Why Beef Tenderloin Is So Expensive, According To Michael Symon

Beef tenderloin is one of the most controversial cuts of meat. It is among the most expensive steaks one can order at a restaurant, and many people feel that it earns its high price thanks to its lean and juicy flavor. Made from the tender, fat-encased portion of the cow's spine called the psoas major, it is usually served seared and lightly seasoned with nothing more than a little salt and black pepper, per The Spruce Eats. However, while beef tenderloin tends to be popular with customers, not all professional chefs are fans. Some chefs, in fact, rank beef tenderloin as the most overrated cut of beef, saying it isn't as flavorful as other, less expensive cuts (via Thrillist).

While many people are quick to shell out money for beef tenderloin, some of them might not fully understand exactly why it costs as much as it does. Food Network chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author Michael Symon weighed in on the topic on Twitter. "It is the perfect example of something that customers like much more than cooks .. People like its tenderness and no fat .. cooks, butchers and chefs love flavor .. it's expensive due to its popularity.. it's supply and demand," he explained in response to a fan who had asked why beef tenderloin is often so expensive despite the fact that many professional cooks don't love it.

People are divided on whether or not beef tenderloin is worth the price

Consumer demand isn't the only reason why beef tenderloin is so expensive. Symon also mentioned supply issues in his tweet about the cut, which affect the price because there isn't much beef tenderloin per cow. According to The Spruce Eats, a cow's most tender parts — such as the tenderloin and ribeye — only make up about 8% of the animal, meaning each cow can only produce a few servings of tenderloin. The remaining parts are not as profitable, further driving up the prices of these tender cuts.

While supply and demand may help explain the reason why this cut of meat is so pricey, it doesn't necessarily settle the greater debate about beef tenderloin. Some people responded to Symon's post in defense of the cut: "I feel it's a perfect cut for a smoker. Reverse seared is the way to go IMO," one follower replied, while another agreed, "A smoked beef tenderloin is awesome." Others sided with the chef that beef tenderloin's subtle flavor doesn't merit its price. User @PfeifferDon called it "the worst cut on the animal." As long as restaurant goers and butcher customers continuing ordering this cut with enthusiasm, it sounds like its high price tag is here to stay.