For a special-occasion meal, you can’t go wrong with a smoked beef tenderloin. This simple, largely hands-off cooking method allows the tenderloin’s inherently rich and savory flavor to be enhanced with a gentle smokiness; plus, the low and slow heat of the smoker guarantees exceptionally succulent beef. Presented with a vibrant chimichurri sauce, this smoked beef tenderloin is absolutely dressed to impress. And it makes the perfect holiday main course given that it pairs beautifully with everything from classic, buttery mashed potatoes to green bean casserole. Note: This method also works well with other cuts of beef. For easy, budget friendly substitutions for tenderloin, try one of the other cuts listed at the bottom of the recipe. 

Elizabeth Karmel
Recipe by Southern Living June 2013


Credit: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett

Recipe Summary test

35 mins
15 hrs 20 mins
Makes 8 to 10 servings


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Cover tenderloin, and let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

  • Meanwhile, soak wood chips in water 30 minutes. Prepare smoker according to manufacturer's directions, bringing internal temperature to 300°; maintain temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.

  • Pat tenderloin dry; brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with Hill Country Rub.

  • Drain wood chips, and place on coals. Place tenderloin on cooking grate; cover with smoker lid.

  • Smoke tenderloin, maintaining temperature inside smoker at 300°, for 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 130°. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes; cover and chill 12 to 24 hours.

  • Coat cold cooking grate of grill with cooking spray, and place on grill. Preheat grill to 400° to 450° (high) heat. Place chilled tenderloin on cooking grate, and grill 2 minutes on each side. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with Chimichurri Sauce.

Chef's Notes

Budget-Friendly Beef Alternatives: Feel free to substitute one of these steaks for the tenderloin. You'll simply need to reduce the rub to 1 1/4 teaspoons, decrease the smoker temperature to 250°, and follow the smoking times below.

Tri-Tip Steak: 20 minutes for 1 1/2 lb.
Flank Steak: 15 minutes for 1 lb.