Filet Mignon is widely regarded as the most desirable cut of beef by connoisseurs and steak enthusiasts. It’s no surprise that it’s very expensive and highly valued. But exactly what is it?
Where Does Filet Mignon Come From?
Filet Mignon comes from the tenderloin; a delicate and tender part of a cow’s short loin.
The tenderloin runs down the back of a cow into the rib cage and gets very little exercise and that’s why it is very tender.
You will always find it in American abattoirs and they don’t have much fat or connective tissues which makes them very easy to cut with a fork.
People often mistake the tenderloin for filet mignon because they come from the same place and possess the same qualities.
But tenderloins are usually very large, weighing up to 4-6 pounds, and they are used for roasts or steaks.
Butchers carefully cut them from some special parts of the tenderloin and this makes it one of the most valued cuts of beef.
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What Does Filet Mignon Mean?
The name originated from France which means dainty strip because of the qualities that it has.
These qualities are “tender and lean” because you get this part in the ribcage of a cow which prevents it from getting tough due to either the weight of the cow or exercise.
Mignon as a word has three meanings in French which include cute, dainty, and tender.
It is spelled the French way because there are fears that the English spelling will spoil the regality and luxury associated with this meat.
Other names you can call it include Tenderloin filet, tournedos, or just filet; every butcher or restaurant understands.
How to Cook Filet Mignon
Because of where they are positioned in the cow’s body, they are very tender and less flavored; this gives the advantage of showing off your skills in the sauce you make to accompany it.
You can marinate, smoke, grill, season, roast, or fry Filet Mignon in whatever way you want.
You have to reduce the heat so you don’t overcook it since it’s already very tender but allow the flavor to seep into the steak.
Tips to Cook Filet Mignon to Perfection:
1. Thaw out the mignon for 30 minutes after you have taken it from the fridge and let it return to room temperature.
2. Use a dry, high-heat method such as broiling, roasting, pan-frying, or grilling to cook it.
3. Since it has little fat, you should be very careful not to cook it for long because it turns the meat dry and tough.
4. The filet mignon should be done when the heat reaches 120F, the goal is to get the steak to medium-rare, and then you turn off the cooker.
5. You will know when it is done or overdone using the touch method; if you press on the steak and feels squishy and you can see your finger imprints on them, they are rare.
6. When the steak is soft but slightly resilient, it is medium-rare but when it starts to firm up, you have overcooked it.
7. Avoid cutting into the meat to check if it’s done because it will let the steak juices escape.
8. After removing the filet mignon from the heat, cover it with foil and let it rest for about five minutes before serving. Resting allows the heat and juices to be evenly distributed throughout the steak.
9. Serve with a pat of compound butter, Béarnaise, or Bordelaise sauce, or with a sauce made with the pan juices.
Filet Mignon Fun Facts
1. August 13th is National Filet Mignon day; so you can celebrate it by getting a big chunk of filet mignon and getting your friends together to celebrate
2. In 1906, American writer O. Henry used filet mignon as a symbol of a luxury dish and romance in his book “The Four Million” and that is why the steak orders in every menu list increase every February.
3. Filet mignon does not have a season like every other food and works well with any side dish you pair it up with, even as a starter.
4. Filet Mignon is the easiest steak to grill.
5. A serving of this steak contains 200 calories
6. Filet Mignon is a French word that means “Dainty Cuts”
Filet Mignon tastes like beef because, well, that’s what it is basically.
But because there are various breeds of cows, there are considerable differences in their tastes and flavor.
You can store them in the freezer for 6 -9 months and they store well.
Serve it with your favorite sauce and a glass of great wine and enjoy the luscious meaty flavor with your friends and loved ones.