A beef tenderloin, known as an eye fillet in New Zealand and Australia, fillet in South Africa and the UK, filet in France and Germany, is cut from the loin of beef.
The tenderloin is an oblong shape spanning two primal cuts: the short loin (called the sirloin in Commonwealth countries) and the sirloin (called the rump in Commonwealth countries). The tenderloin sits beneath the ribs, next to the backbone. It has two ends: the butt and the “tail”. The smaller, pointed end — the “tail” — starts a little past the ribs, growing in thickness until it ends in the “sirloin” primal cut, which is closer to the butt of the cow. This muscle does very little work, so it is the most tender part of the beef. The tenderloin can be cut for either roasts or steaks.
The three main “cuts” of the tenderloin are the butt, the center-cut, and the tail. The butt end is usually suitable for carpaccio, as the eye can be quite large; cutting a whole tenderloin into steaks of equal weight will yield proportionally very thin steaks from the butt end. The center-cut is suitable for portion-controlled steaks, as the diameter of the eye remains relatively consistent. The center-cut can yield the traditional filet mignon or tenderloin steak, as well as the Chateaubriand steak and beef Wellington. The tail, which is generally unsuitable for steaks due to size inconsistency, can be used in recipes where small pieces of a tender cut are called for, such as beef Stroganoff.
Recipes using Beef Tenderloin