The Butcher’s Guide: What is a Filet Mignon?
- by Omaha Steaks
- Last updated Nov 24, 2023
The filet mignon is much, much more than just a fancy-sounding expensive steak. It’s the steak that built Omaha Steaks. Over the last 100+ years, our butchers have cut and shared more of these super-tender steaks with people across the country than any other, and for good reason – people demand it! It is an elegant steak with fork-tender texture and mild flavor. It’s the steak that you choose for special occasions. A steak that’s designed to impress.
So what is a filet mignon and what makes it so tender and decadent?
Cutting a Filet Mignon
The filet mignon is cut from the beef tenderloin, which is part of the loin primal. The tenderloin itself runs through the short loin (which also includes the strip) and the sirloin (which includes the top sirloin) sections of the loin primal. This highly-prized cut of beef only represents 2-3% of the total animal. That’s why it’s so rare, and why it tends to be more expensive than other steaks.
The tenderloin is trimmed into filet mignon steaks or a chateaubriand (tenderloin) roast. If the butcher leaves the tenderloin intact through the short loin, the short loin will be cut into T-bone and Porterhouse steaks.
Why So Tender?
The secret of its tenderness is due to its location on the animal. The tenderloin is a non-weight bearing muscle and remains relatively unused. Inactivity keeps the muscle from growing too tough through repetitive movement.
Although incredibly tender, filet mignon contains less marbling – the small streaks of intramuscular fat – compared to popular steaks like the New York strip or ribeye. But cook it right and it’s more tender than any – you can cut it with a dull butter knife. The mild flavor and low marbling of the filet make it a great plat form for seasonings, sauces, or a bacon wrap, and best cooked rare to medium-rare.
Butcher Cut Matters
Every Omaha Steaks beef tenderloin is hand-selected for quality by an experienced beef expert, often by 5th generation family owner Bruce Simon himself. Then, the beef is aged 28+ days for natural maximum tenderness and trimmed into filet mignonsteaks by our team of master butchers. But… there’s more than one way to trim a steak. In fact, Omaha Steaks has FIVE distinct cuts, each with a unique set of trim and age specifications. Here’s how to choose, and what it means for you:
TRIM: The more times it is trimmed, the leaner the steak.
AGING: The longer the age, the more the natural tenderness is amplified.
|CHOOSE YOUR FILET MIGNON|
|BUTCHER’S CUT||Double||21 Days|
|PRIVATE RESERVE||Triple||28 Days|
How to Cook a Filet Mignon
Omaha Steaks butchers recommend cooking filet mignon rare to medium-rare – these lower temperatures are ideal for experiencing tenderness. Filet mignon is not the most marbled steak, so be careful – the steak will dry out if you overcook it. Season liberally with coarse sea salt and fresh black pepper to prep the steak. Cook to perfection indoors using the pan-seared method on a cast-iron skillet or sous vide and sear cooking method or outdoors on the grill.
This steaks mild flavor makes it a perfect companion for rich toppings. Try a compound butter, wine-based sauce, or butcher’s butter. This steak is also delicious wrapped in bacon, a time-tested flavor combination found a lot of traditional steakhouses.
For even more detailed cooking instructions, check out our guide on how to cook.
Wagyu is a rare breed of cattle prized the world over for producing the most intensely marbled beef. That marbling makes a unique experience, since this steak is not normally the most marbled. A wagyu filet mignon has decadent marbling, the white flecks of fat that melt into the meat as it cooks, which adds uncommon richness to the super-tender steak profile.
If you are in need of some delicious recipes using your filet we have you covered:
- 10 Amazing Filet Mignon Recipes
- Compound Butter for Filet Mignon
- Filet Mignon with Spicy Shrimp Broth Recipe
- Sumac-Crusted Filet Mignon with Honey-Lemon Glazed Carrots and Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Sheet Pan Filet Mignon and Gnocchi with Garlic and Sage Brown Butter Recipe