Dressed to Impress

by Nov 16, 2023Food & Recipes, Greater Cape Fear, Southern Sandi

This grilled beef tenderloin recipe creates a memorable meal focal point that can be dressed up or down.

My family and I have been making this Bourbon Beef Tenderloin for as long as I can remember, and fall is my favorite time to grill this meal.

Unlike summer’s searing temperatures, fall’s mild weather makes standing before a hot fire a pleasure. Besides, after eating light all summer, I’m ready for a hearty meal.

This tasty meat can be served a number of ways. It can be easily dressed up for a fancy meal accompanied with decadent sides or dressed down and offered as sandwich meat with slaw. During the holidays my mother will grill this well done, slice the tenderloin really thin and serve it with rolls and horseradish — super easy to serve when friends and family drop by the house. However, my father and I like it cut really thick and cooked rare with no additional sauces. He usually grills it his way for a dinner party and presents it on top of kale with cherry tomatoes. The meat from this recipe cooks up so tender and juicy no matter how you slice it.

When selecting your beef tenderloin, don’t be afraid to ask the butcher to trim the silver and tie it for you.

Personally, I tip the butcher for completing this for me. Sure, you can do it yourself by cutting off the silver skin and folding the tail end of the beef back underneath itself so that it is of uniform thickness and then securing with butcher’s string. But most butchers do not mind doing it upon request, and I prefer to let the professionals do it.

Before you begin the grilling process, take the meat out of the fridge for about an hour before so that it can get to room temperature. Grilling cold meat can cause the moisture to be forced out. Place the meat in direct heat and try not to open the grill too much. Repeatedly lifting the lid with a gas grill will cause it to lose heat, making your food sear and cook more slowly. Repeatedly lifting with a coal grill will do the opposite, allowing in oxygen that causes the coals to bun hotter than you’d like them to, resulting in burnt meat. You want to let the meat cook while the brown sugar in the marinade will create a thick crust on the exterior, locking in all the flavors. Your first bite will be like butter! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

Bourbon Beef Tenderloin

Grilled Bourbon Beef Tenderloin

This grilled beef tenderloin recipe creates a memorablemeal focal point that can be dressed up or down.
Servings: 8 people
Author: Sandi Grigg


  • 1 1/2 lb beef tenderloin silvered and tied
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2-gallon Ziploc bag


  • Prepare the marinade by combining the bourbon, thyme, brown sugar, soy sauce, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, water, salt and pepper in a large2-gallon size Ziploc bag and shake to mix all together.
  • Place the meat in the bag and refrigerate overnight (4 to 6 hours will suffice if you are in a pinch), turning meat over several times. Take the meat out of the refrigerator about an hour before cooking to bring to room temperature.
  • Preheat the grill to about 400degrees. Place the meat on the grill and reserve the liquid from the marinade.
  • Cook over high heat with the lid closed. Turn the meat occasionally while basting it with the marinade. It will take about 25 to 30minutes for a medium cook, but to be sure you get it perfect, use at thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat and wait till it reads 125 to130degrees F for medium to rare.
  • Let the meat rest for about 10minutes after taking it off the grill. Cut the string off the meat and begin slicing to desired thickness.

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