There’s come controversy whether the Filet Mignon is the “king of steaks” or not. It’s certainly among the priciest cuts, and the most tender, but critics says that with that tender texture, comes a loss of flavor. I say I understand both points of view; I’d also say that having to choose a favorite cut, is like asking a mom to choose a favorite child….so, why not love them all.
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How to Cook Filet Mignon
Oven Roasted Filet Mignon
Best Filet Mignon Recipes
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There’s nothing quite like a great steak. Just thinking about them conjures up images of backyard grilling and dark, wood paneled steakhouses. In this recipe video, I make a pepper steak, actually a couple pepper steaks – both a New York Strip and a filet. I also use a pan roasting technique, rather than grilling outdoors. To be honest, I probably use this technique more often than grilling, because it’s so great to use the pan drippings to make a sauce.
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I love a grilled steak. Getting the beautiful smoky char on the outside of the meat adds a great flavor and texture, but the grill is not your only steak option. Too many of my friends don’t think about cooking a steak “indoors”, but really there’s no reason they shouldn’t. In fact, pan roasting a steak gives you the opportunity to add some additional flavors that are harder to do on the gri
What is Filet Mignon?
The term itself is French, meaning “Danty Filet”, and while there is a bit of variation throughout the United States (and a bit more worldwide), Filet Mignon generally refers to a round shaped steak cut from the tenderloin muscle of a cow. You may hear the same cut referred to as Filet, Filet Steak, Tenderloin Steak, Beef Medallions, Beef Tornados.
The tenderloin is a long, snake-like shaped muscle, that runs along the spine of the cow; and there are two per cow. Because of the location of the muscle, it actually does very little work supporting weight or movement; so it develops little connective tissue. That lack of connective tissue is what makes Tenderloin, and Filet Mignon, the most tender of all cuts of steak.
How tender is Filet Mignon, and what does it taste like?
Filet is indeed very tender. Cooked correctly, you won’t need much more than a butter knife to cut it. The grain the meat is fairly fine, and runs vertically through the cut. Many people refer to filet as having a buttery, or silky texture.
That tenderness does come at a cost. Filet mignon is also one of the more mild flavored steaks, largely due to it’s lack of fat. You’ll find much milder beef flavor when compared to other steakhouse cuts like New York, Ribeye, or Skirt.
The good news is the flavor of Filet Mignon makes it perfect for pairing with sauces like Bernaise, Hollandaise, bordelaise, Chimichurri, Peppercorn, Mushroom….not to mention an endless number of flavored (compound) butters.
How Do You Cook Filet Mignon?
There are as many ways to cook a Filet Mignon as there are great chefs out there. And the best way for you is really a matter of taste. That said, my goto cooking technique is to quickly sear the filet over high heat in a pan on top of the stove, and then move the whole thing into the oven. The pan drippings give you a lot of options for sauce making, and it’s also very easy to baste the filet in butter an herbs, a great steakhouse trick.
A close second, is grilled Filet Mignon. The smoke and char from the grill provide great flavor; it’s just hard to make a sauce through a grill grate!
How Long do You Cook Filet Mignon?
I always cook my Filet over high heat with the goal of getting a strong sear & crust on the outside of the steak. That provides a ton of flavor. Then, to get the internal temp to where you want it, you can finish the filet at lower temperature in the oven or a closed grill.
I like to cook filet mignon to medium rare, which is about 125 degrees internal temperature. Below that, and I find the meat’s texture is too soft. Once the steak reaches (or exceeds) medium, the low fat filet mignon begins to dry out and toughen, loosing the tenderness that you’re paying a premium for.
Exact cooking time is always hard to lay out in instructions, as it depends on the thickness of the cut, and the temp you cook the Filet at. My general rule of thumb for a 3 inch thick filet, is to sear it on the first side for about 3 minutes, the second side for about 3 minutes, and then cook in a 400 degree oven for about 4 minutes for medium rare. But your best bet is a meat thermometer.