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Filet Mignon Vs Tenderloin (Key Differences)

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Can you differentiate between filet mignon vs tenderloin right off the bat? 

I guessed not! 

The two prime cuts of beef have thrown many people, even most pro chefs, into chaos. Their appearances might make you think they are the same cuts given two different names. But they aren’t. They might look alike and cut from the same part of the animal, but they both have their fair share of indifference. 

This is where the confusion lies:

Tenderloin is the entire portion of meat gotten beneath the ribs, next to the backbone, but filet mignon is a conical tip of the tenderloin. So, filet mignon can be tenderloin, but you can’t call the whole tenderloin a filet mignon because it is just a small part of the muscle on the tip of the tenderloin. 

What Is Tenderloin?

Tenderloin is the tenderest muscle of beef or pork. The cut is extracted between the sirloin and the top lion. 

Tenderloin weighs approximately 4 – 6 lb. You can either purchase at the butcher shops as a whole filet or in medallions, sometimes in cut across the grain or round. On top of that, it could be trimmed or untrimmed.

You know you lust tenderloin as a good steak for the barbecue due to its less fat content, reducing chances of flare-ups, and burning the meat. 

Well, that is the trimmed tenderloin. 

The untrimmed version contains a considerable amount of fat, with a silver skin from the cow’s sides that needs removal before it can be cooked.

You can slice and pan fry it or roast it whole. And it goes well with a wide variety of sauces and dressings.   

Even if it is not the most flavorful cut, it is pretty popular for its tenderness. It is expensive and the most frequently ordered steak on the menu. 

What Is Filet Mignon?

To succinctly put, Filet mignon is a cut of the tenderloin. It is the conical end part of the tenderloin, major of an animal carcass. You can even slice it into thick steaks for whatever recipe. 

The filet mignon is known for its tenderness as well cut, but not compared to what its mouth-watering flavor can do to your pocket. 

Like tenderloin, it matches with sauces and dressings and sauces. And it is among the most high-priced cuts of meat.  

Most people call it the ‘King of steaks’ — not everyone would agree to that, especially chef, because it has a bland taste.

Even at that, filet mignon is a popular choice on the menu. And it is so damn easy and quick to cook.

Filet Mignon Vs Tenderloin: Similarities and Differences

Filet Mignon Vs Tenderloin

Flavor Profile

Both the filet and tenderloin are lean with a buttery and mild flavor, so they are accompanied with sauces and dressings for an additional boost. 

More precisely, they don’t have bones and are very tend. Both have an element of marbled fat that isn’t fatty. 

Presentation And Serving

Both cuts are prepared and served similarly, although the filet mignon steaks are mostly wrapped in bacon to help create a perfect plump shape. 

Tenderloin is either cooked whole piece and cut after or cut into medallions and cooked individually as small round steaks. Both cuts have a milder flavor, so they are often garnished with sauces or dressings. 

Personal Preferences and Cost

Even though Filet mignon is gotten from the tenderloin, it is way more expensive. And I can’t tell you what cut of meat is best for you. It all depends on your taste personal preferences. 

However, most people will unhesitatingly opt for a large tenderloin cut for a group dinner or something. Meanwhile, some may prefer the smaller slices of the filet mignon for a single or two-person dinner.

Cooking Methods and Spread

Filet mignon

Filet Mignon is an extremely versatile cut that is best cooked with direct heat. It can be skillet-cooked, grilled, or broiled in an oven. And its recipes are great all year round. Furthermore, cooking filet mignon is time and energy-consuming. 

Grilling a 1-inch cut only takes 10 to 12 minutes for medium-rare (145°F), although for medium (160°F), it could take 12 to 15 minutes. 

A 1½-inch cut could be around 15 to 19 minutes for medium-rare (145°F) and up to 18 to 23 minutes for medium (160°F).

Lastly, remember to spare an extra 5 minutes in the foil.  Keep in mind indirect grilling could take an additional 4 to 5 minutes. Skillet-cooking could be anywhere from 10 to 13 minutes for medium.

Tenderloin

Tenderloin is cooked the same way — grilling, roasting, or skillet-cooked. But the timing differs according to the weight of your roast. 

For instance, a 2 to 3 pounds roast takes approximately 35 to 40 minutes to roast at 425°F for medium-rare (135°F). And as for medium, nothing above 45 to 50 minutes (150°F) doneness should do. Supposed it was 4 to pounds, you be roasting at 425°F for about 50 to 60 minutes —that is for medium-rare (135°F), and up to 70 minutes for medium (150°F).

However, the grilling time of beef tenderloin steaks depends on how thick the slice is. Cover and grill for a 2 to 3-pound roast take about 4 minutes to an hour (135°F medium-rare).

On the other hand, a 4 to 5 pound should take up to 1 hour 15mins (135°F medium-rare). And a 15 minute extra to let it sit in the foil.

Conclusion

The Filet mignon vs tenderloin has a lot in common. However, you must have seen how different they could be by now. 

They are a big name in the steak world and are always a top pick at most steak restaurants. We believe you can make an informed buying decision between both steaks by now.

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