How to Grill Beef Tenderloin Steaks on a Charcoal Grill?

How to Grill Beef Tenderloin Steaks on a Charcoal Grill?

Welcome to my step-by-step guide on grilling beef tenderloin steaks on a charcoal grill! If you’re looking for a tender and juicy steak with a smoky flavor, then grilling on charcoal is the way to go. In this article, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to achieve restaurant-quality results right at home.

Key Takeaways:

  • Grilling beef tenderloin steaks on a charcoal grill requires careful preparation and technique.
  • Choosing the right cut of beef tenderloin is crucial for optimal grilling results.
  • Properly seasoning and marinating the steaks can enhance their flavor and tenderness.
  • Setting up the charcoal grill for grilling with indirect heat can ensure even cooking and prevent flare-ups.
  • Grilling the steaks to the desired doneness and allowing them to rest before serving is essential for optimal flavor and texture.
  • Additional tips and techniques can help you achieve the best possible results when grilling beef tenderloin steaks on a charcoal grill.

Getting the Right Cut of Beef Tenderloin

When it comes to grilling beef tenderloin steaks on a charcoal grill, the quality of the meat is crucial for achieving a great result. Choosing the right cut of beef tenderloin is the first step in ensuring that your steak is tender, juicy, and packed with flavor.

Look for cuts of beef tenderloin that are well-marbled with thin strands of fat running through the meat. This fat will melt during the grilling process and infuse the meat with flavor and moisture. The best cuts for grilling on a charcoal grill are those that are at least 2 inches thick, such as the center-cut filet mignon or chateaubriand.

When selecting your beef tenderloin, opt for meat that is bright red in color and has a slightly firm texture. Avoid meat that is discolored or has a slimy texture, as these can be signs of spoilage.

Tips for Choosing the Best Quality Meat

Tip Description
Buy from a reputable butcher Visit a local butcher shop or ask the meat department at your grocery store for help in selecting the best cut of beef tenderloin for grilling.
Choose grass-fed beef Grass-fed beef is leaner and has a stronger flavor than grain-fed beef, making it a great choice for grilling on a charcoal grill.
Look for USDA Prime or Choice grades These grades indicate that the meat has been inspected for quality and is of a high standard.

By selecting the right cut of beef tenderloin and following these tips for choosing the best quality meat, you can ensure that your grilled steaks will be a cut above the rest.

Preparing the Beef Tenderloin Steaks for Grilling

Before grilling the beef tenderloin steaks on the charcoal, it is essential to prepare them properly to enhance their flavor and ensure their tenderness. Follow the step-by-step guide below for the best results:

  1. Trim the excess fat: Use a sharp knife to carefully trim any excess fat from the beef tenderloin steaks. Leaving too much fat can cause flare-ups on the grill, resulting in uneven cooking and a charred exterior.
  2. Season them well: Generously season the steaks with salt and black pepper on both sides. For an extra burst of flavor, you can also add your favorite seasonings or rubs.
  3. Marinate: Marinating the steaks is optional but can help to tenderize the meat and infuse it with additional flavors. Use a simple marinade of olive oil, garlic, and herbs for a classic flavor combination.
  4. Allow the steaks to reach room temperature: Take the steaks out of the refrigerator and allow them to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before grilling. This will help to ensure that they cook evenly and retain their juices.

Following these simple tips will help you achieve perfectly prepared beef tenderloin steaks that are tender, juicy, and full of flavor.

Setting up the Charcoal Grill for Grilling

Now that you have your beef tenderloin steaks prepared and ready to grill, it’s time to set up your charcoal grill. Follow these best practices for optimal results:

  1. Arrange the charcoal in a pyramid shape in the center of the grill.
  2. Light the charcoal using lighter fluid or a chimney starter.
  3. Let the charcoal burn until it is covered in white ash, indicating that it has reached the ideal cooking temperature.
  4. If using a gas grill, preheat the grill to high heat.
  5. For more even cooking, use indirect heat by placing the beef tenderloin steaks on the cooler side of the grill and closing the lid.

Remember to always keep a close eye on the temperature and adjust the heat as needed to prevent overcooking or undercooking your beef tenderloin steaks.

Experiment with adding wood chips to the charcoal for added flavor, or even try smoking the steaks for a unique twist on this classic grilling technique. And don’t forget to clean and maintain your charcoal grill regularly for optimal performance.

Grilling the Beef Tenderloin Steaks

Now that the charcoal grill is preheated and the beef tenderloin steaks have been properly prepared, it’s time to start grilling. To achieve restaurant-quality grilled beef tenderloin steaks on charcoal, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Initial Searing: Place the beef tenderloin steaks on the hot grill grates, directly over the charcoal. Sear the steaks for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until a golden-brown crust forms.
  2. Flipping Techniques: Use tongs to flip the steaks, being careful not to pierce the meat with a fork which can result in the loss of flavorful juices. For optimal grill marks, rotate the steaks 90 degrees after 2-3 minutes on each side.
  3. Monitoring Internal Temperature: Use a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the beef tenderloin steaks. For rare steaks, remove them from the grill when the internal temperature reaches 120-130°F; for medium-rare, 130-135°F; for medium, 135-145°F; for medium-well, 145-155°F; for well-done, over 155°F.

Remember, cooking times vary depending on the thickness of the beef tenderloin steaks, so adjust accordingly.

By following these steps, you can achieve tender, juicy, and flavorful grilled beef tenderloin steaks on charcoal that are sure to impress your guests.

Tips for Resting and Serving Perfectly Grilled Beef Tenderloin Steaks on Charcoal

After grilling the beef tenderloin steaks to perfection on the charcoal grill, the next critical step is the resting and serving of the steaks. Proper resting of the steaks allows the juices to redistribute and settle, resulting in a more tender and flavorful steak.

To rest the steaks, remove them from the grill and place them on a cutting board or platter. Cover the steaks loosely with aluminum foil and let them rest for 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the steak. This resting time will ensure that the steak is juicy and delicious.

Once the steaks have rested, it’s time to slice and serve them. Slice the steaks against the grain, which will result in a more tender and easier to chew steak. Serve the steak on a platter or individual plates. Add your favorite side dishes or sauces to complete the meal.

For an impressive presentation, garnish the plate with fresh herbs such as rosemary or thyme. This will add an extra layer of flavor to the dish and make it visually appealing.

Remember, perfecting the art of grilling beef tenderloin steaks on a charcoal grill takes practice. Don’t be afraid to experiment with seasoning and marinades to find the perfect flavor profile for your taste buds. With these tips and techniques, you’ll be grilling restaurant-quality steaks in no time!

Tips for Optimal Charcoal Grilling

Now that we have covered the basic steps for grilling beef tenderloin steaks on a charcoal grill, let me share some additional tips and techniques for achieving the best results.

Charcoal Control

One essential aspect of charcoal grilling is controlling the heat. Depending on the size and thickness of the beef tenderloin steaks, you may need to adjust the amount of charcoal and its placement in the grill. For thicker cuts, it is recommended to create a two-zone fire, with the charcoal arranged on one side of the grill to produce direct heat and using indirect heat on the other side. This method allows for more precise temperature control and even cooking.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Before using your charcoal grill, make sure it is clean and properly maintained. Remove any leftover ashes and debris, and check the condition of the grates and vents. A clean grill increases efficiency and prevents flare-ups that can lead to uneven cooking or burnt steaks.

Alternative Flavor-Enhancing Methods

If you want to experiment with different flavors and aromas, consider using wood chips or smoking techniques. Soaking wood chips in water and adding them to the charcoal can add a unique smoky flavor to the beef tenderloin steaks. Additionally, using a smoker attachment or a smoke box can provide a similar effect without the need for extra equipment.

Best Practices for Charcoal Grilling Beef Tenderloin Steaks

  • Preheat the grill before adding the steaks
  • Oil the grates to prevent sticking
  • Do not use any sharp utensils to flip or handle the steaks, as they can pierce and release the juices
  • Use a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature and prevent overcooking or undercooking
  • Allow the steaks to rest for at least five minutes before slicing or serving, which allows the juices to redistribute into the meat

By following these tips and techniques, you can elevate your charcoal grilling skills and impress your guests with perfectly cooked beef tenderloin steaks.


In conclusion, grilling beef tenderloin steaks on a charcoal grill is an art that requires understanding the right techniques and ingredients. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this article, you can achieve perfectly grilled steaks with restaurant-quality flavors and grill marks.

It is essential to start with selecting the right cut of beef tenderloin and preparing it properly for grilling by trimming excess fat, seasoning, and marinating. Setting up the charcoal grill for grilling is also crucial, and you should aim for achieving the ideal cooking temperature using indirect heat.

When grilling the beef tenderloin steaks, it is essential to pay attention to the initial searing, flipping techniques, and monitoring the internal temperature to achieve your desired level of doneness. Resting the steaks before serving is also crucial to allow the juices to redistribute.

To enhance your charcoal grilling experience, you can experiment with various techniques such as charcoal control, cleaning, maintenance, or even using wood chips or smoking.

In summary, mastering the art of grilling beef tenderloin steaks on a charcoal grill requires practice and experimentation. I encourage you to use this guide as a starting point and explore your own variations for a perfect grilling experience. Happy grilling!


Q: Can I use a gas grill instead of a charcoal grill?

A: Yes, you can use a gas grill to grill beef tenderloin steaks. However, the flavor may differ slightly compared to grilling on a charcoal grill.

Q: How long should I marinate the beef tenderloin steaks?

A: It is recommended to marinate the beef tenderloin steaks for at least 30 minutes to overnight, depending on your desired flavor intensity.

Q: What internal temperature should I aim for when grilling the steaks?

A: For medium-rare beef tenderloin steaks, aim for an internal temperature of 135°F (57°C). Let the steaks rest for a few minutes before serving to allow the temperature to rise slightly.

Q: Can I reheat leftover grilled beef tenderloin steaks?

A: Yes, you can reheat leftover grilled beef tenderloin steaks. It is best to do so in a preheated oven at a low temperature until warmed through. Avoid reheating them for too long to prevent overcooking.

Q: How should I store leftover grilled beef tenderloin steaks?

A: To store leftover grilled beef tenderloin steaks, let them cool to room temperature, then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or transfer them to an airtight container and refrigerate. They can be stored for up to 3 days.

Michael Davis
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