Filet mignon is such a beautiful cut of meat. Because of where this muscle lies on the cow, just under the backbone, it doesn’t get worked much, which is why it’s so tender.
And what makes it even more special is that it’s a lot leaner than a ribeye with only about 7 grams of saturated fat, compared to the ribeye’s 28 grams.
Because this meat is so succulent, I like it cooked rare to medium rare. At this temp, it melts in your mouth like butter. But I recognize that some people just can’t do pink meat, which is why the below recipe can be adapted for all meat lovers.
HOW TO GRILL FILET MIGNON
Let’s start with the seasoning. All you really need is salt and pepper. I like using kosher salt and course ground black pepper, because both provide a little texture when the crust forms.
I don’t measure here. Just sprinkle until they have a dusting on all sides.
Season the steaks about 30 minutes before you’re going to put them on the grill and leave them on the counter. This allows them to lose the chill from the fridge, so they cook more evenly. Filet mignon’s are usually 1 1/2 to 3 inches thick. If they’re too cold, the outer edges will cook too quickly compared to the center.
I love grilling filet mignon on the sear station on my Aspire gas grill. It can get up to 1,000F degrees. I set it for medium-high and place the steaks on after it has heated up for a good 15 minutes.
The ceramic plates create a crust that is just divine, especially with the coarse black pepper.
HOW LONG TO COOK FILET MIGNON
There’s not an exact formula for this, but I can give you some tried and true pointers.
Bottom line is that the cook time is going to depend on the thickness of your steak, how cold it is when you put it on the grill, how hot your grill is and how done you like it cooked.
Fortunately, we can control all of those things.
For a 1 1/2-2″ steak that’s been sitting on the counter for about 30 minutes, it will take about 4 minutes per side over medium-high heat to reach rare to medium rare. Add another minute per side to reach medium, and another minute per side for medium well. And just keep going for well done.
The best way to know the exact temp is to use a digital thermometer. Pierce the probe into the side of the steak like shown in the picture. This will give you the most accurate reading. I pull my steak at about 127F for rare to medium rare. Keep in mind it will rise a few degrees as it rests on the counter.
WHAT IS PEPPERCORN SAUCE
Since I’ve kept the filet very natural with just salt and pepper, I can dress it up with a luxurious sauce.
Peppercorn sauce, also called au poivre (in French) is a creamy sauce spiked with brandy or cognac.
As the name implies, it starts with whole peppercorns. You can grind some with a pepper grinder, but it’s a lot quicker to place them in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin or heavy can.
Start the sauce by toasting the freshly crushed peppercorns in a dry sauce pot over medium-high heat. You can do this on the grill or over a burner. Toasting them will bring out their essential oils.
Next, add the butter and saute some diced shallots, until they’re tender. Carefully, pour in the beef broth and brandy.
You want to bring everything to a rapid boil for about 7 minutes. This allows the sauce to reduce, so it will thicken.
When you add the cream, it too will boil. You need to stir it as it cooks, so it doesn’t form a skin on top. After about 5 minutes, it will thicken and coat the back of a spoon.
Remove it from the heat and whisk in two tablespoons of butter. Oh it’s so heavenly. I could almost drink this stuff.
You can make the sauce in advance and keep it over low heat on the stove. Just be sure to stir it occasionally or it will form a skin. No big deal though. You can whisk it away.
After the steaks have rested for a few minutes, spoon some of the sauce right over the steaks and enjoy.
Grilled Filet Mignon with Peppercorn Sauce
Grilled filet mignon with peppercorn sauce (AKA steak au poivre) is one of the most luxurious meals you can prepare in less than 30 minutes.
Season the steaks on all sides with salt and pepper. Leave them on a pan on the counter while you heat the grill to medium-high heat.
Place the steaks on the grill and cook for 4 minutes.
Start making the peppercorn sauce. (see below)
Flip the steaks. For medium-rare steaks continue cooking for 3-4 minutes to an internal temperature of 127F.
Remove them from the grill, and let them rest on a pan covered loosely with foil while you finish the sauce.
Serve with a generous spoonful of peppercorn sauce.
Peppercorn Sauce (au Poivre)
Place the peppercorns in a baggie and crush with a rolling pin.
Place a saucepot over medium-high heat.
Add the peppercorns, and toast them for 1 minute.
Add 1 tablespoon butter and let it melt.
Saute the shallots for 1 minute.
Carefully, pour in the beef broth and cognac. Bring it to a boil and cook for 7 minutes.
Add the cream, and continue cooking stirring constantly until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in two tablespoons butter.
The cook time will vary slightly, depending on the size of the steaks and how long they rested at room temperature on the counter.If you like your steaks beyond medium-rare, increase the cook time to 5 minutes or more per side.