Large Tenderloin cook time - HELP!

I am cooking two 3.5 pound center cut tenderloins tomorrow and can’t find a good answer for how long to cook and what temp. It is bigger than a steak and smaller than a roast. What I have are 3.5lb pieces that are 10" long and about 4" round all tied up. I have read 2-3 hours at 140 for medium rare and 4+ hours for roast.

Also, I have read that 134 is medium rare for steak and 140 for roast. How does this apply to tenderloin?

It’s $150 of meat and need some HELP!!! Thanks in advance!!


Tenderloin is an unworked muscle and naturally tender. You don’t need to give it more than a dunk. Once it’s up to temperature in the centre you’re done. 30 mins per half inch of thickness is all you need. If you need more wriggle room for doing other things a total time of 4 hours will make little or no difference.

So the fact that it is 10" long makes no difference? Also, at 4.5" around, does that mean 8 hours total or is 4 hours sufficient?

You need diameter, not circumference. It’s all about heat penetration. So, a 4 inch diameter piece will take 4 hours to get to temperature. At 4.5 inch diameter, 4.5 hours. 2 identical pieces will still take the same time as you have water flow around them. That’s why you should always pack your product in single layers.

Thank you. My concern is the piece is 10" long. Does that matter? For example, if it was 5" long, does it cook faster than 10"?

Length does not matter as the water is all around the meat. It is a little difficult to accept this until you have tried it.

For easier handling and searing after the cook it may be easier for you to cut the piece in half. Everything will be the same but it will be easier to handle. If you plan on searing in a very hot oven disregard.

So John…are you saying size doesn’t matter??? LOL . so true though. go by skinniest measurement being length width or heighth and count on 1 hour/inch. Never fails unless you’re doing el cheapo cut of meat (ie round) which will break down structurally better over a longer cook yet still be the same temp/doneness. Good luck! That’s some big money meat! Get the horseradish out for some zing.

RDW, i’m glad you asked before charging ahead with your substantial investment. Successful cooking should never be a matter of luck.

Your doneness temperatures are a bit out of date. I suggest the following temperature ranges for tender meat will be more useful for a beginner to use and then you can fine tune them according to your precise doneness preference. That’s one of the greatest benefits of your Anova, consistent outcomes just the way you like. Tenderloin is as tender as meat gets. Steak or roast doesn’t matter. As Ember told you, adjust your length of cooking time according to meat thickness and with tenderloin i wouldn’t go much over that time.

Tender Beef
Rare: 120-125F
Medium-Rare: 126-134F
Medium: 135-144F
And there ought to be a law against cooking tenderloin anymore than that.
Print out this page, generously cut out the above, and paste it on the inside of a kitchen cabinet door for easy future reference. Mark on it the temperatures you used and your assessment of the results.

May i suggest you need to gain a better understanding of the how and why of sous vide cooking? It will make you a more competent cook. If you think about what’s happening you will realize heat penetrates the 10" piece just as fast as the 5" piece.

And please serve your beautifully cooked meat on warm plates.

Now that it’s Back to School time you ought to be able to easily get a smallish plastic ruler. Keep it in your kitchen tool drawer to accurately measure your SV meats.

So i need to ask a clarification question- Is the 30 min per inc diameter the standard regardless of the weight of the tenderloin. I have three tenderloins i am cooking this weekend (6.7lb, 6.6lb and 7.8lb). I’m reading the weight does not matter its the diameter at its thickest point and level of doneness i want to determine the cook time?

I did two 3lb tenderloins (large end) that were 4+ inch in diameter. I soaked them at 131 for 4 hours and they were perfect. Dropped on a grill for 30-60 seconds per side and it was amazing.

Yes simply put for tender cuts you derive the cooking time from the thickness and the temperature determines to what level it is cooked (rare, med rare, medium). For these cuts one hour per inch works out perfectly.

For tough cuts longer cooking times are required in order to break down the connective tissue and make the meat tender. I have done long cooks with short ribs at medium rare and they were superb. I cooked them for 48 hours. While I do enjoy tenderloin the flavor that you get from tough cuts cooked until tender cannot be beat in my opinion.

Conventional cooking thinking certainly is difficult to break from, isn’t it Husky?
Have faith.

For sous vide cooking I prefer to think of the rate of heat penetration through meat being an inch per hour. That’s an approximation, but approximations are good enough for jazz and sous vide. Call it a standard if you wish.

And yes, it’s the diameter of the meat that the heat has to penetrate to cook it. Weight has nothing to do with SV cooking times. Please forget about the weight after you decide on portion size and the number of portions you require.

I’m all set!

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I wouldn’t say anything over 140F is medium. Here’s a typical sous vide cooking temperature guide: If you’re above 140F you’re on your way to Medium-well. Personally, we cook our beef at 135; my wife thinks 134 is a little too rare.

Agreed Doc, that’s why i give folks a range of temperatures from which they can discover what suits them best.

The low 130’s is the highest i go for tender beef, even boneless chuck or bottom sirloin cuts. However, when i’m cooking for others who expect medium to well done meat i have to push internal temps somewhat and resort to a few practical tricks to serve something they will enjoy which is what really counts isn’t it?

Quality will always be what my guests say it is.

There were cooking temps mentioned above ranging from Rare to medium. Bottom line, don’t cook anything under 130F unless you know exactly what you’re doing regarding pasteurization.

It’s well documented that anything under 130F on the Sous Vide requires a caveat because of the low heat for one hour per inch standard is not accurate. It is generally warned not cook under 130F longer than 2.5 hours. Also, under 1 hour at temps for less than 1" under 130 have pasteurization risks.

The net of it is that the ‘vacuum’ seal combined with the low temp affects pasteurization and also the meat releases different toxins in the lack of oxygen at temps under 130F after 2.5 hours.

So for a thicker tenderloin that is 4" for example you’d never go 4 hours at 129F or less. Set the temp a bit higher (over 130F) from what the safety articles recommend. The post above for the 4" tenderloin at 131F for 4 hours would satisfy the safety requirements because of the temperature set above 130F. . It would also still provide a suitable pink for everyone and can be cooked more well-done as desired when finishing.

Check Anova recipies- Chateaubriand 130 degrees for 30 minutes. I would finish it at a very high heated pan with a couple tablespoons of avacado oil browning all sides for just a minute ot two

Did you happen to check the internal temperature of the 30-minute Chateaubriand?

If it went in cold it could have been uncooked in the centre in less than an hour at 130F.

Quality beef can be eaten rare (or even raw as in Steak Tartar)so there’s no need to pasturize as with chicken or pork. With beef temperature is an indicator of level of doneness as it applies to personal taste. The Chateaubriand is actually medium rare in 30 minutes unless you’ve put it in frozen which would be silly. I finished mine in a cast iron pan with a tablespoon of avacado oil for 1 minute per side and it was perfect. Longer cooking times for TENDERloin result in a mushy texture.