What is Beef Butt Tenderloin? A Guide to This Prized Cut

Beef butt tenderloin is a unique and prized cut of meat that comes from a very specific part of the cow. But what exactly is butt tenderloin and where does it come from? This guide will explain everything you need to know about beef butt tenderloin including its characteristics, uses, and how to cook it.

What is Beef Butt Tenderloin?

Beef butt tenderloin refers to the thicker, fattier end of the tenderloin primal cut. It comes from the back or rear of the tenderloin closest to the sirloin primal.

The tenderloin itself is a long, narrow muscle that runs along the spine of the cow. It sits inside the short loin primal cut beneath the backbone. This muscle does very little work, so it is extremely tender.

The butt end of the tenderloin is the portion closest to the sirloin and hip of the animal It is less uniform in shape but contains more fat marbling than the tapered tail end

Butt tenderloin is sometimes labeled as “tenderloin butt roast” or “tenderloin head roast” It is ideal for oven roasting whole due to its rich flavor and tender texture

Where Does Beef Butt Tenderloin Come From on the Cow?

Beef butt tenderloin is located in the rear or posterior section of the tenderloin primal cut. To understand its location, it helps to visualize where the tenderloin is positioned inside the animal.

The tenderloin is a long, slender muscle that runs along both sides of the backbone, starting from the pelvic area and extending along the lumbar vertebrae. It sits beneath the short loin primal cut near the kidneys.

When the tenderloin is removed from the carcass, it still has a small portion of the sirloin attached at one end. This thicker end nearest the sirloin is called the butt end or butt tenderloin. It contains the psoas major muscle.

Characteristics of Butt Tenderloin

Beef butt tenderloin has some unique characteristics that set it apart from the rest of the tenderloin:

  • Rich beef flavor from more fat marbling
  • Thicker cut with uneven shape
  • More tender than most other cuts
  • Ideal for dry-heat roasting
  • Not as delicate as the tail end
  • Expensive due to small size

The extra fat content provides moisture and a stronger beefy taste. The meat has a smooth, supple texture requiring little preparation. It can be roasted as-is unlike leaner sections. The butt end shape also lends itself well to carving whole roasts.

Common Uses for Beef Butt Tenderloin

The rich flavor and tender texture of butt tenderloin make it ideal for cooking methods like:

  • Oven roasting
  • Grilling
  • Sautéing
  • Broiling

It is most often prepared and served whole as a roast. The uneven shape adds character when served sliced.

Because it is very tender, butt tenderloin does not require slow, moist cooking. Dry cooking methods allow its flavor to shine.

Some classic uses for this cut include:

  • Elegant main course roasts
  • Special occasion entrées like Beef Wellington
  • Upscale restaurant dishes
  • Carpaccio – thinly sliced raw
  • Skewers or kabobs

Butt tenderloin is considered a luxury cut suitable for fine dining due to its tenderness and price. It is often reserved for special meals.

How to Cook Beef Butt Tenderloin

Cooking butt tenderloin is easy since it is naturally tender. Here are tips for the best results:

  • Roast in the oven at 450°F for 15 to 25 minutes for medium rare doneness.
  • Grill over high heat for 6-8 minutes per side, less if cut into steaks.
  • Pan-sear in a hot skillet before roasting or grilling.
  • Cook to an internal temperature of 135°F for medium rare.
  • Avoid overcooking as the cut can become dry.
  • Salt and pepper are all that’s needed for seasoning.
  • Let rest for 5-10 minutes after cooking before slicing to retain juices.
  • Carve across the grain into thin slices to serve.

The tenderloin’s tenderness allows for quick cooking under high heat. Take care not to dry it out or overcook.

What is the Difference Between Regular Tenderloin and Butt Tenderloin?

While both come from the same larger tenderloin muscle, there are a few differences between regular tenderloin and butt tenderloin:

  • Regular tenderloin is long and slender with a tapered shape. Butt tenderloin is thicker and more irregularly shaped.

  • Regular tenderloin is very uniform in thickness. Butt tenderloin tapers less from one end to the other.

  • Regular tenderloin is extremely lean with little fat. Butt tenderloin contains more marbling and fat.

  • Regular tenderloin can be quite delicate. Butt tenderloin is slightly firmer in texture.

  • Regular tenderloin is ideal for pan searing as medallions or filets. Butt tenderloin suits roasting whole.

  • Regular tenderloin offers milder flavor. Butt tenderloin is richer and beefier in taste.

Why is Beef Butt Tenderloin Prized?

There are a few reasons why butt tenderloin is considered one of the most prized cuts of beef:

  • It comes from the very tender tenderloin muscle that does little work.
  • The extra fat marbling provides juiciness, flavor and tenderness.
  • It has a remarkably tender, buttery smooth texture when cooked properly.
  • The full beefy flavor stands out when simply seasoned and roasted.
  • The shape lends itself to elegant presentation of a whole roast.
  • Its small size limits supply, making it exclusive and expensive.
  • It is very versatile – suitable for grilling, sautéing or roasting.

The combination of rich taste and melt-in-your-mouth tenderness gives butt tenderloin an unmatched mouthfeel. The limited availability also adds to its prestige and value.

Is Butt Tenderloin Expensive?

Yes, beef butt tenderloin is one of the most expensive cuts by weight. Because it is a small muscle weighing only a few pounds, the usable meat yield is low. Limited supply drives up the price.

On average, fresh beef butt tenderloin can cost anywhere from $25 to $40 per pound. This is roughly 3 to 4 times more than common cuts like ground beef or sirloin.

However, the exquisite flavor and texture make it worthwhile for a special occasion meal. A little goes a long way when slicing the roasted meat for serving.

For an exceptional dining experience, beef butt tenderloin is worth the splurge. Just be sure to cook it properly to appreciate its distinguishing qualities.

In Summary

Beef butt tenderloin refers to the thicker, fattier section of the tenderloin located closest to the sirloin. Its prime location means it contains delicious fat marbling within an already tender muscle. Roasted whole, beef butt tenderloin makes for an impressive entrée. The rich, beefy flavor and supple texture give this cut an unmatched mouthfeel. Ideal for celebratory meals and fine dining, butt tenderloin is certainly a valuable treasure.

Cutting a Beef Butt Tenderloin

Leave a Comment