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Pepper Crusted Petite Tender and Wheatberry Ragu with Sauce Choron

Chef Joe Johnson

We partnered with Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner  on behalf of the Beef Checkoff and asked asked Chef Joe Johnson of Charcoal Venice to create delicious dishes showcasing premium beef cuts. Here, chef showcases a Pepper Crusted Petite Tender and Wheatberry Ragu with Sauce Choron.

If you try recreating this on your own, post a picture and tag @chefsroll and @beefitswhatsfordinner ! We can’t wait to see how it turns out for you.

Plated on a @fortessatableware Sanibel Dinner Plate⁠

Pepper Crusted Petite Tender


  • 2  10oz Petite Tender (aka shoulder tender, teres major)
  • ¼ c white peppercorn, medium coarse ground
  • ¼ c black peppercorn, medium coarse
  • ¼ c pink peppercorn, medium coarse ground
  • ¼ c green pepper corn, medium coarse ground
  • ½ c Dijon mustard
  • fine sea salt
  • coarse sea salt


  1. Put the steaks in a baking dish and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Combine all of the peppercorns, mix thoroughly and place on a second baking tray. Brush the tender lightly with Dijon mustard and roll in the peppercorn mix to crust completely. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours, this will help the peppercorn crust to adhere better. Take the meat of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before grilling to come up to temperature.
  3. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to high heat (450 to 500°F). Take a few paper towels and fold them several times to make a thick square. Blot a small amount of oil on the paper towel then carefully and quickly wipe the hot grates of the grill. This will create a non-stick grilling surface. Season both sides of the steaks with salt.
  4. Lay the steaks on the hot grill, and sear for 3 minutes, turning them every 30 seconds to ensure even cooking. Remove the steak to a wire rack to rest for 5 minutes. Return the steak to the grill and continue to cook for 4 more minutes, continuing to turn every 30 seconds. Don’t overcook; you want the steaks slightly charred on the outside and medium-rare inside. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the steak should read 130°F.
  5. Remove to a wire rack, cover to keep warm until ready to serve.


Wheatberry Ragu


  • 1 c wheatberries
  • 1 ea large portobello mushroom caps, wiped of grit, medium dice
  • ¼ ea sweet onion, small diced
  • 1 ea clove garlic, germ removed, minced
  • 3 tbs cooking oil
  • 1 ½ c beef broth, sodium free
  • ¼ stick unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 tbs parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbs chives, chopped
  • 1 ea lemon wedge
  • fine sea salt
  • cracked black peppercorn


  1. In a medium sauce pot add the wheatberries and cover with 2 cups of cold water. Stir the wheatberries and allow them the settle, this will allow any foreign objects the come to the surface. Remove any foreign objects, strain the water and replace with another 2 cups of cold water.
  2. Place on the stove at high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot with a lid or foil. Allow the wheatberries to simmer for 25-40 minutes until only about 10% of the water is left and the wheatberries are tender and cooked through. Hold cooked wheatberries in a warm place until needed.
  3. While the wheatberries are cooking, in a sauté pan add cooking oil and place over medium high heat. Place onions and garlic into the pan and begin to cook, once the onions begin to soften, add the mushrooms and continue sauté until all ingredients are golden brown. Season to taste with fine sea salt throughout the cooking process. Reserve the sautéed mushroom mixture for the next step.
  4. In a sauce pot combine the wheatberries, mushroom mixture and beef broth, bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Continue to simmer until the beef broth reduces by halve, reduce the heat to a low simmer and slowly add in the butter while stirring.
  5. Allow the ragu to gently simmer until the liquid is lightly glazing the mixture, to finish add parsley, chives and season with fine sea salt, cracked black pepper and a few drops of lemon juice. Reserve in pot until ready to plate


Sauce Choron (Tomato Hollandaise)


  • 1 ea egg yolk
  • 1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbs tomato puree
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 4 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 1 c dry white wine
  • 1 c white wine vinegar
  • 10 ea black peppercorns
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 ea shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbs water
  • ½ c melted butter
  • fine sea salt


  1. In a small sauce pot combine the tarragon, cayenne pepper, sliced shallot, black peppercorn, white wine and white wine vinegar. Bring to a simmer and reduce down to ¼ cup, strain and cool the reduction and reserve.
  2. Coat a small sauté pan with olive oil and place over medium low heat. Add the tomato puree and paste, season lightly and cook until the raw tomato flavor is gone. Reserve until ready to make the Sauce Choron. 
  3. Create a double boiler with a pot and a stainless-steel bowl large enough to sit on the pot without touching the boiling water below. Removed the bowl from the pot and add the egg yolk, tomato mixture, water, 1 tablespoon of the tarragon reduction, and ½ teaspoon fine seas salt.
  4. Vigorously whisk the egg yolk mixture together in the stainless-steel bowl until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Place the bowl over the barely simmering water and continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get to hot or they will scramble. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume.
  5. Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use.


To Finish

  1. Divide the wheatberry ragu between four plate.
  2. Slice the petite tender into the preferred thickness and place alongside the ragu.
  3. Finish the tender with coarse sea salt and olive oil, add of pour of the Sauce Choron on the plate or drizzle over the steak.