Is There Another Name for Beef Tenderloin? A Guide to the Many Names for This Luxurious Cut of Meat

Beef tenderloin is considered one of the most tender delicious and coveted cuts of beef. It’s a lean, elegant cut that is featured in fine dining restaurants and home kitchens alike. But beef tenderloin actually goes by many other names, which can cause confusion for cooks and diners. In this article, we’ll explore the different names used for beef tenderloin and explain exactly what part of the animal it comes from.

Where Beef Tenderloin Is Located on the Cow

To understand the different names for beef tenderloin, it helps to first understand where this cut of meat comes from on the cow. Beef tenderloin is cut from the short loin of the cow. More specifically, it comes from a large muscle along the spine called the psoas major.

Because this muscle does little work supporting the weight of the animal, it remains very tender and is not heavily exercised This gives the tenderloin its characteristic soft, velvety texture that is so prized The tenderloin muscle tapers from a thicker “butt” end to a slender “tail” end.

Why Beef Tenderloin Has So Many Different Names

Since the tenderloin is such a desirable cut of meat, it has acquired many different names as it has gained popularity around the world. Here are some of the reasons for its array of monikers

  • Language differences – Different languages have their own terms for cuts of meat. For example, in French it is called filet de bœuf.

  • Regional dialects – Within the English language, regional dialects have developed various names. Australians may refer to it as eye fillet.

  • Part of the tenderloin used – The tapered shape of the tenderloin means that names sometimes specify whether it comes from the thicker or thinner end.

  • Preparation styles – Some names reference how the tenderloin is prepared, such as roast or steak.

  • Honoring individuals – Cuts were sometimes named after the chef who popularized them or the individual they were prepared for.

  • Marketing – More dramatic or sophisticated names have been adopted by chefs and meat purveyors to highlight the luxury status of tenderloin.

Common Names for Beef Tenderloin

Here are some of the most frequent names used for cuts from the beef tenderloin, along with a description:

  • Filet mignon – The French name that has become popular in the U.S. It refers to a steak cut from the tapered end of the tenderloin.

  • Tenderloin steak – A general term for a steak sliced from the tenderloin. Can also be called beef tenderloin steak.

  • Tournedos – A French term for a thick cut steak from the tenderloin, typically an inch or more thick.

  • T-bone steak – Comes from the short loin and contains both tenderloin and a piece of sirloin steak.

  • Chateaubriand – A large, thick cut from the thicker “butt” end of the tenderloin, generally for two servings.

  • Filet de bœuf – French name meaning beef tenderloin. Can refer to the whole tenderloin or tenderloin steak.

  • Eye fillet – Used in Australia and New Zealand to mean beef tenderloin steak.

  • Beef fillet – Another term used in Australia for beef tenderloin or tenderloin steak.

  • Tenderloin roast – The whole tenderloin prepared and cooked as a roast.

  • Loin tenderloin roast – Same as a tenderloin roast, but specifying the loin location.

Why Knowing the Different Names Matters

Being aware of the various names for beef tenderloin is useful for several reasons:

  • You can decipher menu items or recipes that use different names for the tenderloin.

  • It helps you purchase the right cut at the butcher shop when a specific name is called for.

  • You’ll understand the subtle differences between cuts like filet mignon and chateaubriand.

  • You’ll appreciate why this coveted cut commands a higher price based on its characteristics.

  • You can use the regional terms when traveling to be understood clearly.

  • It allows you to speak knowledgeable about different cuts of meat.

How to Cook Beef Tenderloin Perfectly

Beef tenderloin has a reputation for being tricky to cook correctly. Here are some tips:

  • Bring the meat to room temperature before cooking.

  • Pat dry thoroughly and season generously with salt and pepper.

  • Sear over high heat to develop a nice crust.

  • Use a meat thermometer to avoid overcooking.

  • Allow to rest before slicing for juicy results.

  • Pair with a rich sauce like béarnaise or red wine reduction.

Indulging in Luxurious Beef Tenderloin

While beef tenderloin does come with a hefty price tag, its melt-in-your-mouth tenderness and elegant profile make it the perfect choice for special occasions and impressing dinner guests. With proper preparation, it lives up to its reputation as the ultimate indulgence. Now that you know the array of names for this cut of beef, you can speak knowledgably and cook beef tenderloin like a pro!

Everything You Should Know About Tenderloin Steak


What is a nickname for beef tenderloin?

Beef tenderloin has a few other names, including fillet, eye filet, and tenderloin steak. Because it comes from the loin primal cut of the animal, some also refer to beef tenderloin as primal steak or loin steak.

What is the closest cut to beef tenderloin?

Tenderloin Substitutes: A ribeye roast will turn out nearly as tender as the tenderloin, but it contains significantly more fat and will take longer to cook. A sirloin butt roast also works, and pork tenderloin is a good option if you’re not sold on beef for dinner.

What are the different types of beef tenderloins?

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.

Is beef tenderloin the same as sirloin?

Sirloin is a lean cut that is known for its rich, beefy flavor, while tenderloin is extremely tender and has a mild flavor. T-bone is a combination of both tenderloin and strip steak and is known for its tenderness and flavorful taste.

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