Grilling Filet Mignon
A Complete Guide to Grilling Filet Mignon
With the high price of beef, it’s no wonder that some backyard bar-be-cuers are a little hesitant to start grilling filet mignon. It is, after all, the hardest cut of steak to grill and it costs the most money per pound. There is nothing worse than inviting some friends over for a steak and a couple of drinks, and then serving a piece of meat that looks and tastes like shoe leather.
Grilling filet mignon is an art. But, thankfully, it is a learned art. Just follow these instructions and you will be sure to have a nicely grilled, tender and juicy steak every time:
First of all, you need to prepare your filet mignon for grilling. To do this, sprinkle your meat with freshly ground pepper and rub it in on both sides. Don’t salt the steak, as experts maintain that it dries out the meat. If you have a favorite seasoning, cover the steak with it and let it sit for forty-five minutes or so. While many steaks need to be marinated to be tender, this is not the case when grilling filet mignon. You just want to season the beef and then let it sit until it is fully at room temperature.
Now is the most trying part of grilling filet mignon. Pre-heat your grill, and when you can no longer hold your hand over the flames, it’s time to place your piece of meat gently on the grill. Here is a good tip: Never spear your meat with a fork or anything else when you are placing it on the grill. Use tongs to pick it up and set it down every time.
There is some disagreement among grilling aficionados as to the temperature you should use to cook your filet mignon. This is going to boil down to personal preference. Some people sear one side of the steak and then the other on high temperature, and then turn the grill back to medium to finish cooking. Others cook entirely on high.
With steaks, unlike chicken and some other meats, it is best to leave the top of the grill uncovered and stay with the meat while it cooks. Here’s how it goes: using tongs, place your filet mignon steak on the grill. Leave it there for two minutes and then turn the meat 90 degrees. Depending on the thickness, and whether you want it rare, medium, or well done (horrible choice with filet mignon), leave the steak for another two to five minutes.
Then, turn the steak over onto the other side. The cooked side should have some nice sets of grill marks. Leave the steak on the grill again for two minutes. Turn it 90 degrees and then grill another two to five minutes depending on the thickness and how well done you want it to be. Set your steak on a platter for at least two to three minutes before serving. This lets all of the juices in the meat regroup, so to speak.
The biggest mistake people make when grilling filet mignon is cooking it too long. The thinner your piece of meat, the less time you will need to spend cooking it. Most people do not use a meat thermometer when grilling. It is better to err on the side of caution and have a rare steak than an over-done one. You can always put an under-cooked steak back on the grill to cook a little longer. There is nothing you can do though, if you have already grilled the meat to a state where it is dry and leathery.
Just for good measure, you can test the grilling progress of a steak by pushing your finger into the meat. If the meat is rare, you will see a nice little indentation on the spot where you placed your finger. If the steak is medium, it will not leave an indentation but will flex under your finger. A well-done steak will feel completely solid.
Good luck and happy grilling!