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
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.