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How Do I Cook Filet Mignon?

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  • Written By: Amanda R. Bell
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 29 September 2016
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Filet mignon is considered a prized cut of meat, and, as such, it is important to cook it properly. To start, season the meat with your choice of seasonings, and then let it rest at room temperature for at least a half-an-hour. Once the filet mignon is no longer chilled, set your preferred cooking source to high heat, and cook the meat to your desired internal temperature, letting it rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

In general, filet mignon does not require a lot of seasoning, as it is a naturally flavorful cut of beef. To enhance its flavor, a sprinkling of coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper is all that is really needed. Despite this, you can add whatever seasonings appeal to your taste buds; garlic, rosemary, and store-bought steak seasoning blends can all go well with filet mignon. No matter what you choose to use, make sure to apply them to both the top and bottom of the meat, as well as the sides if it is a particularly thick cut. You can also use marinades to enhance the flavor of the meat: mix up your marinade of choice, and let the steak sit in the marinade for at least 30 minutes and up to several hours, before you cook filet mignon.

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Once the meat is seasoned to your liking, it is important to bring the meat to room temperature prior to cooking the filet mignon. Placing cold beef on a hot surface tends to make the meat tense up, drastically changing the natural tenderness of filet mignon. At least 30 minutes prior to cooking the meat, set it out on your kitchen counter or table, away from a window, and let it sit until it is no longer cold to the touch.

A high-heat cooking method, such as pan searing or grilling, is generally preferred when you cook filet mignon. Heat up your grill or pan to medium-high to high heat and apply a small drizzle of light-colored oil to both sides of the beef: this will help to prevent it from sticking to the grill grates or the pan. Once your preferred cooking medium is heated up, place the meat on the pan or grill grates, making sure not to move it around.

The amount of time that you will leave it on the first side will depend on how you like your beef cooked and the thickness of the filet mignon. For a one inch (2.54 cm) steak, you will need to flip it over after five minutes for rare, six minutes for medium, and eight minutes for well done, and then remove it from the pan after it has cooked on the second side for two minutes less than it did on the first. For example, for a rare steak, you would cook the filet mignon for five minutes on the first side and then three minutes on the second.

After you cook the filet mignon and remove it from the pan or grill, try to ignore the urge to cut right into the meat. Instead, let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes on a plate: this allows the juices to redistribute in the meat. If you cut into the steak immediately, all of the juice will typically run out, leaving the steak dry and lacking flavor.

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bythewell
Post 3

@Mor - If you don't mind investing a little bit, you can often get a whole filet for cheaper than buying individual steaks. I've seen them selling it in bulk like this in the supermarket, but you can definitely get it at a butcher.

And I personally think it's worth the extra money. It has so much flavor compared to other cuts of steak, as long as you cook it properly, that you probably end up eating less anyway.

I don't know if I would add very much to the meat either. I think it only really needs a sauce or a marinade when the meat is a little old. And if you're letting filet mignon get old in your fridge you should probably be ashamed of yourself.

Mor
Post 2

@pleonasm - My father would do the same thing with some cuts of meat on the barbecue, but never with filet mignon. Probably because it is quite expensive. I don't tend to even try and get it at the supermarket, because it costs three times more than any other cut and I can never justify it.

But I will get it at a restaurant. Filet with mushroom sauce is one of my favorite things in the world.

pleonasm
Post 1

When I was living in West Africa for a couple of years, we used to go to the butcher and just ask for the whole filet. They didn't really consider it to be a special cut of meat (although they recognized that it was a particular part of the animal) so they didn't charge that much for it. And the currency conversation was so good that we would essentially end up with a dozen steaks for about $5.

It was absolutely amazing and one of the things I really miss. We'd cook the meat over a charcoal stove with soy sauce and just eat it in chunks.

We had to worry about a lot of health issues over there, but I don't think our iron levels were ever going to give us trouble.

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