When you know how to grill filet mignon AKA tenderloin properly you may never buy a different steak. We are aware that people have a fear of grilling this particular cut of beef. The fear of ruining an expensive filet mignon can keep people from even attempting to grill it. Honestly, because they are typically cut thick, it is one of the simplest steaks to get right.
While filet mignon is the old school term this cut of beef is more commonly known today by the term tenderloin. While this term is technically correct when I think tenderloin I think of a large roast.
When cut to thin filet is possibly the toughest cut of steak to cook. This due to the lack of flavor and moister adding fat. Our simple grilling technique should minimize your fears while maximizing the flavor.
Filet Mignon is best when it is cooked rare to medium rare.
If you prefer a well or medium well steak you should probably avoid this cut of beef. It will dry out and become tough when over cooked.
When selecting your filet mignon remember thicker is better. There is less of a chance of over grilling them, when they are large. Smaller steaks cook faster and have less margin for error. Look for some steaks that have marbling, the tenderloin is a very lean cut. It is possible to find some with a little fat in them.
Prepare your steak as you normally would. I simply dust them with a salt and pepper. Then allow it to sit out for an hour. You do not want to cook a filet or any steak right out of the refrigerator.
While the meat is sitting out heat your grill, you want to get it ready to sear, so get it good and hot. TIP: If your grill does not get hot enough to get a good sear. Place a tin foil pie tin upside-down over the area you are going to place the meat on while the grill heats. This will get that area of the grates up to 200 degrees hotter than normal.
Grilling your Filet Mignon
Now that we are ready to sear. Keep the grill on high, quickly lift the lid and place the steaks on the hottest part of the grill and close the lid. Wait about 2 minutes and rotate the steak ¼ of a turn. After 2 more minutes flip the steak and repeat. Tip: When your filet is sticking it is not ready to be rotated yet. It will release from the grates when the grill marks are properly burnt in.
The next step: if you are working with thick steaks you want to sear the sides as well. You will need to stand the steaks on the sides. They can be propped up against each other in an upside-down v shape. Do this for about 2 minutes on two of the sides.
After the Sear:
Then remove the steaks from the heat. I move them to the upper racks, however just moving them off of the direct heat is just as effective. Check the temperature of the meat. At this point, depending on the thickness of the meat, they are probably close to rare. We move them to indirect heat to minimize the chance of over cooking.
Monitor the temperature as needed: the closer they are to the desired temperature the more frequently they should be checked. Pull the meat off of the grill 5 to 10 degrees before the desired temperature is reached and tent with tinfoil. Let sit for at least 4 minutes before serving.
How to Grill Filet Mignon AKA Tenderloin Notes:
If seared properly even well done filets can retain their juices and show some pink inside.
Attempting to cook this cut of steak rapidly over direct high heat can be done by experienced cooks. Our method is meant to minimize over cooking.
aka Sultan of Sizzle
I have been blogging about and selling grilling tool for over 12 years. A Certified Food Safety Professional, KCBS member, award winning writer and have over 10 years experience in the food service industry.
“I have experienced some of the best food this country has to offer and nothing is better than the food that comes off my own grill!”
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