How to Cook Filet Mignon

filet mignon

Learn how to cook filet mignon like professional chefs by using these tips. You'll be a steak gourmet in no time.

Filet Mignon Preparation Options

When considering methods of how to cook filet mignon, methods that use quick, high heat are best. These sear the outside of the steak and lock in the juices for a tender, tasty meat.

Grilling or Broiling

Filet mignon can be grilled on an outdoor barbecue grill or broiled in the oven. Start with high heat and set your oven to broil or heat the barbecue grill on high. Grill or broil each side approximately 5 minutes or more, depending on the cut. Check the temperature using a meat thermometer to avoid over or under cooking. If the browns too quickly, adjust the heat in the broiler to a lower setting.

Pan Searing

Pan searing is a stove top cooking method in which the steaks are seared, or cooked on very high heat, then allowed to rest so that the juices disperse through the meat. To pan sear a filet mignon, you'll need a good cut of filet mignon, about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and a heavy cast iron skillet.

Heat the cast iron skillet and olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the steaks. Cook for about 5 minutes each side, flipped the steaks over and moving them around a bit in the piping hot oil so they don't stick to the pan. Be very careful when adding the steaks; moisture can make the oil pop and sizzle, which can burn you if you are not careful.

When the steaks are charred on the outside, remove them to the cutting board, but do not slice into them. Let them rest for an additional five to six minutes. They will continue cooking and the juices will disperse nicely through the meat. When the allotted time is up, gently slice the meat and serve.

Oven Searing

Filet mignon can also be seared and then roasted in the oven. See Cooking Filet Mignon in the Oven for detailed instructions.

Preparing the Filet

Many chefs recommend adding some fat to filet mignon prior to cooking. This can be done by simply brushing the meat with olive oil and patting or rubbing it into the meat before placing it on the grill. A simple marinade can also impart juiciness and a delicate flavor. Some purists cringe at the thought of using a marinade on a filet mignon, but others prefer the added taste and moisture. Try it for yourself to see if you like it or not!

Mix together a quarter cup of soy sauce, one tablespoon of vinegar, a quarter cup of olive oil, and half a cup (or less, depending on the desired flavor) of water in a measuring cup. Pour over steaks and marinate 24 hours, turning every twelve hours. You can add onion strips and spices such as rosemary and oregano to the marinade for added flavor. Allow the steaks to come to room temperature before grilling, and discard marinade after removing steaks. Always marinate meat in a glass or ceramic container. Never use metal, as it can impart off flavors to the food.

General Tips

No matter which method you choose to cook filet mignon, most chefs recommend cooking it rare or medium. Never cook it to the well done stage. Filet mignon tends to have the least amount of fat among the various steak cuts, and cooking it too long dries it out, making the meat tough and tasteless. A digital meat thermometer can help you assess whether or not the meat is at the desired level of doneness.

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How to Cook Filet Mignon