Test Kitchen Chronicles: Tenderloin and Strip Loin Face Off in Grilled Beef Roulades

Tenderloin versus Strip Loin – We wanted to test out the Grilled Beef Roulades recipe that we had on file with another cut to see what could substitute for the tasty Tenderloin.

Our mantra is: all cuts within the same Cooking Category can be substituted for another, so Top Sirloin, Rib and Strip Loin Premium Oven Roasts should all be good replacements for Tenderloin.

But with this recipe, you need a super-tender cut so the Roulades slice nicely as you eat them. Would the Roulades work as well with something other than Tenderloin?? We had to see.

What we considered:

  1. We wanted a cut that was about the same shape so it would fit to neatly wrap around the asparagus spears.
  2. We wanted a roast that would come close in tenderness to Tenderloin so we were looking to work with a cut from the Premium Oven Roast category.

Strip Loin seemed like the best option. See our test notes below:

  • Strip Loin and Tenderloin face off – the Tenderloin is the little one in front.

  • Cut in slices 1/3-inch (8 mm) thick – we got out the ruler and used our favourite super sharp meat slicing (carving) knife. Both roasts were frozen slightly to make them firmer for easier slicing. Tenderloin slices are on the right here. NOTE: We ended up totally trimming the Strip Loin roast to have it as lean as the Tenderloin slices without the fine band of connective tissue that runs along the top edge of the Strip Loin.

  • We tossed the slices with the seasoned olive oil mixture to marinade briefly. NOTE: I left one Strip Loin slice untrimmed to see how Strip Loin would work without trimming. The marinade time was kept to 15 minutes – just enough time to prep the asparagus and sweet peppers for the Roulades.

  • Next we wrapped the slices around the pepper strips and trimmed and blanched asparagus spears. To prepare the asparagus for the Roulades, it was first trimmed (discarding the trim) and then blanched. The asparagus spears were then cut to match the length of the pepper strips for the Roulades, saving the extra part of the spears to use with a mix of other veggies to toss into a grill basket for a pretty side-dish for the meal.

  • We’re ready to grill: note the bottom row of Roulades are made with the Tenderloin – and in the second row from the bottom (second from the left) is our one untrimmed Strip Loin – the trimming really helps the Strip Loin wrap more neatly around the veggies. Trim is in!

  • After about 5 to 6 minutes on the grill, turning several times, our Roulades were cooked to be heated through and nicely grilled up. And although I personally like my beef on the medium-rare side, we found the Roulades served up better when cooked to medium to medium-well.  The Roulades sliced up much nicer on the plate at that doneness.

THE RESULTS: The Strip Loin worked really well, looking just as stunning as the Tenderloin Roulades. They also sliced nicely on the plate – a little bit more of a bite but a beefier flavour than Tenderloin as a bonus.

THE VERDICT: With trimming the Strip Loin roast first, I preferred it over the Tenderloin – but hey, that’s just me – I like my beef with a bit of a bite and I love a bolder beef flavour!


Raised on a cat and cattle farm, Joyce Parslow (Canada Beef’s Consumer Culinary Manager for over 10 years) has what she thinks is the best career in the world, combining her love for food and agriculture.  As a busy working mom, with 2 kids under-roof, and a nomadic spouse, Joyce is often wrestling with that age-old problem of how to get a wholesome affordable meal on the table (or at least in the bellies) and get out the door in time to make 2 soccer games in 2 different cities.  It is this and other mom-type cooking conundrums that fuels Joyce with new ideas for Canadian beef.  Her approach: “problems are really just solutions in disguise”.

5 replies
  1. Dmitri
    Dmitri says:

    What’s tastier though. Some restaurants I noticed make you choose between striploin and tenderloin and they are the same price. I tend to pick tenderlon,but is there a difference in taste? I’d assume tenderloin is more tender?

    • thebeefladyheather
      thebeefladyheather says:

      great question! Thanks for reading the beef blog & supporting Canadian beef Dmitri:) Strip Loin would be a bit tougher but still VERY tender. Strip Loin has more flavour. Happy beef eating!

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  1. […] this fab recipe for grilled beef roulades.  Be sure to check out what Joyce discovered in the Test Kitchen on substituting Strip Loin for Tenderloin in this […]

  2. […] Test Kitchen Chronicles: Tenderloin and Strip Loin Face Off in Grilled Beef Roulades […]

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