The smell of a good steak cooking on the grill is one of those things that has no match. The sound of the sizzle as the heat slowly cooks the meat to tender perfection is a beautiful thing to hear. Finally, when it is ready, tasting the buttery smooth filet as it melts in your mouth is an experience to savor. Once you learn how to grill filet mignon, this all can be a reality.
You don't have to settle for tough cuts that you have to coax to tender bites. A filet mignon is naturally tender and tasty. However, if you cook it wrong, it won't be so great. Learning how to grill filet mignon the right way will help you avoid eating shoe leather. There are tricks and tips you can follow, but it all starts with understanding the meat before you ever fire up the grill.
An Intro to Filet Mignon
Filet mignon is an extraordinary cut of beef. As you learn how to grill filet mignon, you will see it is not just another steak. What makes the filet mignon stand out, according to Omaha Steaks, is where it comes from within the cow. It is part of the tenderloin, which you find running along the spine just behind the ribs. This area of muscle gets very little work. It doesn't get broken down and doesn't have much connective tissue. The result is a very tender cut.
About the tenderloin
As you will discover while you learn how to grill filet mignon, this cut is also one of the most expensive. The tenderloin is a small portion, and the filet mignon is just one small tip of the tenderloin. You get about 12 pounds of tenderloin from a cow, but only a bit of that is the filet mignon. Because this cut of meat isn't as readily available, the cost of it remains on the high side.
The tenderloin is also where we find the sirloin. The sirloin, tenderloin, and filet mignon are some of the most coveted cuts of beef. People enjoy them because they are the most tender cuts and they almost melt in your mouth. These are also ideal for people who might not eat beef often or who don't like a strong flavor because these cuts are very mild. You'll also discover as you learn how to grill filet mignon that this steak is quite forgiving of cooking mistakes. It is difficult to go wrong with this cut of beef.
About the flavor
Filet mignon often comes wrapped in bacon to add a little flavor. Compared to the prime rib, the filet mignon is much less flavorful. It still provides an outstanding eating experience and tastes terrific when seasoned. It is well worth it to learn how to grill filet mignon. You will enjoy the experience.
Advice for Buying Filet Mignon
As you shop for and learn how to grill filet mignon, you'll notice this meat is a cut above the rest. The Kitchn (no, that isn't a typo) explains it is a small and compact cut of beef but also substantial with its thick cut. Typically, it is one of the thickest cuts for a steak because it isn't going to take up a lot of landscape on your plate. You need the thickness to give you something of substance.
Stores or butchers usually sell it trimmed. This means they cut off the fat and gristle. They also remove the silver skin, which is a tough layer of fat that will not break down during cooking. However, Delishably mentions that you can get it untrimmed, which may save you a little money.
Grass or grain fed
You also will see grass-fed and grain- or corn-fed beef options. Grass-fed beef has less fat and often a little more flavor. However, it lacks the tenderness of grain- or corn-fed beef. Most people prefer grain or corn fed filet mignon to get the true experience of the meat that melts in your mouth.
You also should note the grade of the meat as you choose the cut to use when learning how to grill filet mignon. The US Department of Agriculture grades beef based on a few factors. Best Filet Mignon, Inc. explains these factors include the ratio of fat to muscle and the age of the cow from which the meat came. The higher the ratio, the more tender the cut and the higher grade assigned. Additionally, meat from younger cows gets higher grades because the age of the cow also plays into quality and tenderness.
The grade scale you should concern yourself with when it comes to filet mignon is Prime, Choice, and Select. Prime is the cream of the crop. Only about 3 percent of all beef gets a Prime grade. Much of the Prime grade meat goes to restaurants or higher end groceries and butchers. You might not find it at your local grocer or butcher, but that's okay. You can look for Choice grade filet mignon. This is just slightly under Prime, and about 50 percent of beef falls into this category. If you have no other option, you can go with Select, but the quality is much less than Choice.
Get the best cut
Your first move when learning how to grill filet mignon is ensuring you choose the right meat. You have a little background information you can use. Better Homes and Gardens says your best bet is to go to the butcher counter and have them cut the meat for you instead of buying prepackaged cuts. When you get it right from the butcher, you get to choose the meat you want, in the quantity that you need. Packages give you little choice, and you may end up getting a cut that is less than desirable.
Regardless, you want to get meat with a nice, even cut. Avoid any ragged edges. Also, look for at least 1-1/2 inches thick, but for grilling, the ideal thickness is 2 inches. The meat needs to look moist without being too wet. If you buy prepackaged, it should not be sitting in liquid. Also, look for a rich red color. Avoid any cut that has browning. Once you have your meat, you can choose the type of heat you will use as you learn how to grill filet mignon.
It doesn't matter which of the many different types of grills you use as you learn how to grill filet mignon. The most important consideration is the heat source. There are four general options: charcoal, gas, electric, and pellet.
Charcoal grills use hardwood or pressed charcoal briquettes for the heat. You have to buy the briquettes and stack them every time you want to cook. Also, they leave behind an ashy mess that you have to clean up. Charcoal takes a while to get up to the right temperature and cooks slower. Plus, it is tough to get it to an exact temperature. You have to monitor it a lot, and different areas of the grill may end up hotter than others, so you need to be careful with it. If you are learning to grill along with learning how to grill filet mignon, this may not be the best choice right now.
However, the most significant advantage of this type of grill is the flavor it imparts into the meat. If you like a smoky flavor, charcoal is the way to go. It is also nice with a filet mignon because the meat doesn't have a strong character of its own. In addition, it provides the best sear, which locks in the juices and flavor of the steak.
Gas includes propane and natural gas. Propane is a portable option. It comes in a tank. One issue is It can be tough to know how much propane you have left unless your tank has a gauge. Natural gas is a cleaner burning option, but it requires a permanent installation.
Both gas options provide precise temperature control. It is easy to set the grill temperature exactly where you want it and know it will cook evenly. This is a huge plus when you are just learning how to grill filet mignon. Gas grills heat up quickly, so they cook faster than charcoal, and they don't leave behind any mess you have to clean.
Electric grills are made for indoor use, but some are usable outside. You do need to be near an electrical power source. One perk is that since you can use it inside, you can grill no matter what the weather. It is also nice if you live somewhere that does not allow outdoor grilling, and you want to learn how to grill filet mignon. However, much like gas, it doesn't add flavor to your meat. Clean up can also be difficult.
Pellet grills are something seeing a new life and rise in popularity. They use wood pellets for the heat source. You can get pellets in a variety of different base woods. Some have flavors built in, so pellet grills can add great flavor. They smoke, in addition to grill, and give you versatility because they can cook slow and low or fast and high. They do require cleanup like a charcoal grill.
How to Grill Filet Mignon
Now that you know the background information and have chosen your meat and your grill, it is time learn how to grill filet mignon. Grilling is a great choice for this cut of meat. It provides the quick heat needed to sear the outside, lock in the juices, and let you control the cooking, so you don't overcook it. Now it is time to apply the basic steps and learn how to grill filet mignon.
You need to preheat your grill. Never skip this step. While you may have a hankering for that meaty goodness, if you skip preheating, you won't be able to get the sear you need on the outside of the filet. The sear locks in the juices and ensures tenderness. You want your grill preheated to 450 degrees.
If you have concerns about your steak sticking to the grill, brush a little oil on your grill. Finally, season your meat. If you want flavor, then consider a flavored butter and injecting it into the meat.
Now to the step that is the heart of how to grill filet mignon. You are ready to put that meat on the grill. Always check the temperature before you place your meat down. Make sure it is 450 degrees. Place your steaks on the grill and close the lid. Keep the lid closed during cooking. You can raise it when you flip it halfway through cooking. Also, don't forget to rotate your steak if you want crisscross grill marks. Use tongs to turn your steak to avoid piercing it, which allows juices to escape.
How long you need to cook the filet mignon depends on how thick it is and how done you want it. The smartest thing to do is use a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature. On average, it will take about six minutes on each side to reach medium rare. However, looking at the temperature, you would cook to reach 130 to 140 degrees for medium rare. If you want it a little more done, medium temperature should reach 140 to 150. Remember medium rare is a red, warm center where medium is a pink center. According to the Chicago Steak Company, as you learn how to grill filet mignon, keep in mind it is best when cooked to medium rare, but even cooked to well done, it stays so tender.
After removing your steaks from the grill, let them rest before serving. Resting means setting it on a plate or platter and covering it loosely for about five minutes. This allows the juices to distribute and provides you with the best taste, leaving the meat tender and moist. This may be the most important step of how to grill filet mignon because it affects how amazing it tastes.
How to Grill Filet Mignon: The Final Cut
Grilling is probably one of the easiest cooking methods because the grill does a lot of the work for you. However, it still is good you took the time to learn how to grill filet mignon. Since this cut of beef is pricey, the last thing you want to do is mess up when cooking it. Luckily, filet mignon is rather forgiving, so even if you have a misstep, it should still taste delightful in the end. Just remember to keep the heat around medium and use a thermometer to guarantee the best doneness.