Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time1.5 hours
Skill Levelmedium

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This show stopping smoked beef tenderloin recipe provides edge to edge doneness with a flavor bursting crust. Top it with the creamy horseradish sauce and have everyone thinking you’re the head chef at a Michelin star awarded restaurant!

What temperature should beef tenderloin be smoked to?

Whenever we smoke meat, the main focus is always on the internal temperature of the meat and not how long it's been smoking.

Here is a doneness temperature breakdown for smoked beef tenderloin:

  • Rare: 120-125˚F
  • Medium Rare: 130-135˚F
  • Medium: 138-140˚F
  • Medium Well: 140-145˚F
  • Well Done: 150-150˚F (please don't do this!)

If you are not going to sear the beef tenderloin after smoking (we recommend you do, though), remove it from the smoker when it hits your target temperature.

If you are going to sear your meat, remove it 5-10 degrees lower than the target temp as it will continue cooking as you sear it.


Beef Tenderloin

  • 3-4 pounds beef tenderloin, center cut, trimmed
  • 4 tablespoons Meat Church Holy Cow rub, substitute favorite seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon high heat cooking oil, like canola

Creamy Horseradish Sauce

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish, drained, add more if desired
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped


  1. Salt beef tenderloin before cooking

    Place the beef tenderloin on a cooling rack over a baking sheet so that the air can circulate around all sides. Coat all sides of the tenderloin with Kosher salt and let sit on the counter for 1 hour (at least 40 minutes) before cooking. If you don't have at least 40 minutes to spare before cooking, skip this step and season right before smoking. If you have extra time, place it in the refrigerator overnight uncovered for the best results. This will allow the salt to penetrate deep into the meat and remove any excess moisture.

    Air Dried & Salt Brined Smoked Beef Tenderloin
  2. Preheat the smoker

    Preheat smoker or grill to 225°F. Most pellet smokers don’t need it, but you can add a pan of water in the corner of the smoker to keep moisture inside.

  3. Season the beef tenderloin

    Pat the beef tenderloin dry to remove any surface moisture. Season all sides generously with the seasoning. You can use a little olive oil if desired to help the rub stick to the beef tenderloin better.

    Seasoned Beef Tenderloin Ready to e Smoked
  4. Smoke the beef tenderloin

    Add beef tenderloin to smoker and smoke at 225°F until it hits an internal temperature of 125°F for medium-rare (see doneness temperature chart in notes below), approximately 1-1.5 hours. I recommend using a meat thermometer to help achieve the perfect temperature without overcooking the tenderloin.

  5. Crank up the heat

    Once the smoked beef tenderloin reaches its desired temperature, place on a carving board and tent loosely with aluminum foil. While it rests, increase the heat of the grill to 450°F (set temperature to "High" if using a Traeger or any other pellet grill with a high heat setting). Close the lid. Alternatively, you can sear the beef tenderloin in a piping hot pan on the stove top.

  6. Sear the smoked beef tenderloin

    Once the smoker reaches 450°F, sear the tenderloin for approximately 3 minutes on each side to form a nice crust.

    Seared Smoked Beef Tenderloin
  7. Rest the beef tenderloin

    Remove steaks from the grill, place on a cutting board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and rest for 20 minutes. The smoked beef tenderloin internal temperatures will rise to 130-135°F while it rests.

  8. Make the horseradish cream sauce

    In a mixing bowl, combine all of the creamy horseradish sauce  ingredients together. You can make the sauce a few days in advance if desired. This will allow more time for the flavors to blend together.

  9. Slice and enjoy

    Slice your beautifully reverse seared smoked beef tenderloin into 1/2 inch to 1 inch slices, depending on preference. Serve with the creamy horseradish sauce and enjoy!


  1. Chris
    February 15th, 2023
    Review Star FilledReview Star FilledReview Star FilledReview Star FilledReview Star Filled
    I almost spilled my beer when I read the temperature recommendations for the smoked beef tenderloin, I can’t wrap my mind around why some people prefer to go for well done, it tastes like nothing. Better yet, it tastes like eating cardboard.
  2. Kyle
    February 12th, 2023
    Review Star FilledReview Star FilledReview Star FilledReview Star FilledReview Star Filled
    Oh my word, I'm going to try it, you make it look so simple!

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