How to Grill Filet Mignon

Filet mignon is a special cut of steak, thanks to its melt-in-mouth texture and extreme tenderness.

Even though it is a very versatile cut and you can cook it using your grill, skillet or oven broiler, you will get the best results when using high temperature cooking, preferably using a grill.

But, can you really learn how to grill filet mignon perfectly at home? Ordering it on a steakhouse may seem easy but when cooking this cut at home, you need to have several things in mind to not ruin it and to get the maximum flavor.

We have prepared a step-by-step article, explaining everything you need to know to learn how to cook filet mignon at home, including selecting, preparing, grilling and then serving.

Filet Mignon Steak Label

Note: This is a quick summary of some of the important points you need to know about this steak cut. For detailed answers, you can keep reading the full article below this section.

Filet-Mignon-Cut-Raw

Raw Filet Mignon

Filet-Mignon-Location-Cow-Graph

Location on Animal

Recommended Cooking Methods

Grill

Grilling

Pan-Broil/Skillet

Sous-Vide

Sous-Vide

Stovetop

Stove/Broiler


Butcher's Notes

Also Known as: Filet Mignon, Beef Loin, Tenderloin Steak, Filet De Boeuf, Fillet Steak, Medallions, Short Tenderloin, Tenderloin Medallion

Cut from the Tenderloin area of the animal, the least exercised area, with the most tender cuts.

It is located in the Loin Beef Primal, between the Ribs Primal and Round Primal.

These steaks are known for being very tender, lean and have a buttery texture.

Must-Read Cooking Notes

This cut is very lean, due to its location being the least exercised area of the animal. As a result, it is recommended to be cooked using a Broiler or Grill, using both direct and indirect heat methods.

As for doneness, you will get the best results when is cooked Rare or Medium-Rare, for maximum flavor and tenderness.

What is Filet Mignon?

Filet-Mignon-Cut-Raw

Filet Mignon Cut

The term 'Filet Mignon' comes from French and means 'dainty fillet'. The name is originated from the size and location of the cut.

This steak is a very lean cut of the tenderloin, and is probably one of the most tender steaks in the animal.

It usually measures up to 2 inches in thickness and is often used on special occasions due to its expensive price.

Where is Filet Mignon Located?

Filet-Mignon-Location

If you consider the whole animal in 8 Main Areas, or as known as 8 Main Beef Primals, categorized by the USDA, the Filet Mignon is located in the Loin Primal, found between the sirloin and the ribs of the cow.

The exact location is the tenderloin, which is a long and slender conical shape muscle, streched from the ribs to the sirloin.

This area doesn't get a lot of movement from the animal, resulting in less connectivity issues and extremely lean texture.

As a result, the steaks from this area, including Filet Mignon are high in marbling and some of the most tender cuts of the animal.

The Filet Mignon is one of the smallest parts of the tenderloin and the average cow's tenderloin can be sliced in up to 12 filet mignons.

Why You Should Choose Filet Mignon

Probably, the main reason why most people choose the Filet Mignon is due to its extreme tenderness and melt-in-mouth texture.

Also, another reason why most people prefer this cut is its versatility and simplicity to cook.

You can choose to cook it using your grill, skillet or oven broiler, making it a good option for everyone.

Also, thanks to its great marbling and tenderness, you don't need to do anything special to get amazing results with this cut. Just follow the cooking and temperature instructions, and you will end up with a delicious steak without much effort.

How to Select and Buy Filet Mignon

When it comes to Beef, Quality does matter. Here's how to pick and select the best filet mignon for grilling.

Filet Mignon Marbling and Beef Grades

In US, the beef comes as USDA Select, Choice & Prime.

USDA-Beef-Grades-FuriousGrill

USDA Beef Grades, based on Marbling

The USDA Prime quality is actually the best and the most expensive one. This is what most fine dining restaurants use and is only 2% of the total beef sold ont the market.

The lower quality grade, the USDA Select is the cheapest one but the beef doesn't have a lot of marbling and it is not worth the effort.

My go-to beef grade is always the USDA Choice. It is the middle option and you will get the best quality-to-price ratio. Actually, half of the total beef sold in USA is Choice Grade.

For the whole beef tenderloin, I usually pay around $10-$15 per pound for the Choice grade.

If you pick the whole tenderloin, you need to slice and prepare it into a small Filet Mignon by yourself. You can read more on how to prepare it in the next section.

How to Buy the Best Cut

As for selecting the best Filet mignon cut on the market, without you needing to do some preparing and cutting at home, here are a few tips to have in mind:

  • Look for cuts with even edges, about 1-2 inches thick.
  • The meat should have a nice red color and look moist but not wet. You don't want to pick a spoiled steak.
  • If the meat is prepacked, don't pick packs with liquid in the bottom of the tray. Go for packs where the cut feels firm and cold to touch.
  • Pick around 3-4 ounces of meat per person.

How to Prepare & Season the Cut for Grilling

If you decide to make grilled filet mignon, then you don't need to do much preparing, especially if you buy it already cut and trimmed.

Preparing-and-Trimming-Filet-Mignon

Untrimmed Filet Mignon

But, if you pick the whole beef tenderloin, then you need to slice it into smaller pieces. The beef tenderloin is oblong in shape and tapered at one end. If it is already trimmed of silverskin, then you are good to begin cutting it into smaller fillets, around 1 1/2 - 2 inch thick.

If the silverskin and extended fat around the cut is not trimmed, then you can remove it as it will make the steak tougher to chew when cooked.

Also, if you have picked a frozen steak, the best way to thaw it is by leaving it in the refrigerator for around 24 hours.

You can even choose to grill a frozen steak but you will not get the best results this way.

If you want to read more about other thawing methods, you can read our previous steak thawing guide.

Seasoning Filet Mignon for Grilling

Filet mignon steaks are very lean and have little fat, meaning that they are very tender but need to be seasoned before grilling.

I prefer to go for a simple Fleur De Sel Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Tellicherry Black Peppercorn seasoning. You can brush them with olive oil before grilling or you can go for a little extra flavor and use bacon fat to give them the extra smokiness and great searing marks. Using olive oil or bacon fat to coat the meat also prevents it from sticking to the grill surface later.

After you have prepared the meat, now it is time to start the grilling process and prepare your grill.

Preparing the Grill

It doesn't matter if you are using gas, charcoal or pellet grill, you still need to allow your grill to preheat before cooking your steaks.

For a gas grill, preheating will take 15-20 minutes while on a charcoal model, wait for the coals to ash over.

Direct-Heat-Vs-Indirect-Heat

Direct vs Indirect Heat on Gas Grill - by Kary Osmond

Also, for the best results, you need to create a direct and indirect side on your grill. For propane models, you can simply adjust the burners while for charcoal models, you need to move the coals to one side.

Which Type of Grill Is Best?

It really depends on your personal preference and what model you feel more comfortable using.

The charcoal models will give you a more smoky, BBQ flavor that many people prefer while a gas grill resembles more a 'closed' smoky flavor, more like a smokiness of bacon.

Since using bacon fat actually enhances the flavor of the filet mignon, then a lot of people may prefer to use a gas grill to grill this type of steak.

However, I think that any model will work great as long as you follow the instructions and recommended temperatures.

Grilling Filet Mignon

Before putting the steaks on the grill, allow them to come close to room temperature.

Also, you need to first use a direct grilling approach to cook the outside of the meat and then use indirect heat grilling method to continue cooking the inside area. This way, you will end up with a brown and crispy outside, just like you would get from pan searing, and a soft and tender inside.

How Long to Grill Filet Mignon?

Grilling-Filet-Mignon

Grilling Filet Mignon - IMG Credits to Weber

Having a high heat side (or direct grilling) and a low heat side (indirect grilling) will allow you to quickly perform a sear on the meat before transferring it to the indirect grilling.

On the high heat side, you should grill them at 450-500°F for around 2-4 minutes per side, in total 6-8 minutes. This will give the steak the crispy crust and some nice grill marks.

Then, you should transfer them to the low-medium heat side for the indirect heat grilling. Grilling them on lower heat will allow the heat to penetrate the middle of the steak without overcooking the outside. Cook them on this side for an additional 4-6 minutes or until you reach your desired doneness level. For the best results, picking an instant read meat thermometer is always recommended.

Also, down below you can find a data table with time needed and cooking temperatures to have a better understanding how long it will take to grill filet mignon, based on the thickness and your cooking style.

Data Table with Detailed Times & Temperature

Direct Grilling Time & Temperatures for Steak Thickness

Notes: Direct Grilling involves grilling filet mignon covered, using Medium Heat. Turn it once during the cooking, depending on your cut thickness and preferred doneness. After you finish cooking it, transfer the meat to a platter and cover with foil, allowing it to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Here are some detailed timing and temperature levels for direct grilling filet mignon:

Steak Thickness

Recommended Doneness

Grilling Time

Recommended Internal Temp

1-inch Cut

Medium-Rare

10-12 Minutes

145°F

1-inch Cut

Medium

12-15 Minutes

160°F

1 1/2-inch Cut

Medium-Rare

15-19 Minutes

145°F

1 1/2-inch Cut

Medium

18-23 Minutes

160°F

Indirect Grilling Time & Temperatures for Steak Thickness

Notes: Prepare the grill for indirect heat using a drip pan or your preferred method. Grill the steak covered, using Indirect Medium-Heat for the time determined by steak thickness and desired doneness. After you finish cooking it, allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes on a foil-covered platter before serving. When indirect grilling, you don't need to turn the meat in the other side because the air circulates around like in oven.

Here's a table with detailed time needed and recommended temperatures for indirect grilling filet mignon:

Steak Thickness

Recommended Doneness

Grilling Time

Recommended Internal Temp

1-inch Cut

Medium-Rare

16-20 Minutes

145°F

1-inch Cut

Medium

20-24 Minutes

160°F

1 1/2-inch Cut

Medium-Rare

22-25 Minutes

145°F

1 1/2-inch Cut

Medium

25-28 Minutes

160°F

Grilled Filet Mignon Doneness Chart

While Filet mignon and most steaks are recommended to be cooked at Medium-Rare since that's the temperature point where the juices and tenderness reaches the maximum flavor, you can always cook them at your desired doneness.

For reference, here's a steak doneness chart, so you can see and find your desired level:

Beef-Cooking-Doneness-Levels

For quick reference, here are the doneness levels for beef: Rare: 120°F - Medium Rare: 130°F - Medium: 140°F - Medium Well: 150°F - Well Done: 160°F.

For more advanced details, you can use the table below with doneness levels, temperatures and descriptions to easily determine your desired level.

Doneness Level

Doneness Description

Recommended Internal Temp

Extra-Rare

Very Red & Cold

115-120°F

Rare

Cold Red Center; Soft

125-130°F

Medium-Rare

Warm Red Center; Firmer

130-140°F

Medium

Pink and Firm

140-150°F

Medium-Well

Small Amount of Pink in Center

150-155°F

Well-Done

Gray-Brown throughout; Firm

160-212°F

Resting Phase

If you are not already aware, it is always recommended to let your grilled steaks rest before serving them.

Actually, it is recommended to remove them from the heat around 5°F away from the desired temperature and let the meat rest for 5-10 minutes.

During this phase, the meat will still continue to cook for a few minutes, reached the desired temperature. Also, the resting phase allows the juices to settle and preserve the moisture when cutting it into slices.

Serving

Because filet mignon lacks fat, you should consider serving it with a sauce or topping to add some flavor and moisture. A few of the recommended Flavored butter recipes down below or Hollandaise Sauce will taste great on this cut. Simply put a tablespoon of butter on top just before serving and you are good to go.

Served-Filet-Mignon

Filet Mignon Cooking Tips

Here are some tips to help you learn how to cook filet mignon on the grill more easily:

  • Try to pick 1 1/2 - 2 inch thick fillets. You will get the best results on the grill with such thickness.
  • Lightly oil your grill racks with olive oil or bacon fat to keep your steak from sticking. Also, cleaning your grill racks before cooking will prevent sticking too.
  • Always remove the meat five degrees less than your target temperature and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. During this phase, the meat will cook 'itself' and will reach your target temperature.
  • Always use any sauce or butter on your steaks during the rest phase.
  • I cannot recommend enough the usage of an instant read thermometer. With one, you will easily determine the internal cooking temperature and cook the steak exactly at the desired level.

FAQs

How Long to Grill 2-inch Filet Mignon

Based on several recommendations, you should grill a 2-inch filet mignon cut for around 19-24 minutes at 145°F for Medium-Rare doneness and 24-29 Minutes at 160°F for Medium doneness.

After indirect grilling at the upper recommended temperatures, give it a quick sear on both sides to create a nice crust all around. 

What Temperature Should I Grill Filet Mignon?

It is recommended to cook on a direct and indirect heat, at around 145°F for Medium-Rare and at around 160°F for a Medium doneness.

How do you Cook the Perfect Filet Mignon Fillet Steak?

For the maximum tenderness and flavor, it is recommended to cook it at a Medium-Rare or Medium doneness. Anything more than that will actually ruin the cut, making it a little bit dry and tough for most of people.

Grilling Video

About Kendrick

Kendrick is an outdoor cooking enthusiast, currently living in Kansas, who loves to share his knowledge about cooking and grilling with everyone (Read More)

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