Good steaks can be pricy, but you can save money by cutting your own filet mignon steaks from a whole beef tenderloin!
Filet mignon steaks are amazing, but they can also be amazingly pricey. It may seem intimidating to start with a larger cut of beef and cut it down into steaks yourself, but you may just impress yourself and save some money in the process.
Find out what exactly a filet mignon steak is as well as how to cut them from beef tenderloin and what to make from the remaining beef. We’re going step by step with pictures so you can follow along, but if you just need a refresher you can head straight to the simple instructions here.
What Cut Of Beef Does Filet Mignon Come From?
Filet mignon is a cut of steak that is known to be leaner than a lot of other grilling steaks, but also extremely tender and delicious. These factors contribute to why it is one of the most expensive cuts of steak.
Filet mignon steaks come from a trimmed beef tenderloin, the most tender portions are near the ends. The steaks are usually about 1 and 1/2 inch to 2 inch thick.
Does It Save Money?
Getting a whole beef tenderloin and doing the butchering yourself can definitely save you money. But keep your eye on the prices in the stores. The beef tenderloins go on sale quite often, and that’s the best time to buy them to cut them into steaks. You’ll not only end up with a bunch of filet mignon portions, you’ll also get additional tender meat to use in other ways.
Trimming Whole Beef Tenderloin (Photo Tutorial)
A whole beef tenderloin will typically be covered in fat and a layer of silver skin (a tough, connective tissue) that should be trimmed before cutting into a roast or steaks. You can ask for it to be trimmed at your butcher or grocer, but if you follow along, you’ll be able to do it yourself.
Trim Fat and Silver Skin
The easiest and safest way to trim the fat and silver skin from the tenderloin is to use a flexible boning knife. If you do not have a boning knife, a paring knife is the next best and safest tool.
Work the tip of the knife just under the silver skin or fat without cutting into the meat, gently pull with your other hand, and follow the knife along the path of the fat and silver skin. Parts of it can be removed by simply pulling, while other parts will need assistance from the knife.
If you find it hard to grip the silver skin because it’s slippery, use a paper towel pinched against where you’re gripping. It will stop the slipping and make it much easier.
Separate Main Tenderloin, Head, and Chain
A beef tenderloin has three parts: the main tenderloin, the head (sometimes called the wing), and the chain. All are tender and can be used in a variety of ways.
The head and chain can be easily located by the line of fat and connective tissue that runs between them and the main tenderloin. Separate these two pieces from the main tenderloin by running your fingers along the fat and connective tissue. The chain can often be removed without a knife, however, the head will often need to be fully separated with a few shallow slices.
Head of Beef Tenderloin
The head can be cooked as a small roast, cut into petite steaks, or cut into smaller pieces and used in soups, stews like goulash, beef stroganoff, and stir-fry dishes.
Remove Tenderloin Chain
Continue gently pulling the chain away from the tenderloin, using a knife as needed to cut through any tough connective tissue. Although the meat on the chain is tender, it can contain a lot of connective tissue that is not. This part is best used in braised soups and beef stews or turned into ground beef for burgers, meatloaf, or meatballs.
Finish Trimming Tenderloin
With the head and chain removed, continue trimming the fat and silver skin from the tenderloin. Now you have a beautifully trimmed beef tenderloin to cut into steaks and more.
Cutting Beef Tenderloin Into Steaks
When properly trimmed, the tenderloin should have very little fat and connective tissue remaining on the outside. Whether you trimmed it down yourself or bought a trimmed tenderloin from the store, it should look similar to the picture below.
Trim Ends of Tenderloin
A beef tenderloin has two tapered ends that can be removed and cut into petite steaks or used in soups and stews. To separate the ends, find the spot where the ends just begin to taper away from the middle of the tenderloin, usually about four or five inches from each end, and slice.
Cut Center Portion Into Steaks
With the ends of the beef tenderloin removed, you’re left with the center portion of the beef tenderloin known as chateaubriand which can be used for an outstanding roast tenderloin or cut into center-cut steaks.
Cutting Ends Into Petite Steaks
The ends of the beef tenderloin can also be cut into petite steaks or used in soups and stews.
Finished Portions of Beef Tenderloin
An average beef tenderloin, with head and chain removed, can yield about four or five center-cut steaks, four or five petite steaks, and several pieces that can be used for soups, stews, and other recipes. In addition, as noted earlier, that tenderloin has yielded you a small roast, and some tender meat that is great to grind for burgers.
Now that you’ve got your perfectly cut portions of tenderloin, it’s time to use those steaks for filet mignon. They are so tender and work best when prepared simply like in my Perfect Filet Mignon recipe. You can also wrap these steaks with bacon for something extra special. Enjoy! -Christine xoPrint
Cutting fillet mignon steaks from a beef tenderloin roast is easier to do than you’d think, and it will save you money too!
- 1 (5 lb.) beef tenderloin, trimmed (see above)
- The trimmed tenderloin has two tapered ends. Locate where the tapering begins at one end, and cut the tapered part off. Repeat with the other end. The tapered ends can be cut into petite steaks.
- Working with the center portion, cut into 1 and 1/2 inch steaks.
- Freeze, refrigerate, or cook the steaks.
- To cook, season first and then sear in a very hot skillet with a little bit of oil for 3 minutes per side for medium.