(Note: you can also read a slightly-better written version of this from our guest post on TheKitchn, which was published under our old blog name)
As advertised, a photo series documenting the dis-assembly of the formidable beef tenderloin, from vacuum packed PISMO/PSMO into about a dozen steaks. This PSMO was $47 at the price club, but they had ones for as low as $40. It’s helpful to note that this one was also a little fatty. When purchasing, remember to flip the thing over and check the bottom. It should be relatively smooth and not very fatty, unless you want fattier meat, of course. Still, some can be a bit chewed up on the bottom, so be aware of this.
Now, my butchering skills notwithstanding, let’s get to work!
1. Remove the beast from the wrapper, pat dry with paper towels or rinse off in a sink.
2. Feel for the easily separable membrane that holds the chain in place. The chain is the side meat, which is generally fattier and tough than the rest of the cut. Use fingers to pull the chain away from the main body, notice the clear membrane giving way. Apply filleting blade when necessary. Set aside/freeze for later.
3. Remove excess fat and more importantly, the ‘silver skin’ with a sharp, flexible knife. The aim is not to cut into the top of the meat at all, although I definitely hit it a few times here and there. No big loss. Keep fingers on the silver skin and use the weight of the remaining meat to pull it away while you slice through.
4. At the end of the piece is a large section jutting off slightly from the main keel. Remove this with a single stroke. This becomes the chateaubriand roast. Wrap, keep cool and save!
5. All that should remain is a single, ovular section of meat. Slice 1.5″ rounds off of this. These are the filets. Set aside on a plate until the entire section is finished. I estimate each round can go from 4-8 oz, depending on the thickness of the PSMO you started with.
Finally, trim the steaks as needed and grill!. On a hot grill, 5 minutes per side gave me medium doneness, I’d estimate 4 min for medium rare, but I like to grill one to start off to get a feel for the grill, the heat, etc. just to be safe. Also remember that the little ones will finish first. Because you’re dealing with an entire section of cow, it’s difficult to keep the steaks uniform, but do the best you can. Remember- have fun! Bon Appetit!