After our trip to Cooperstown I wanted to quaff my haul of Ommegang Three Philosophers with a fitting meal. A while ago I had seen Alton Brown butcher up a beef tenderloin on the Food Network and I had been hankerin' to try my hand at doing it. I recently joined BJ's (our local members only buy in bulk establishment), and I noticed that they had a big ol' pile of PSMOs (Peeled, Side Meat On- butcher talk for the primal cut from which the tenderloin of beef is cut). The beef was very reasonably priced at about 8.50$ a pound, so I thought why not? After getting back to Albany, I convinced the somewhat tired and cranky troops to come with me to grab a magnificent 9 pound pismo, all the while promising the unsurpassed meaty smörgåsbord of their dreams. Here is lovely meat-snake, shrink wrapped and bathed in its meaty liqour.
Tearing the thing open and draining the juice into the sink I realized that this was going to take a little while. Besides the side muscle, which comes off fairly easily, there is a lot of surface fat and silver skin. Silver skin is a serious pain in the balls to cut off and you can really make a mess of the filet-proper if you are not careful. I started by cutting off the large side muscle found on the big end, and followed that by lopping off the long meaty rope thing which runs the length of the tenderloin(I believe butchers call this the "chain"). After exposing the tenderloin I carefully removed the silver skin and excess fat and was left with a beautiful red tube of buttery filet mignon. Below is the results of my amateur butchery. You are left with the tenderloin as well as a hearty amount of high quality stew meat to be used in delicious stews and chilies at your leisure.
From the tenderloin portion I managed to extract 5 beautiful filet-mignons of substantial size, as well as a couple baby tournados. To buy these puppies pre-butchered at your local supermarket's butcher section of cellophaned horrors you would probably pay more than what I dished out for the entire pismo, and you would not be left with all of the delicious scraps!
I threw these suckers onto my wee charcoal grill with nary a seasoning save salt and pepper. They were so fresh and delicious looking that any further nonsense would have been criminal. I had to throw a couple fat lengths of kielbasi on there for my wife who is squeamish about rare meat. I would rather shoot off my grilling-tong hand then cook a filet past medium-rare so I had to make her a tasty alternative. I also had to resist making jokes about giving the kielbasi to my wife.
About 6 minutes on each side over pretty hot coals gave me a nice rare/medium-rare temperature. I set these in the kitchen to rest for a few minutes while I popped the cork on a wine bottle sized flagon of Three Philosophers. I decided to serve the steaks unaccompanied, in all their meaty glory, with no sauces or sides, and with nothing but the beer to wash them down.
Verdict: They were simply delicious. I ate two massive filets, as did Tom and Robin. We did not leave a single morsel of cooked beef on the plate, much to the chagrin of my 18 pound feline black boyfriend Brady. The pismo is totally worth the pretty substantial investment in time and duccets, I have not had a better steak outside of a restaurant. This is definitely something you could whip out a dinner party to wow the in-laws or your friends who have not beheld such luscious offerings of beef. I do recommend, however, that you serve some roughage with the meat. I think I woke up the next morning with some sort of meat hangover.