"Filet mignon" is one of the most popular steaks around the world for its combination of tenderness and flavor. It’s no wonder that it is referred to as "the king of steaks". Dry cooking methods on high flame like grilling/broiling, frying, or roasting are the best methods to cook it; these methods preserve its tenderness and add flavor.
Filet mignon, being the most tender part of meat, can best be cooked using dry methods to render flavor while still maintaining its tenderness. The tenderness of this ‘thick slice of dainty steak’ is the result of its position at the small end of the tenderloin called the short loin at the back rib cage of a cow and is a non-weight-bearing muscle. This steak, also being the most popular among diners at restaurants, can turn out to be quite an expensive indulgence. So, how about trying it out at home instead? Follow the methods given below. They are super easy to follow and will give you a chance to boast of your cooking skills among family and friends, equivalent to the pièce de résistance of renowned steak houses and restaurants!
Different Methods to Cook Filet Mignon
Broiling in the US is called grilling in the UK and in Australia.
-Opt for a pair of Black Angus Filet Mignon.
-Lay the chilled meat pieces out on a flat dish and dab each filet with a paper napkin to soak some of the moisture up. Then let the meat stand unperturbed for half an hour. Remember, if you do not get the meat down to room temperature and start cooking with the chilled meat itself, you will end up with very dry grilled filet mignon.
-After 30 minutes, dab the meat dry again to get rid of the condensed water.
-Rub the chunks with ground pepper, slight amounts of granular garlic and rosemary, salt and some steak spice (optional), and allow them to sit for 30 minutes.
-At the same time, preheat your grill to medium-high temperature. By this time, the filet mignon will have absorbed the rubbed spices and be ready to be processed further.
-Now, place them on the preheated charcoal grill rack (which needs to be directly over the heat) and cook it as per the specifications below.
- For a 1-inch cut: 10 – 12 minutes at 145º F (62° C) – Medium-rare
- For a 1-inch cut: 12 – 15 minutes at 160º F (71° C) – Medium
- For a 1½-inch cut: 15 – 19 minutes at 145º F (62° C) – Medium-rare
- For a 1½-inch cut: 18 – 23 minutes at 160º F (71° C) – Medium
-Once it is grilled, cover it with a silver foil and let it sit for 20 minutes.
-Serve the filet mignon with a little olive oil sprinkled over it.
Things to Remember During Grilling/Broiling
-Do not keep the steak for longer than required before grilling as it will become dry.
-While grilling, use a spatula or tongs to flip sides. If you pierce it with a fork, the juices may run out, making it dry. This is also the reason why a meat thermometer should never be used to pierce the meat in order to check the internal temperature.
-If using a gas grill, you will need to preheat it for a good 20 minutes for it to be optimally hot for grilling. A charcoal grill is hot enough when you place your palm a few inches above the grill and the heat doesn’t allow you to keep it there for more than 3 seconds.
-Grill covered on a gas grill after you have preheated the oven and then brought the heat down to medium.
-Grill uncovered on a charcoal grill using medium-sized coal.
-If your filet mignon is 1½-inch thick or more, place it at a distance of 5 inches above or below the heat source.
-If your filet mignon is less than 1½-inch thick, place it at a distance of 3 inches above or below the heat source.
The beautiful thing about the filet mignon is that you can serve it with an assortment of sauces (e. g., Hollandaise sauce) because it isn’t a marbled piece of meat.
Sauce Options for Grilled Filet Mignon
½ a cup of butter (softened) + 2 teaspoons of fresh marjoram or oregano (chopped) + 2 teaspoons fresh thyme (chopped)
-Beat using hand mixer on low speed until uniformly commingled, cover, and refrigerate for 1 – 24 hours.
½ a cup of butter (softened) + 1 tablespoon of fresh cilantro (chopped) + 1 teaspoon of chipotle pepper (chopped) in adobo sauce
-Beat using hand mixer on low speed until uniformly commingled, cover, and refrigerate for 1 – 24 hours.
Blue Cheese Butter:
½ a cup of butter (softened) + 2 tablespoons of blue cheese (crumbled)
-Beat using a hand mixer on low speed until uniformly commingled, cover, and refrigerate for 1 – 24 hours.
-Drizzle a tablespoon of any of these over the grilled meat just before serving.
-First, opt for filets mignons which are about 6 – 8 ounces and no larger.
-Lay the chilled meat pieces out on a flat dish and dab each filet with a paper napkin to soak some of the moisture up. Then let the meat stand unperturbed for half an hour. Remember, if you do not get the meat down to room temperature and start cooking with the chilled meat itself, the cooked result will be rather dry. After 30 minutes, dab dry again to get rid of the condensed water.
-Season with sea salt, very little black pepper (too much pepper will only result in overwhelming the original taste of the meat), and a teaspoon of chopped up fresh rosemary.
-Let 3 teaspoons of margarine or butter heat in a frying pan on medium-high.
-Now add 3 teaspoons of olive oil to it on high heat.
-Next, place the filets mignons in the pan and sear them for 2 – 3 minutes and flip side while also adding another teaspoon of margarine or butter. When both sides become golden-brown, the filets mignons are ready to be served. You can also check the temperature to gauge the degree of doneness as per the specifications below.
- 120º F – 125º F – Rare
- 130º F – 140º F – Medium-rare
- 145º F – 150º F – Medium
- 150º F – 160º F – Medium-well
- 160º F+ – Well-done
-It is best, however, to not cook a filet mignon beyond medium.
-Now, pan-searing is enough to cook 6 – 8-ounce filets mignons. But in case you want to fry bigger chunks, you can further heat it in a preheated oven at 425° F (218° C). Once the seared steak is ready, place it on the baking plate in the oven for about 6 – 8 minutes. While searing adds color, texture, and flavor to the steak, heating it further in the oven will cook it more evenly.
Things to Remember When Pan-frying Filet Mignon
– Do not fry more than the required time if you want the result to have a crispy outer crust but to be tender, juicy, and pink on the inside.
– Use a stainless steel or cast-iron skillet for frying and not a nonstick one. This way, some bits of caramelized beef (also called fond) sticks to the pan which can further be used to make a mean steak sauce or some other condiment that can be drizzled on the pan-seared filet mignon before serving.
Balsamic Vinegar Pan Sauce
- The butter and olive oil the filet mignon was seared in – Heat on medium.
- 2 teaspoons of garlic (ground) – Add it to the butter and sauté for 15 seconds.
- ¼ cup of vermouth – Pour this in next and use a spatula to scrape up the bits of caramelized beef stuck to the pan. Then increase the heat to high and let the liquid vaporize until you are left with a concentrated syrup.
- ¼ cup of chicken broth (for a lighter flavor) OR ½ a cup of beef broth (for a richer flavor) + 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar + 2 teaspoons of soy sauce – Pour these in and heat until the liquid vaporizes until you are left with a concentrated syrup.
- 1 tablespoon of butter – Remove the concoction from heat and then stir this in.
- Salt + black pepper (freshly ground) – Season well.
-Opt for a 2 – 3 pound filet mignon roast.
– Lay the chilled meat out on a flat dish and dab it with a paper napkin to soak some of the moisture up. Then let the meat stand unperturbed for half an hour. Remember, if you do not get the meat down to room temperature and start cooking with the chilled meat itself, the end result will be rather dry. After 30 minutes, dab dry again to get rid of the condensed water.
– Preheat the oven to 475° F (250° C).
– Place the meat on a roasting pan with the fat-side facing up.
-Next, rub olive oil all over the log of meat.
-Season with salt, pepper, and about a tablespoon of thyme.
– Transfer it to the oven and roast for 12 – 15 minutes.
-Lower the temperature to 350° F (150° C) and roast for about 20 – 25 minutes. The combination of lower heat and longer cooking time will enhance the flavor of the steak. Roast it as per the specifications below.
- 125º F – Rare
- 135º F – Medium
-Once it is roasted, cover the filet with a silver foil and let it sit for 20 minutes. Slice and serve.
Things to Remember When Roasting Filet Mignon
– Choose thicker steak pieces, about 1¼” than you would normally buy for other methods, as they respond better to roasting.
– Check the steak every 10 minutes to ensure you do not overcook it.
Mushroom Sauce for Filet Mignon
- 2 tablespoons of butter – Melt on medium-high heat.
- 10 ounces of mushrooms (coarsely chopped) + 2 garlic cloves (ground) + 1 teaspoon of onion powder – Add these to the molten butter and cook until most of the water from the mushrooms has evaporated.
- ½ a cup of white wine (for a lighter flavor) or ½ a cup of red wine (for a richer flavor) – Pour this in next and keep cooking until most of the liquid dissipates.
- ½ a cup of chicken broth (for a lighter flavor) OR ½ a cup of beef broth (for a richer flavor) + 4 tablespoons pan drippings – Add these after reducing the heat and stir until all the ingredients are thoroughly commingled.
Useful Tips for Cooking Filet Mignon
-While buying filet mignon choose light-colored pieces over darker ones since they are more tender. Light pinkish pieces will show thin white veins running through them, which contain fat. Thinner the lines, juicer is the piece.
-When the filet mignon is ready, it is important that it is cooked only to medium-rare. While cooking, if you touch the meat and it feels tender and leaves your finger imprint on it, it is rare. If you touch it and it feels tender, but does not leave a finger imprint on it, it is medium-rare, and if it feels hard and firm, it is overcooked. Alternately, you can press a digital meat thermometer at the thickest part and check if the filet mignon is done.
-Keep the cooked steak aside for about 10 – 20 minutes, wrapped in a foil. The steak will still cook further by itself and spread the juices evenly on the entire piece. Hence, it is advised not to cook it beyond medium-rare.
-The filet mignon should be sandwiched between bacon slices, and secured with a toothpick for cooking since the steaks are less in fat content. Bacon makes the steak juicy and adds flavor.
-The filet mignon is best served with steak sauce or as is, if it is marinated before cooking. You can also serve dry red wine like Merlot with it if the sauce has a strong flavor or a sweet white wine like Zinfandel or Chardonnay.
Serve your loved ones with beautifully cooked filet mignon and be ready to handle the compliments that will follow!