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What part of the cow is filet mignon?

Filet Mignon Dish - What part of the cow is filet mignon?

The filet mignon is highly prized for its tenderness and luxurious dining experience. So, which part of the cow is it from? How do you cook it to bring out its best flavor?

This article will discuss the location of the filet mignon and provide expert tips on how to cook the perfect mignon every time.

What is a Filet Mignon?

Filet mignon gets its name from the combination of two French words: "filet" and “mignon.” The former means thread or strip, and the latter translates to small and pretty.

The filet mignon is a highly prized cut obtained from the center of the tenderloin, also known as the short loin. This is located within the cow's rib cage. Since this part of the animal is not responsible for bearing weight, the connective tissues remain tender without toughening due to exercise. As a result, the filet mignon is highly prized for its tenderness.

Anatomically speaking, the filet mignon is taken from the psoas major. This muscle resides beside the backbone in the rib area. It starts as a flat and pointed end near the ribs, gradually thickening as it extends toward the rear of the animal until it reaches the femur. Each cow possesses two tenderloins.

To be more precise, filet mignon steaks are taken from the middle part of the tenderloin. When sold, filet mignon slices typically measure one to two inches in thickness and two to three inches in diameter. However, true mignons measure no more than an inch in diameter. They are obtained from the tapered end adjacent to the "tail." These steaks naturally possess a rounded shape as they originate from the tube-shaped section of the muscle.

How to Cook Filet Mignon

Cooking Fillet Mignon In A Pan

There are many ways to cook filet mignon. These include grilling, broiling, roasting, and pan-frying. Generally, first apply high heat to sear the meat on both sides. You then transfer to a lower heat to finish the steak to the desired doneness level while being careful not to overcook it.

The cooking process is as good as the tools you use. Therefore, if you want to carve out the steak as you wish while maintaining an aesthetic countertop appeal, consider buying one of our top-selling wooden cutting boards.

Here are some expert tips to help you cook the perfect filet mignon every time:

  • If the steak was previously refrigerated, take it out of the fridge half an hour before cooking. Let it cool to room temperature. That way, you will get a more evenly cooked steak.
  • Since filet mignon does not have any surrounding fat tissue, it is often barded in a layer of bacon or lard. This layer prevents it from drying out and adds more flavor.
  • With the little fat that it has, you should never cook the filet mignon beyond medium rare. Also, the more you cook it, the more it becomes dry and less tender.
  • Once you are done with the cooking, cover the cooked filet mignon with foil. Leave it to cool at room temperature for about five minutes. This time is essential as it allows the juices to redistribute evenly.
  • Use a high smoke point oil since the filet mignon is best cooked at high temperatures. Options include grape seed oil, canola oil, or even sunflower oil.

Filet Mignon Recipe


  • Filet Mignon steaks cut 1.5" to 2.0" thick
  • Whole garlic cloves
  • Unsalted butter
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 450F.
  2. Liberally salt and pepper both sides of your steaks.
  3. Add olive oil to a hot pan. When the pan with the oil is smoking hot, slowly place the steaks.
  4. Cook each side for 2 minutes. Add the unsalted butter, thyme, rosemary, and garlic cloves. Slightly tilt the pan to one side to let the butter pool on one end. Continuously spoon the butter into the steak for 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Transfer the whole pan to the oven that you had preheated. For the perfect medium rare done filet, cook the steak for approximately 7 minutes.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven. Leave it to rest for at least five minutes before you cut into it. Serve and enjoy.

What Does Filet Mignon Taste Like?

For starters, filet mignon is beef. Therefore, do not expect to taste something else. Generally, filet mignon tastes milder and sweeter than most cuts. What makes it outstanding is the very soft texture.

This texture results in a buttery sensation on top of a delicate, refined, beefy flavor. One thing to note is that there are many different breeds of cows that are bred in different ways. As such, the flavor may not always be the same.


To wrap it up, filet mignon is an exquisite cut of beef. It offers exceptional tenderness and a delicate, refined flavor. This cut is taken from the center of the tenderloin.

Knowing how to cook filet mignon is key to bringing out its best flavor. Whichever method you choose to cook it, the goal is to achieve a perfect sear and cook it to your preferred level of doneness. When prepared correctly, filet mignon offers a unique buttery texture and a mild, sweet flavor that distinguishes it from other cuts of beef.

So, what other cuts do you want to know about? Check out this guide about all the beef cuts you need to know about.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can filet mignon be grilled?

    Absolutely! Grilling is a common way to cook filet mignon. It is important to preheat the grill to high heat and sear the steak on both sides before reducing the heat to finish cooking to the desired doneness. Remember to monitor the cooking time closely to prevent overcooking.

  2. Can filet mignon be cooked to different doneness levels?

    Yes, you can cook the filet mignon to various levels of doneness. However, due to its low-fat content, we recommend that you do not cook it beyond medium rare to preserve its tenderness and prevent it from becoming dry.

  3. Why is filet mignon expensive?

    Filet mignon is renowned for being one of the most expensive cuts of beef. Several factors contribute to its hefty price tag. First, the filet mignon is a relatively smaller cut compared to other cuts. If you have many guests, the cut may be from multiple animals.

    Compared to other cuts, this cut is highly sought after due to its exceptional tenderness and leanness. Lastly, high-quality filet mignon is typically sourced from well-raised cattle and meticulously aged to enhance its flavor and tenderness.

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