If you’re a steak fan, chances are you’ve explored different ways to cook your favorite cuts to bring out the best possible flavor and texture. And if you consider yourself something of a grillmaster, perhaps one of the ways you’ve learned to perfect your meat is on the grill with spices, rubs, or other techniques, especially during warmer months. But there’s one cut of steak you may want to keep off the grill if you want to get the most of out it, and that’s the classically-coveted filet mignon.
This is according to Chef Michael Ollier, who works with the Certified Angus Beef brand. He says that while he too loves the taste of a filet straight off the grill, he has mixed feelings about cooking what he considers to be “the most tender cut of beef…lean with a subtle flavor that melts-in-your-mouth” using this method (via Mashed).
Try pan searing your filet mignon instead
The reason Ollier hesitates to cook a filet mignon on the grill is because it is a particularly lean cut of meat, while “great grilling steaks have enough fat that renders and drips onto the coals of a charcoal grill or ‘Flavorizer bar’ of a gas grill and sizzles.” This dripping fat, he explains, “add[s] the flavor atmosphere in the grill, building that great grill flavor we love.” Since a filet is leaner and will not drip much fat, there is a better way to cook it in order to preserve the full flavor of the cut: pan searing (via Mashed).
This method, he says, “creates a crust and imparts a distinctive flavor and aroma. Having a nice dark crust across the entire filet is a perfect contrast to its juicy pink center.” In addition, it allows you to create a pan sauce. Bon Appetit gives simple step-by-step instructions to doing this: after pan searing the meat, pour off any fat from the skillet, but don’t wipe it out, as some fat is necessary for a good sauce. Like Ollier, the magazine suggests adding some butter. Turn the heat down to medium and add the aromatics like a chopped shallot or some garlic and maybe spices like black pepper. Stir while cooking for about four minutes, or until the vegetables in the sauce have “bloomed.” Then remove the chunks of vegetables, pour the sauce over the steak, and enjoy!
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