvest by cooking it perfectly! Sous vide is an (almost) fool-proof method to ensure your meat is cooked perfectly every time. Topping the meat with a flavorful herb butter really makes this dish come together for a stunning meal. If you've been looking for the perfect recipe to use for this special cut of meat, you've come to the right place!
Why This Recipe Works:
Tenderloin, whether from elk, deer, moose, antelope, or even beef can be difficult to cook evenly due to its cylindrical shape. Cooking tenderloins sous vide is the perfect cooking method because it ensures the entire piece of meat reaches the desired temperature.
Since tenderloin is so tender and delicious, it doesn't need much to shine. However, adding some flavorful compound butter can really take this steak (or any steak) to the next level. The flavors of the fresh herbs and shallots melt into the meat as it rests to create a delicious combination of flavors that will definitely do your tenderloin justice!
- Elk Tenderloin: This recipe uses elk tenderloin but the method will work for just about any cut of steak.
- Butter: If you're cooking this special cut of meat, you might as well use a high-quality butter to top it with! I used Kerrygold butter but there are a lot of other high quality European style butters that work great too.
- Sous Vide Machine: While you don't technically need a sous vide machine to cook sous vide, it does take a lot of the guesswork out of it. If you don't have a sous vide machine but still want to give it a go, check out this resource on how to get delicious results when you sous vide without a cooker.
- Vacuum Sealer: Sous vide cooking works well when the bag contents are vacuum-sealed. But, you can put the ingredients into a ziploc bag, close the bag almost all the way, submerge the bag to remove the air, and then fully seal the bag for similar results.
- Cast Iron Griddle: This recipe uses a griddle due to the size and shape of the tenderloin, but you can also use a skillet with a little creativity. Cast iron works best because it holds the heat but you can use a non-stick griddle or skillet as well.
Step by Step Instructions:
How To Make Rosemary Shallot Compound Butter:
Compound butter is such an easy way to add a ton of flavor to your steak. It can also be used on other meats, veggies, and bread! This one is packed with flavor from fresh rosemary and shallots. The combination of the two flavors make a fantastic topping for any steak!
Pro Tip: If you want to skip the step of rolling and slicing the butter, just spoon some of the mixed butter on top of your steak instead!
How to Freeze Compound Butter:
If you're going to go through the effort of making compound butter, you might as well make a big batch to use in the future! This recipe makes 16 servings (more or less) so you'll have plenty to save for later. Trust me, you'll be happy to have some on hand for future steak nights!
Pro Tip: To cut down on plastic, place all of your butter portions into one vacuum bag. Remove the portions as you need them and reseal the bag!
How to Make Sous Vide Elk Tenderloin:
Sous vide is the perfect cooking method for tenderloin because it ensures an even cooking temperature throughout the meat. While it sounds fancy, it really is easy to do! See below for step by step instructions.
Pro Tip: Preheat the sous vide machine 5-10 degrees lower than your desired final temperature. This ensures the meat doesn't get overcooked when you sear it.
Putting it All Together:
Now that you have a stunning entree, all you need are a few simple sides for a delicious meal. Some roasted vegetables like this cauliflower recipe or Brussels sprouts with bacon are an excellent choice. If you're looking for something special to go with, this French onion soup is a great pairing as well. However you choose to serve it, you're going to love this elk tenderloin recipe!
Sous vide translates to "under vacuum" and is a cooking method where the ingredients are placed into a sealed bag and cooked in a water bath at a constant temperature. The result is very evenly cooked food because the water bath keeps the temperature of the food at the same temperature as the water.
Elk tenderloin is very lean and should be cooked rare to medium-rare to stay moist and tender.
Compound butter is butter mixed with flavorful ingredients like spices, herbs, garlic, etc. to create a flavorful topping for meats, vegetables, bread, and more.
Other Recipes to Try:
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Sous Vide Elk Tenderloin with Rosemary Shallot Compound Butter
- 1 whole elk tenderloin
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoon salted butter, cut into 4 slices
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon pork lard
- 8 oz salted butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoon shallot, finely diced
- 1 ½ tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely diced
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, with the butter on the bottom. Using a spoon or silicone spatula, fold butter over the other ingredients until all ingredients are uniformly combined.
- Lay out a piece of parchment paper, about 14" long. Spread butter into a rough rectangle, about 9-10" long and 4-5" wide.
- Starting on the long end closest to you, roll the parchment paper so that the butter starts to fold over itself. Keep rolling until the butter is formed into a log.
- Roll until the parchment paper completely covers the log. Squeeze tightly to compact the butter. Twist the ends of the parchment paper tightly. Refrigerate until firm, about 2-3 hours.
- Once firm, unwrap and slice into 16 slices (more or less, depending on how much you want per serving). Run your knife under hot water before slicing to make smooth cuts.
- Place slices in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined pan and refrigerate until ready to use.
- To Freeze: place slices in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined pan. Freeze until solid, about 2-3 hours. Wrap individual portions in parchment paper and vacuum seal. I like to do 2 slices per portion for 1 meal. You can place multiple portions in a single layer and reseal the bag after taking 1 portion out. Or you can do one portion per bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to use, cut open vacuum bag and thaw under refrigeration. Opening the bag before thawing will help the butter keep its shape.
- Preheat sous vide machine to 115°F.
- Season steak all over with salt and pepper.
- Place rosemary, butter, and garlic cloves in the vacuum bag then place steak in the bag.
- Seal bag with vacuum sealer.
- Place bag in preheated water bath and cook for 1.5-2 hours.
- When meat has about 5 minutes left in the water bath, preheat a cast iron griddle over high heat. Watch it carefully so it doesn't start smoking.
- Remove bag from water bath. Cut bag open with scissors and remove meat. Remove the rosemary sprig and garlic and carefully pat the meat dry. Re-season with salt and pepper if it looks like it has lost the seasoning.
- Once pan is really hot, add lard and let melt. Immediately add the steak. You can also place the garlic cloves and rosemary in the lard to flavor it. Cook on all sides for approximately 30 seconds. You want the pan hot enough to brown the meat in a short amount of time without overcooking it.
- Since tenderloin is round, sear it on at least 4 sides but be careful not to leave it on the griddle too long or it will overcook.
- Remove from pan and place 4+ slices of compound butter on top. Let rest 10 minutes. Slice into ½" slices and serve with additional compound butter, if desired.
- While you don't technically need a sous vide machine to cook sous vide, it does take a lot of the guesswork out of it. If you don't have a sous vide machine but still want to give it a go, check out this resource on how to get delicious results when you sous vide without a cooker.
- Sous vide cooking works well when the bag contents are vacuum-sealed. But, you can put the ingredients into a ziploc bag, close the bag almost all the way, submerge the bag to remove the air, and then fully seal the bag for similar results.
- This recipe uses a griddle due to the size and shape of the tenderloin, but you can also use a skillet with a little creativity. Cast iron works best because it holds the heat but you can use a non-stick griddle or skillet as well.
- If you want to skip the step of rolling and slicing the butter, just spoon some of the mixed butter on top of your steak instead!
- Preheat the sous vide machine 5-10 degrees lower than your desired final temperature. This ensures the meat doesn't get overcooked when you sear it.
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