Since my husband is Colombian and from Bogotá, he is more than familiar with this absolutely fantastic dish – I, however was not. So on our recent trip to Northern California, we cooked some lomo al trapo together at our friends Rob and Francesca’s house. It is traditionally a Colombian dish and is a beautiful large piece of beef tenderloin. Lomo = filet, Trapo = rag or cloth, so Lomo al Trapo = beef tenderloin in cloth!
I forgot our camera, so our pictures are not great this time. …sorry!
For 4 adults, with several side dishes, we bought 3.5 lbs. Make sure to trim it of all fat and silvery skin that may be around it. (Normally I would never suggest to trim the fat, but this dish calls for it for good reason)
What you’ll need:
- 3 – 4 lbs of center cut beef tenderloin, grass-fed of course
- 1.5 lbs salt (don’t worry - it will not be salty)
- 2 – 3 stems of fresh rosemary
- 1 – 2 stems of fresh thyme
- 1 cotton 18 x 18 napkin or cloth
- some twine
- hot smoldering embers
- and 45 to 50 minutes of time
Fresh herbs are always key, you can choose your favorite ones – they don’t have to be rosemary or thyme, just as long as they are fresh and you love the taste.
First, place the cotton cloth diagonally, corners pointing toward you, onto your counter. Pour the salt on top of the cloth to form a layer 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick that extends to about 1 inch of the edge of the cloth. Place herbs onto salt.
Lay the beef tenderloin on top of the salt at the far end of the cloth and roll the cloth and salt around the tenderloin, starting in the far corner. You want to make a very compact roll. Now take the points of cloth at each end of the resulting package and tie them together on top of the tenderloin. Do this right before your charcoal or gas grille are ready.
So now to the cooking methods. As you can see, our friends cooked the lomo al trapo in their fireplace. But you can also cook it on your gas grill.
First here’s how to cook it the fireplace method:
Light a fire with some wood, burn it down until you have beautiful embers, and lay the wrapped tenderloin right on the wood cradle, knot side up. Let it cook in the fireplace for about 40 – 50 minutes for a tender red middle – turn it a couple of times within that time frame. The cloth will burn and yes you’ll see some flames, but that is ok, it’s meant to. The whole thing will look like a burnt log, but not on the inside. It really is amazing.
cutting in motion
Once it’s done 40 mins for rare plus, carefully remove it and cut the cloth open. Slice it and serve. It is so incredibly smooth, soft, tender…amazing. You have to taste it to be able to describe it. Oh, and let’s not forget the amazing flavor.
Here’s the gas BBQ/grill method:
Heat your BBQ/grille as hot as possible. Arrange the cloth wrapped tenderloin on the grate, knot side up. Grill until the bottom is charred black, about 18 – 20 minutes. Cover the BBQ! Turn the meat log over and grill until the other side is jet black and remove. Should roughly be about the same amount of time.
We served it with Butternut Squash boats, and yesterday’s post of bell peppers with Bacon Swiss Chard.
Lomo al Trapo is one of my new favorite dishes of all time!
We hope that you too try it and let us know what you think. It is not a cheap dish, so save it for a special occasion!
Happy Cooking! Jo and Henry