Filet mignon is often considered the upper crust of steaks due to their incredible tenderness and high price tags. The problem with filet mignon? There is very little to no marbling in a filet. Without that good marbling, it can mean that you are sacrificing tenderness for flavor. I don’t know about you, but I want that steak to tickle my taste buds, especially if I am paying a premium price tag for it!
Luckily, it's not hard to cook a filet mignon and get it right. With just a few simple steps in this recipe for how to grill a filet mignon, the end result will be so good that you may never want to eat out again.
How to choose your filet mignon
The first and maybe even the most important step in how to grill a filet mignon is choosing a good cut of meat from the store. There are three main grades in the US: Select, Choice and Prime. There are even higher grades, such as wagyu, but we will stick to these three for our purposes here.
- Select: This is the most basic grade. Select cuts will have very little to no marbling, will not be as tender as the others, and it is not what I would recommend. For the small difference in price, I’d recommend spending the few extra dollars and move up a grade to Choice.
- Choice: These steaks account for approximately one-half of all beef sold in the United States. It is definitely a good choice and will give a very pleasurable dining experience.
- Prime: If you have the wallet to pull this one off, this is what I would recommend. It is the most tender, the most marbled, and the most delicious. Prime is the highest grade of beef that the USDA has and it only represents between 3% and 5% of all beef sold in this country. It also comes with the highest price tag.
I recommend finding center cut steaks with the most marbling possible; remember, it's that marbling that's going to give you that tasty flavor. Here at GrillGirl.com, we recommend Snake River Farms for American Wagyu Steaks if you are looking for high-quality beef.
Also, if you are planning on grilling more than one filet mignon, make sure that they are all roughly the same size and weight. This will make the all finish cooking at the same time, and it'll be much easier on you.
What is the reverse sear method?
The next step in learning how to grill a filet mignon is mastering the reverse sear method. This involves slow roasting the meat and finishing it off over high heat for a delicious crust, and maybe even a slight char. The steady warm temperature will dry the surface of the steak, making for a better sear at the end. Remember, moisture is the enemy of a good sear!
When you see a picture of a steak and it is solid pink from edge to edge — or “coast to coast” as I like to call it — it has more than likely been reverse seared. This method allows the internal temperature to steadily increase and break down the intramuscular fat that we spoke about earlier. This will make for the most tender steak and optimize the flavor.
How do I reverse sear a filet mignon?
You want the grill to be in the 400-degree range overall, with the coals on the direct side hot enough to get good sear marks (the sign of a steakhouse quality meal!) Make sure your direct side of the grill is pretty hot. Put your steaks on the indirect side and let them cook for a minimum of 3 minutes per side. This time is going to vary — if your steaks are on the thinner side, go ahead and decrease the time. If they are VERY thick, increase it. For a medium rare steak, pull the steaks off the indirect zone at 120 degrees (if you are going for a well-cooked steak then go for 130).
If using gas, you will want the burners on high, and if using charcoal, make sure all your air vents are wide-open to have a very hot fire to obtain char marks. Sear the steak on each side for 2 minutes and remove.
The reverse searing method is recommended for thicker steaks, with a minimum thickness of 1 ½ inches. Steaks that are thinner than that will tend to overcook, making them tough and not very enjoyable to eat. Nobody wants that! Reverse searing can definitely be used on steaks thicker than the 1 ½ inches that I mentioned earlier — heck, I have reverse seared entire roasts before!
Another benefit of the reverse searing method is that there's no rest time necessary! The rest happens in between the roasting portion and the searing portion. If anything, you can let the steak hang out under a tented piece of foil for 10 minutes to let the tasty juices reabsorb.
What alternative is there to filet mignon?
Remember when we were saying that the filet mignon is known for its high price tag? So maybe if you're grilling up dinner for the family or a group of friends, a filet mignon for everyone's plate isn't going to be in budget. But don't worry — this is where the tri tip comes into the picture.
What is a tri tip? Think of it as a cross between a roast and a filet. It's from the bottom of the sirloin sub-primal cut, just above and in front of the hind legs. You may have heard it referred to as the Newport or Santa Maria steak, triangle tip, or triangle steak. The triangle part of those names is because the cut is shaped like, well, a triangle. That's keepin' it simple!
If you want some ideas for how to cook a tri tip, check out our recipes for Easy Tri Tip Brisket and the Better Than Sex Smoked Tri Tip.
Add ons to filet mignon
While the filet mignon is excellent with just some salt and pepper, have you ever turned down the opportunity to slather some butter on a steak? Not me! My recipe for Cowboy Compound Butter is something you'll want to slather on EVERYTHING at the dinner table. It's a garlic herb butter brightened with lemon, which really pairs well with the filet mignon. You'll also need some garlic, shallots, parsley, chives and thyme.
Tools for grilling the perfect filet mignon
SMOKER TUBE: Finally, if you're using a gas grill, you can achieve that smoky flavor by using a smoking tube.
Now, you're armed with all the tips and tricks for how to grill a filet mignon. With the knowledge of picking out a great cut of meat, the steps for a reverse sear, and delicious add ons like a compound butter, you're ready to wow your dinner guests at your next get together!
If you try this recipe, don't forget to leave me a comment below or follow and tag me on Instagram! I love hearing from you!
Where to Buy Filet Mignon
If you are going to spend the money for filet mignon, I recommend buying Filet Mignon from small farmers where the cows are grazed on graze versus supprting big AG and cows raised on feed lots. My favorite places to source beef where I can verify which farm they came from and what the cows were fed, which means no GMO grain and no antibiotics or hormones is Farm Foods Market.
If you are looking for other grilled beef recipes, be sure to check out our GRILLED BEEF RECIPES page- we've got you covered for all kinds of beef on the grill! And if you do make this recipe, be sure to follow and tag us on Instagram or leave us a comment below!
Filet Mignon: How To Grill
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 2 filet mignons 1x
Perfectly grilled filet mignon is easier than you think when following a few easy steps!
- 2 filet mignon steaks
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Kitchen twine
- Thermapen or your preferred meat thermometer
- Use the twine to tie each filet around the sides in two spots to keep its shape. Season the filets liberally with kosher salt and pepper and allow to sit out on the counter while preparing the grill. This will allow the moisture in the meat to seep out, grab the seasonings and pull the flavors back down into the meat.
- Prepare the grill for indirect cooking at 250°.
- Once the temperature is stabilized, place the filets in the center of the grates and close the lid. Cook until they reach 125° internal temperature, as measured by an internal read thermometer like the Thermapen.
- Remove the filets and allow to rest while preparing for the next step, switching over to direct grilling.
- Allow the grill to build a nice and hot fire, about 5 to 10 minutes. For this step of the process, the hotter the better. We want those grates to have time to heat up!
- Place the steaks on the grates over the fire. Sear each steak for 1 to 1 ½ minutes. Once you have done that, flip each steak and repeat for the opposite side. You don’t want to leave them on for too long, just enough time to build a char and form a crust.
- Remove the steaks and serve. They should be pink from “coast to coast!”
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- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Filet Mignon, Grilled Filet Mignon, Filet Mignon how to grill
- Method: GRILL
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Filet Mignon How to Grill
Want more grilled beef recipes? Check out these posts!
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