You’ve been waiting all year: tomorrow, August 13, is National Filet Mignon Day. The most succulent and tender cut of the cow, this beloved dish is cause to celebrate. Contrary to popular belief, filet mignon does not require a special night at a steakhouse. Read the basics below, follow our own, in-house grass-fed filet mignon recipe, and make every day a holiday.
Filet Mignon: The Basics
As with many cooking terms, filet mignon is a descriptive, rather than technical, term. It comes from the French, meaning “cute filet” (aww). The cut itself is taken from the tenderloin of the cow (see light green below).
What makes filet mignon so tender? Filet mignon comes from the psoas major, an underused muscle in the cow. Less connective tissue means the tendons aren’t as tough. Of course, there’s a tradeoff: less intramuscular fat means the tenderloin lacks the potent flavor of other cuts, like ribeye.
Not to worry – with top quality meat and the right preparation, you can have a tremendously flavorful and tender steak dish. Strong flavors, rubs, and sauces complement a buttery texture for a homemade delicacy. Get bold.
How To Cook Grass-Fed Filet Mignon Like a Boss
Two musts when cooking filet: never cook filet past medium and only use dry-heat methods like grilling, roasting, pan frying, and broiling. We’re partial to the traditional method typical of a high-end steakhouse. Sear both sides with high heat to get a charred crust and let the center of the steak remain nice and pink.
As you know, grass-fed beef is a better for you, better for the animal, better for the planet alternative – but you don’t sacrifice flavor with a grass-fed filet mignon. While its composition and flavor profile are different, grass-fed beef is as tender as grain-fed. The active, healthy lifestyle of a grass-fed, pasture-raised cow results in true muscle integrity and an earthier flavor.
Grass-fed steak, however, does benefit from slightly nuanced cooking. Because of a lower fat content, there isn’t as much forgiveness. We recommend searing the steak with high heat and finishing with a shorter time at lower heat. Make sure there’s plenty of give when you touch the meat. Unlike grain-fed, there’s no need to finish this in the oven.
The Best Grass-Fed Filet Mignon Recipe:
Keith’s Simple Grass-Fed Filet Mignon with Meyer Lemon Butter
Quality meat doesn’t need to hide behind extravagance. We use a cast iron skillet here, but you can also make this recipe on the grill. Olive oil sears the outside faster, giving a quick crust and precluding the tendency to overcook. We love how the sweet, floral Meyer lemon complements the earthiness of our Verde Farms grass-fed beef.
Meyer Lemon Butter
- 1 stick of grass-fed butter, room temperature
- 1 TBSP each, preferably fresh and finely chopped: basil, parsley, tarragon
- 1 TSP grated Meyer (or regular) lemon peel
- 1 TSP fresh Meyer (or regular) lemon juice
- Mix all herbs and butter in a bowl with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove mixture from bowl and lay on saran wrap. Roll into a tube, roughly 1 inch in diameter, and let sit in the refrigerator for 4+ hours.
- Slice into ½ inch medallions.
- Two Verde Farms grass-fed tenderloins cut to ~2-inch thickness
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- Kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper
- Take the tenderloins from the fridge about 30 minutes prior to cooking to bring to room temperature.
- Bring a cast iron pan to high heat for 4 – 5 minutes.
- Lightly coat the filets with olive oil and liberally apply coarse kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.
- When the pan is at high heat, sear each side for 4 – 5 minutes. Promptly remove from heat.
- Let tenderloin sit for five minutes. Top with butter medallions and fresh herbs to garnish. Blow the minds of your guests.