In my book, eating a beef tenderloin filet without any kind of sauce or accouterment is a fairly boring experience. Even with a sauce, a filet can still be boring. This lack of a "wow" factor is why I rarely grill them. I like fat and flavor and the filet usually just doesn't do it for me.
Oddly enough, the wonderful world of planking has surprised me yet again and with a filet, no less. I was so blown away by how this meal came together, it is now on my "do again" list. For a filet to be included here is a pretty impressive feat...of course the fact it included, grilling, planking and smoking may have something to do with it.
Inspiration again comes from Techniques for Planking. I cannot plug this book enough. Perhaps because it is so small, I feel compelled to "cook the book". Whatever the reason, every time I put it away, it finds its way back to the counter.
The filet planking process is straightforward. First, soak your plank for at least an hour. (I ebb and flow on soaking, but since my plank was really thin, I opted for the water bath). We were grilling corn in the husk too, so there was a whole lot of soaking going on in the kitchen.
Prep the grill for a two zone medium fire (coals on one side and nothing on the other). The slather in this recipe consists of porcini mushrooms, sugar, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic and olive oil.
With the grill at temperature, grill one side of the filets for approximately 3-5 minutes. With one side done, move the filets to the soaked plank, grilled side up.
Cover the filets with the slather and return the plank to the grill over the side without coals.
At this point you can also add wood chips to the fire to increase the smokiness. I, of course, opted the smoke route and piled in a handful of whiskey barrel chips.
Continue to grill the filets with the lid down for another 20 minutes, or until the meat is cooked till your liking. Because I started my filets at different times on the initial sear, I ended up with one filet medium rare (mine) and one well done (not mine).
The end result was killer. The meat had a wonderful crust from the initial sear and then a double hit of smoke from the plank and chips. The mushroom garlic slather packed a little bit of heat and served as the perfect addition to a meal we really enjoyed. Perhaps I need to look at the filet in a different light, or perhaps I just need to remember I enjoy it best covered in a slather and packed full of smoke.