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Holiday Meats: Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Salt Crust

In this Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Salt Crust, the meat is salted over its entire surface prior to grilling to insure a nice crisp crust and a tender and juicy center.

Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Salt Crust by FamilySpice.com

The holidays are always a hectic time, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or any other holiday. Even if you are just planning a special dinner to celebrate a very special occasion, you don’t want to get blindsided by the main dish falling short of expectations.

One of the most wonderful (and expensive) cuts of meat is the beef tenderloin. And I’m sharing with you a very special way to prepare it and a very easy recipe for a grilled beef tenderloin with salt crust.

How to prepare beef tenderloin

Typically when you buy a beef tenderloin, you usually find in this long 3-foot piece of meat. You can not, and should not, cook it in this state. Not only is it difficult to cook such a long piece of meat evenly, there is also some prep work that needs to be done first.

Along the beef tenderloin is the thick silver skin that does not break down when you grill or roast. This silver skin must be removed. Don’t worry. It’s relatively simple to do.

Beef Tenderloin by FamilySpice.com

Starting at one end of the tenderloin, slide a sharp knife underneath the silver skin. With one hand pull the silver skin up and away from the meat while your other hand is sliding the sharp knife down.

Once the silver skin is removed, you should also remove any large chunks of fat. Some fat is good, as it melts while it cooks and provides flavor and moisture to the meat.

Once that task is done, it is best to cut your large tenderloin into 2-3 equal sizes. This is to insure even cooking and so you don’t have over cooked ends and a raw center. 

Removing Silver Skin from Beef Tenderloin by FamilySpice.com

Best salt to use for a salt crust

Salt draws out moisture. By covering the outside of the beef tenderloin with kosher salt, you allow the outer part of the meat to dry out. Once covered with salt, place your tenderloin onto a baking sheet sitting on top of a rack.

Let your meat sit like this in the refrigerator for 24 hours, uncovered. You wan the air to flow around the meat and dry it out. The entire roast is not going to dry, just the outside. 

When roasted, the tenderloin will have a nice crust on the outside and remain super moist and delicious on the inside.

Preparing Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Salt Crust by FamilySpice.com

How to grill a beef tenderloin

You can prepare this salt crust beef tenderloin both in the oven and on the grill. I include both directions below in the recipe card. I do love the ease of roasting a beef tenderloin indoors, but nothing beats the flavor you get from grilling!

When grilling large meats like a beef tenderloin, my husband likes to use our Big Steel Keg and adds some wood chips for smoke and flavor. Grill the meat until it is mostly done, then place the meat directly on the coals to add a nice sear.

Grilling Beef Tenderloin with Salt Crust by FamilySpice.com

Lomo al trapo

The Columbians have perfected this technique of salt crusted beef tenderloin in a very low tech way. You wrap the meat in kosher salt and herbs and then in a damp cotton cloth. This is all tied up and then placed directly onto hot coals to cook.

Because the outer cloth is damp, it doesn’t catch on fire, but slowly smolders and burns. And all of this creates a hard outer salt crust that traps the moisture inside your tenderloin roast. I share this recipe in my newest cookbook, The Camp & Cabin Cookbook.

Lomo el Trapo (Beef tenderloin with salt crust) by FamilySpice.com

Yield: serves 8-12

Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Salt Crust

Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Salt Crust by FamilySpice.com

In this Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Salt Crust, the meat is salted over its entire surface prior to grilling to insure a nice crisp crust and a tender and juicy center.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 1 days
Total Time 1 days 45 minutes


  • 4 lb beef tenderloin
  • 1-2 TBS kosher salt
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBS ground black pepper


  1. Trim and remove all silver skin and big deposits of fat from tenderloin.
  2. Cut tenderloin into 2 equal pieces, making sure each piece is of uniform thickness and sprinkle over the entire surface of the roast with kosher salt.
  3. Place on a rack set over large rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate uncovered 24 hours and up to 36 hours. You could do this the same day you cook your roast, but the longer it sits this way, the crispier the crust will be.
  4. Let beef rest, covered with foil or plastic wrap, at room temperature 1 hour prior to grilling.
  5. Rub meat with olive oil and season with black pepper.
  6. Preheat your grill. Set burners to medium heat.
  7. Grill the tenderloin, place the tenderloin on the grill over 275º-300ºF heat and cook until it is mostly done, medium-rare, 130ºF for medium rare and 135ºF for medium. Then place meat directly on the coals to sear the meat on each side.
  8. Tenderloin can also be cooked in the oven: Preheat oven to 450º F. Place the meat on a roasting rack or in a roasting pan and place in oven. Roast the meat 10 minutes on high then reduce heat to 350º F and cook 20-30 minutes more, or until internal temperature reaches 135º-140º F for medium-rare and 140º-145º F for medium.
  9. Remove meat from oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 511Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 129mgSodium: 1144mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 36g