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The term “filet mignon” literally means a small fillet. This is an accurate description given that this steak cut is the smallest and most limited. It is taken from the end of the tenderloin, an extremely tender part of a cow. Because it is a muscle that is never used, it offers superior texture to other steak cuts. Its texture and rarity is what contributes to its high price.
How to Buy Filet Mignon
Filet mignon can be bought from your local grocer, food markets and butcheries. You can request a butcher to cut it for you or purchase one that is already packaged. When buying filet mignon, the color and texture are key indicators of freshness. Fresh filet mignon is deep red in color with moist skin. Avoid any meat with signs of discoloration and open packaging.
How to Season Filet Mignon
Seasoning is an important part of learning how to cook filet mignon properly. Many cooks make the mistake of seasoning filet mignon like other steak cuts. Because this meat is so tender, marinating it might actually cause it to fall apart during cooking. Therefore, it is best to either season it with salt only or a dry rub.
How to Cook Filet Mignon
There are many ways to learn how to cook filet mignon. You can cook it on the stovetop, on a grill or bake it in the oven. Before cooking, be sure to defrost the meat in the refrigerator. Remove it from the fridge and allow it to warm up in room temperature for 15 minutes.
How to Cook Filet Mignon on Stovetop
Choose a skillet that fits your filet mignon comfortably. It should not be too big or too small. Spray the skillet with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat until it gets hot.
Make sure the filet mignon is completely dry and add it to the hot skillet. Cook the meat on each side until it forms a crust. Reduce heat to medium low to cook the interior.
Insert a meat thermometer in the center of the steak and measure its temperature. Use these general temperature guidelines to check for doneness.
- Rare: 120-125F
- Medium rare: 130-135F
- Medium: 140-145F
- Medium well: 150-155F
- Well: 160F and above
How to Cook Filet Mignon in the Oven
Season the filet mignon with salt or dry rub. Pre-heat the oven to 375F.
Heat a skillet on medium-high heat and add the filet mignon. Cook the meat on both sides just enough to brown the surface and get the crust.
Remove steak from the pan and transfer it to a broiler rack. Place the rack a few inches from the heat and bake until the meat reaches the desired temperature. Serve with juices.
How to Cook Filet Mignon on a Grill
You can cook filet mignon uncovered on a charcoal grill over medium heat. If you’re using a gas grill, pre-heat it first, place the meat on the rack and immediately reduce the heat to medium. Cook covered and measure the temperature of the steak for doneness after 10 minutes. If the meat is not ready, continue cooking it in 2-minute intervals until it is ready.