Bacon-Wrapped Beef Medallions with Smoked Paprika Butter

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I decided to get out and grill something before I missed the deadline for Carnival of the Grill, a blogging event hosted by Men in Aprons. I usually don’t need an excuse to fire up the grill, but it’s been so hot lately I’ve chosen to stay in my air conditioned kitchen and have kept my distance from fire-producing objects. Luckily, the mercury seems to be dropping and it’s actually pleasant outside in the evenings again.

So last night, in honor of my return to the grill, I opted for something fancy.  And by fancy I don’t mean complicated, I mean expensive. It’s nice to splurge once in a while and the thick beef tenderloin steaks at the market looked so good that I couldn’t resist. Although I love a good porterhouse or rib eye, there’s nothing like biting into a perfectly grilled tenderloin steak.

Usually I don’t do much to these steaks… a little olive oil, salt, and pepper and they taste amazing. But occasionally I wrap them in bacon.  Last night I took it a step further and crowned my effort with a slice of spicy, smoky compound butter. I was inspired to make this butter a few days ago after visiting 101 Cookbooks. I love smoked paprika and I’m always looking for new ways to use it. It tastes amazing in this butter and I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner! By the way, if you like to make your own barbecue rubs and you have never tried smoked paprika… go buy some now!

Yes, a steak wrapped in bacon and covered in butter might sound like a heart attack waiting to happen, but beef tenderloin is very lean and we’re only talking about one slice of bacon and maybe a teaspoon of butter. Adding a dab of compound butter to grilled meat takes it to a whole new level. Try some sage butter on a grilled pork chop if you don’t believe me.

Bacon-Wrapped Beef Medallions

4 beef tenderloin steaks, 1 1/2 inches thick
4 slices bacon
olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper

1. Take steaks out of fridge and let sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes. While steaks are coming to room temperature, get your grill ready (gas or charcoal).

2. Rinse steaks and pat dry with paper towels. Tightly wrap one slice of bacon around each steak, securing with with a toothpick. Brush a thin layer of olive oil on each side of the steaks and season both sides with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

3. Place steaks over a direct medium-hot flame and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side. Move steaks to indirect heat, reduce grill temperature to medium, and continue cooking until the interior temperature reaches 145 degres for medium rare (medium 160, well-done 170).

4. Remove steaks to a platter, top each steak with a slice of Spicy Smoked Paprika Butter (if using) and resist the urge to cut into them for at least 10 minutes!! It is important to let ANY meat rest for 10 minutes after it comes off the grill so that the juices can redistribute throughout the meat. If you cut it right away, all the juices will run right out.

Spicy Smoked Paprika Butter

1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup) at room temperature
1 T. smoked sweet paprika
1 t. chili powder
1/4 t. chipotle chili powder (or substitute with cayenne pepper)
1/2 t. powdered cumin
1/2 t. garlic powder
salt to taste

1. In a small bowl, mix all ingredients into butter until well combined. Add salt to taste and mix well.

2. Spoon mixture onto a sheet of waxed paper, roll it into a cylinder and twist each end tight. Refrigerate overnight or place the wrapped butter in a freezer bag and freeze until ready to use.

Recipe notes: The butter will keep in the freezer for 6 months. When ready to use, defrost in the fridge to make it easier to slice.

Make sure you visit 101 Cookbooks to check out some other ideas for making and using compound butters.

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19 Comments
  1. Pam

    utterly sublime!!

    10:21 am  Aug 14th, 2006
  2. Lizabeth

    My husband saw this when I was reading it and is dying for it to show up on the table…very soon we will try.

    11:29 am  Aug 14th, 2006
  3. Nicole

    Yeah this one’s a pretty big hit with my husband too :-)

    11:39 am  Aug 14th, 2006
  4. Jennifer

    OH, Nicole, this looks incredible. I’ll be sure to direct Quinn toward this, as he is our resident grill master.

    3:12 pm  Aug 14th, 2006
  5. Quinn

    I saw the (absolutely gorgeous) picture before I saw the title and the word “Heaven” was the first thing I thought! Beef tenderloin is my favorite splurge food. It sounds like I’m on Alton Brown overload recently, but if you get a chance to watch his Good Eats episode “Tender is the Loin I” you will be rewarded. I always add a little butter to my steaks as soon as they come off the grill (and while they rest.. so smart!), but you have inspired me to try spicing it up next time.

    5:10 pm  Aug 14th, 2006
  6. gardenpath

    This sounds so good–it is right before supper, here, and I am hungry. Your food descriptions are wonderful. You must be a writer, as well as a good cook.

    10:06 pm  Aug 14th, 2006
  7. Curt

    Great view of a wonderful steak! It may lead to a heart attack, but it’s heaven all the way! I also am glad to see someone that appreciates The Spice House and the products they provide… I’ve yet to find another site with the quality and prices.

    Next time I’m grilling, want to come over to get some photos? I love that shot!

    1:38 pm  Aug 15th, 2006
  8. Mae

    Heaven! The beef looks stunning with the butter slowly melting… yummy!

    12:17 am  Aug 16th, 2006
  9. sooishi

    Looks dangerously delicious! ;)

    7:28 am  Aug 28th, 2006
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  11. Mark Bellenoit

    No one cares if you “stole” the recipe, it’s just too good not to share! My Partner and I have no problem making long and difficult recipes, and when something easy with so many levels of flavor comes along, well, all the better. Thanks for posting.

    2:01 pm  Oct 23rd, 2009
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  13. Ulla

    I made this last week and it was just incredibly tasty! I also made garlic fries to go with it, the butter was delicious on those too. Thanks ALOT for posting!!! :D

    3:56 am  Jul 23rd, 2010
  14. Christina

    Thank you so much for this recipe! Made this tonight and couldn’t have been any better. My husband and I loved it! =)

    11:19 pm  Jan 12th, 2011
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  16. Greg

    Oh yeah that looks good! I’ve done the tenderloin and bacon routine before, but have never seen the paprika butter addition, I can’t wait to give it a try!

    2:49 pm  May 6th, 2013
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  18. borisa

    Good stuff!!! Here in region of southern Europe (Balkans) paprika is one of very popular veggies. It goes in almost every dish. That is why these medallions are so tasty:)

    5:39 am  Jan 21st, 2014
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