Why is Filet Mignon America's favorite steakhouse cut?

The Filet Mignon is known as the “Aristocrat of Tenderness.” The cut is known for its tenderness along with mild flavor, of all the steak cuts it’s always been the most approachable. Yet, in terms of the cost of meat it also is the most expensive. Butchers cut Filet Mignons from the tenderloin primal, which represents only 2-3% of the Steer.

About the cut:

The filet mignon is cut from the tenderloin, which is part of the loin primal.

The tenderloin primal is a non-weight bearing muscle, which mains relatively unused compared to other parts of the body. Without much activity the muscle can avoid getting too tough or chewy. While Filet Mignons are known for their tenderness they are not known for their marbling. The tenderloin primal contains less intramuscular fat than other primals. Intramuscular fat that, the white that streaks through the meat gives a buttery and rich flavor when the fat melts in the cooking process. This is also why a cut such as a Ribeye or a New York will typically have a bigger steak flavor than a Filet Mignon.

Cooking a Filet Mignon:

Cook a Filet Mignon correctly and it will be a decadent crowd pleaser that can be cut with a butter knife. However, this cut can also be the trickiest to cook because of its smaller size. A common mistake when cooking is over charring or over cooking, which will quickly dry out the steak. Chef recommends cooking Filet Mignons rare to medium rare to preserve the tenderness, juiciness, avoid overcooking and tasting that perfect balance. There are multiple ways to cook a Filet Mignon from pre-sear, reverse sear, grill, or sous vide. Depending on your cooking method, you will want to be conscious of the thickness of your filet mignons and the impact of the time to cook to reach your desired temperature.

steak doneness chart: rare 120°, medium rare 130°, medium 140°, medium well 150°, well 160°

Not all Filet Mignons are created equally. When you shop for Filet Mignon, take care to note the grade of beef – Choice (the lowest quality often found in grocery stores), Select (an affordable cut in mid-tier stores and butcher shops), Prime (what you will find at fine dining restaurants – the top 6% of Beef in America). Ask about aging, while Filet Mignons are known for their tenderness the aging method of the beef will impact and amplify that texture. The longer a steak is aged the more relaxed and tender the muscles will become. Grocery stores are dealing with such high volumes that they can’t afford to leave steak aging for very long. At the Golden Steer Steak Company, all our steaks are wet-aged for over 30 days. You can try our Filet Mignons in both the Showman, Mafiosa, and Bambino Signature Steak Boxes.

Filet Mignon Recipes:

Premium Filet Mignons can stand on their own with simple seasoning and a ladle full of Au Jus, they can wow. However, it can still be quite fun to try different preparations whether steak crusts or wrapping this petite cut in bacon. For a French take, look no further than Filet with Gorgonzola (recipe). For an Argentinian twist, try this Filet with Chimichurri (recipe).


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