Filet Mignon
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Filet Mignon (fee-lay mee NYOH), which means “cute” or “dainty” filet in French, should be a 4-12 oz (113.4 g – 340.2 g) boneless, lightly marbled steak, that is one of the most tender cuts of meat. It is the most tender because the Psoas major muscle bears the least amount of weight and performs the fewest actions so it is not loaded with muscle fibers and/or connective tissue.

In the domestic U.S. butchers’ cases, Filet Mignon are typically round steaks cut 1 to 2 inches (2.5 cm to 5 cm) thick and 2 to 3 inches (5 cm to 7.6 cm) round. An average Tenderloin should yield eight, 8 oz. (226.8 g), Filet Mignons.  You may see 10 oz (283.5 g) or even 12 oz. (340.2 g) Filet Mignons but be careful with anything larger because as they get thicker, they are tougher to cook through without overcooking the exterior. 

Finally, be aware that In France, Filet Mignon can also refer to thin slices of the tenderloin of Pork.

Availability

Filet Mignon is available all year long.

Production

The production of beef is carried about by three primary types of operations: Cow & Calf Operations, Weaner Calf & Yearling Operations, and Dry-Lot Feeding Operations (also known as “Backrounders”) which are the most expensive operations in the Beef Industry. To learn more about Beef Producers just follow the link to Smart Kitchen’s Page on Beef Producers. The Beef Producers are represented by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

American cattle production has remained almost stagnant between 1985 and 2009, growing just 6.4%, while the amount of beef imported has nearly tripled in that time, according to an analysis of USDA figures conducted by R-CALF USA, another the trade group that represents cattle producers.

Once raised, Beef is typically sold to Meat Packers who slaughter, inspect, and butcher the animals to provide Primal Cuts to butchers and portion cuts to consumers.

The Meat Packing Industry is in a period of consolidation. In 1999, the 10 largest beef-packing firms accounted for more than 90 percent of all Steer and Heifer slaughter in the U.S. In 2011, according to the Western Organization of Resources Councils three major companies controlled Beef market. Visit Smart Kitchen’s Meat Packers Resource Page to learn more.

Varieties

In the United States, almost any cut of the Tenderloin can be labeled as Filet Mignon, Filet de BoeufFillet Steak, Fillet, Filet, Filetto (Italian), Beef Medallions, Tenderloin Steak, or Tender Steak. In France, the original, and precise, definition of Filet Mignon means steaks cut from the small end of the Short Tenderloin.

Purchasing

When shopping for Filet Mignon, look for Filet Mignon that has a clear, red exterior color known as the “Bloom,” that come from exposure to oxygen and not the more normal purplish-red color of vacuum packed beef. Your purchase should be cold, firm to the touch and, if packaged, free of any punctures or rips. Notice the “sell-by” date on the label and make sure you are buying product that is well within its dates of safe use as specified by the sticker.

Storage

Raw Filet Mignon should last for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Add an extra day of cold storage time if the Filet Mignon is Marinated or oiled. Raw Filet Mignon will keep for 2-3 months in the freezer without any appreciable deterioration in quality.

Cooked Filet Mignon should be refrigerated for up to 1-3 days.

Culinary Uses

Filet Mignon is a tender Portion Cut of Beef. On Smart Kitchen’s Home Plate it should be Cooked, it is Tender, it can be Thin or Thick depending on how it is cut, it is Moist, and Lean. Using the Home Plate we would call it Cooked, Tender, Thin or Thick, Moist, and Lean or noted in the home plate shorthand Filet Mignon would be (C, T2T3-T4, M, L).

Because it is so tender and tasty, High Heat is usually the best choice for Filet Mignon. It can be RoastedBroiledPan-Fried or Grilled with or without fat being added. Because it has relatively little Marbling, adding a fat can impart flavor and protect the Filet Mignon from drying out on the heat. Wrapping Filet Mignon in bacon is one time-tested method. Another method is to Sear the Filet Mignon quickly on high heat and then to Finish Cook it with a lower heat. 

Consider serving and eating Filet Mignon a degree or two more Rare than you normally prefer to experience its quality. Cooking Filet Mignon too long, will ruin its flavor. For example, a  4-8 ounce (113.4 g to 226.8g) broiled Filet Mignon should take 10 to 15 minutes to reach Rare and 15 to 20 minutes to broil to Medium

If you find the traditional baseball shape of a Filet Mignon too thick, you can also Butterfly Cut it, or cut it almost in half with a hinge before cooking. Butterflying yields two thinner pieces of meat and allows each to cook more quickly.

If you keep Kosher, it is hard to find kosher Filet Mignon because the hindquarters of cattle contain non-Kosher nerves and fats that must be removed carefully (Nikkur). Most domestic butchers don’t go to the trouble and sell the hindquarters as non-Kosher meat.

Portion Size

Allow 6 to 9 ounces (170 g to 255 g) per person Filet Mignon as a Serving Size.

Nutrition

Filet Mignon is one of the lowest-fat beef cuts and contains only 9 grams of fat and 185 calories in a 3 oz (85 g) portion.

Gluten Free

Yes

Low Fat

No

Low Calorie

No