Filet Mignon on a Budget
Filet mignon is tender, delicious and one of the most premium priced steaks. While it’s still a splurge, you can make filet mignon for a crowd and not go broke in the process if you cut your own steaks from a whole tenderloin roast.
YOU HAVE OPTIONS
Filet Mignon are cut from the beef tenderloin, which is why they’re sometimes called tenderloin steaks. 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 whole pile of amazing steaks. Personally, I’ve found it’s best to cut a combination of steaks and small roasts to get the most mileage from a whole tenderloin.
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
It’s easy to cut a whole Snake River Farms or Double R Ranch tenderloin roast into a great selection of steaks and small roasts. Quick anatomy lesson: the tenderloin has a natural, fat-covered portion of meat attached along its side. This is called the chain. This is removed from Snake River Farms American Kobe tenderloin roasts, however it’s still attached on Double R Ranch whole tenderloins. It’s simple to remove, just pull it from the roast and use a sharp knife to cut any connective tissue. We’ll do a full blog post with a Double R Ranch tenderloin to demonstrate.
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.
REMOVE THE SILVERSKIN
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.
THE BONUS PETITE ROAST
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 lovely 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.
CUTTING INTO STEAKS
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. To make sure my cutting is accurate, I use a metal ruler.
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.