Filet Mignon on a Budget: How to Cut a Tenderloin Roast into Steaks
Filet mignon is tender, delicious and one of the most premium priced cuts of beef. While it’s still a splurge, you can make tenderloin steaks for a crowd and not go broke in the process if you cut your own filets from a whole tenderloin roast.
YOU HAVE OPTIONS
Filet mignon is cut from the beef tenderloin, which is why it's sometimes called a tenderloin steak. The entire tenderloin roast is a large cut that’s extremely versatile. It can be cooked whole for a spectacular dinner, but it can also be cut into a beautiful stack of amazing steaks. Personally, I’ve found it’s best to cut a combination of steaks and a small roast to get the most mileage from a whole tenderloin. The tenderloin is known for it's extremely tender texture and mild flavor. Generally, the tenderloin cut has a small amount of intramuscular fat, but the Snake River Farms American Wagyu tenderloin has a significant amount of beef marbling which elevates the upscale cut in terms of both flavor and juiciness.
To prepare for the transformation of roast to steaks, place the whole tenderloin in the refrigerator and allow to completely thaw. This will take about 48 hours so plan accordingly.
TENDERLOIN ROAST = FILET MIGNON
As you learned in my previous blog post, it’s super simple to cut a boneless prime rib roast into ribeye steaks. It’s just as easy to cut a whole Snake River Farms American Wagyu or Double R Ranch tenderloin roast into a great selection of steaks and small roasts, but there are a couple additional steps.
Quick anatomy lesson: the tenderloin has a natural, fat-covered portion of meat attached along its side, referred to as "the chain". We remove this portion from all our tenderloin roasts. If you get your tenderloin from the store, it might still be attached. It’s simple to remove, just pull it from the roast and use a sharp knife to cut any connective tissue.
The tenderloin does require a bit more work before you can put steaks on the grill. There is a thin layer of tough connective tissue called silverskin that needs to be removed. You definitely want to take the time to do this, because it's tough, chewy and not something you want to find on the plate of your perfect steak dinner.
To remove the silverskin, lay your knife flat and parallel to the tenderloin. Take the point of your knife and slide it underneath the connective tissue.
Once your knife is in place, separate the silverskin from the roast with slow, even pressure. It will come off in a long strip.
Repeat as needed, then take the time to trim any extra silverskin or fat that might remain.
If you were roasting this whole, you’d be ready to go. Since we’re cutting this beauty into steaks, we’ll keep going. The tenderloin is distinctly tapered with a narrow side and a wide side at the other end. I like to cut off the wide side of the tenderloin off and use it for a beautiful petite roast, perfect for two hungry people. You could also cut this into steaks, but for me personally, this section seems to take better to roasting than grilling.
Once the mini roast is off, clean up the fat and connective tissue that remains.
Let’s move back to the narrow end of the tenderloin and take a look. As you can see, it’s much too small to cut into a steak, so we’ll trim this off and reserve this tip for another use.
Now we’ll start cutting steaks! I’ve found that two inches makes a very luxurious filet mignon. This is all personal preference. If you want to increase the number of servings, an inch and half filet is pretty awesome, too. You can eyeball this easily, but you can use a ruler if you'd like to have a point of reference.
Here we are. Almost finished.
As I wrapped this up, there was a half inch steak left. Looks a little lonely there at the end, but that little filet is every bit as delicious as the thicker ones to the right.
As I wrapped this up, there was a half inch steak left. Looks a little lonely there on the end, but that little filet is every bit as delicious as the thicker ones on the left.
So there you have it. A tenderloin roast is now 10 filet mignon. As you can see, some of the filets have a bit of extra fat and silverskin. I didn't do a spectacular job cleaning the whole tenderloin, so I hand trimmed each of these before cooking.
Now that you've successfully cut your tenderloin roast into steaks, it's time to start cooking. To get started, you might wonder how much beef tenderloin per person to plan your dinner party. In general, I recommend 8 ounces of beef tenderloin per person. This is the raw, uncooked weight of the beef and is a nice portion size for most adults.
Now that we have the right amount of tenderloin set aside, what is the best way to prepare a filet mignon or tenderloin steak? A simple and easy way is using the Steakhouse Method.
That special bonus roast is best prepared following our guide for Petite Roasts. Two amazing ways to make it more fancy is to use a brandy peppercorn sauce or roasted with herbs and topped with a savory horseradish cream.
But what about the extra little tips, tails and the chain? A serving suggestion I like is to make a decadent cheesesteak sandwich. A classic use for the tips is to saute with sliced onions, make a pan sauce with some stock and serve over egg noodles.