Ancho-Rubbed Bison Tenderloin With Spicy Cilantro Sauce Recipe

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Note: If bison is unavailable, this recipe will work with a beef tenderloin as well.

Recipe Details

Ancho-Rubbed Bison Tenderloin With Spicy Cilantro Sauce Recipe

Active 20 mins
Total 0 mins
Serves 4 to 6 servings


  • For the Bison:
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 center-cut bison tenderloin, trimmed and tied for roasting (about 2 pounds, see note)
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves and fine stems (about 2 loosely packed cups)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil


  1. Combine sugar, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and coriander in a small bowl and mix with fingers until homogenous. Rub evenly over entire surface of tenderloin. Transfer to a wire rack, refrigerate, and let rest for at least 45 minutes and up to overnight.

  2. Meanwhile, combine cilantro, garlic, red pepper flakes, vinegar, and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process until a rough sauce is formed, about 20 seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  3. When ready to cook, adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 275°F. Heat oil in a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add tenderloin and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer tenderloin to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and transfer to oven. Roast until an instant read thermometer inserted into center of roast registers 125°F for medium rare or 135°F for medium, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes before carving and serving with sauce.

Special equipment

Food processor or blender, large cast iron or stainless steel skillet

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