Before you can even think of grilling it, you have to wrap your tongue around the pronunciation of the name itself. What is it? Is it some mysterious meat, some strange, endangered animal? How do you grill filet mignon? Does it require hours upon hours of preparation? I’ll try to give answers to all these questions and more in this article.
First off, about filet mignon. It is nothing more than a specific cut of meat. It is a cut taken from the tenderloin region of a beef carcass and is widely regarded as the finest cut of meat. Aptly, it is also the most expensive cut. You can be sure that a dinner with grilled filet mignon will be an expensive, classy affair.
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The location of The Filet Mignon in a Beef Carcass
Because it is such a high quality cut and is easily the softest meat in the entire beef carcass, it is also very, very easy to cook. The meat itself is so good that you do not need to work too hard to prepare it properly – the flavor of the meat alone can make for a great meal. You don’t need elaborate sauces, difficult seasoning mixes, or even exquisite side dashes. The filet mignon alone can occupy the center stage in any dinner.
The biggest issue with grilling filet mignon is keeping it moist. Since this cut of meat is very lean, you need to make sure that it stays juicy and moist. One way of doing that is to crush some pepper on it (add salt only when you are about to grill – salt can cause the meat to lose moisture. Also, use sea salt or kosher salt – it has a much better flavor) and wrap it in bacon (any kind will do). The bacon works very well to retain the moisture and also adds its own flavor to the meat. And really, no meal has ever NOT been improved by adding bacon to it.
You don’t need to keep this meat in the seasoning mix for too long. Just keep it outside and let it come down to room temperature. Allow an hour for the pepper and bacon flavor to infuse into the meat.
Since this cut of meat is so tender, grilling time won’t be more than 10-15 minutes. Preheat the grill to the desired temperature. Medium-high for well done, medium-low for rare meat is the rule of the thumb. Then, sear the meat for 2-3 minutes on each side. Make sure that you keep it at 45 degree angles on the grill to get those nice grill marks on the meat. After the outside is seared, just grill each side for 3-4 minutes each.
I personally prefer to use a meat fork to check when the meat is done, but if you are new to the entire grilling experience, getting a meat thermometer would be a better way to check when the meat is done. The “right” temperature varies depending on how you want your meat. Rare meat should be at least 130 degrees, medium around 140, and well done above 145 degrees.
Remember that meat also cooks by itself after you’ve taken it out from the grill. Account for this into your cooking time too, otherwise you’ll find your rare meat turning medium, and medium turning to well done. Let the filet mignon rest for 10 minutes before you plate it up with your choice of sides and have a great dinner!