How to Expertly Cut Perfect Filet Mignon Steaks from a Beef Tenderloin

Filet mignon is considered by many to be the king of steaks. The tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture paired with its buttery, rich flavor makes filet mignon a sublime dining experience. While you can easily purchase filet mignon at the grocery store, there’s nothing quite like cutting your own steaks from a fresh, high-quality beef tenderloin.

Cutting filet mignon from a whole tenderloin may seem intimidating but it’s actually a straightforward process. With the right technique and a sharp knife you’ll be able to cut restaurant-worthy filet mignon steaks to enjoy at home.

In this complete guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to properly cut filet mignon steaks from a whole beef tenderloin. Let’s get started!

Before we can cut filet mignon, it helps to understand exactly what a beef tenderloin is and where it comes from

The tenderloin is a long, tapered muscle that runs along the backbone of the cow. It’s one of the most tender cuts of beef due to its minimal connective tissue and fat marbling When removed from the carcass as a whole roast, it’s called a beef tenderloin.

The tapered shape of the tenderloin means that the narrow “tail” end will be the most tender part of the roast. This is where we will cut our filet mignon steaks.

When shopping for a tenderloin to cut into steaks, you’ll want to look for the following:

  • Uniform thickness – Avoid irregularly shaped roasts.
  • Bright red color – The meat should look fresh, not dull or brown.
  • Firm texture – It should be firm to the touch, not mushy.
  • Good marbling – Some fat marbling is desirable for flavor and tenderness.
  • 3-4 lbs – The ideal size for cutting multiple steaks.

Opting for a high-quality tenderloin will ensure delicious, tender filet mignon steaks. Now, let’s get to the fun part – the cutting!

Step 1: Prepare Your Beef Tenderloin

Before slicing into that beautiful roast, we need to do a little prep work:

  • Trim fat and silverskin – Use a sharp knife to trim any large hunks of fat or silverskin (silver membrane).

  • Inspect for tenderness – The narrow “tail” should be the most tender part.

  • Cut off the chain – Remove the tough chain muscle running along the side.

  • Make a guideline – Mark cutting lines along the length where you’ll slice the steaks.

Taking the time to properly trim and inspect the tenderloin will give you the best results when cutting steaks.

Step 2: Cut Your Steaks to the Desired Thickness

Now we’re ready for the fun part – time to cut those perfect filet mignon steaks!

  • Start at the tail end – This will yield the most tender steaks.

  • Cut across the grain – Slice perpendicular to the muscle fibers for tenderness.

  • Cut 1.5-2 inches thick – The ideal thickness to get a nice sear while keeping a rosy center.

  • Make evenly sized steaks – Try to maintain a consistent thickness in each slice.

  • Use a sharp knife – A sharp knife makes cleaner cuts than a dull blade.

  • Work carefully – Take it slow and use clean cuts instead of hacking or sawing.

Cutting clean, consistent steaks from the tenderloin takes some finesse. Be patient and let the knife do the work.

Step 3: Tie the Steaks (Optional)

Some chefs recommend tying each filet mignon steak with butcher’s twine after cutting. This optional step helps maintain the steak’s shape during cooking.

To tie:

  • Cut twine about 18 inches long
  • Center the twine underneath the steak
  • Crisscross the ends of the twine on top
  • Tie a tight square knot

Tying is not mandatory but can help the steaks cook more evenly if desired.

Step 4: Trim and Shape the Steaks

With the steaks cut, we can now trim and shape them:

  • Trim excess fat/gristle – Remove any unappetizing bits for a cleaner presentation.

  • Smooth out the edges – Round off any uneven edges so the steaks look tidy.

  • Gently flatten with palm – Pressing lightly helps flatten and even out thickness.

  • Let steaks rest briefly – Give the meat 10-15 minutes to relax after cutting before cooking.

Taking the time to trim and shape the steaks gives them that perfect filet mignon appearance.

Cooking Your Cut Filet Mignon to Perfection

You did it – beautifully cut filet mignon steaks ready to cook up! Now the fun really starts.

While filet mignon can be prepared many ways, the most popular cooking methods include:

  • Pan searing – Cook in a hot skillet with butter or oil to get a flavorful crust.

  • Grilling – Gets great char and smoky flavor on a hot grill.

  • Roasting – Cook in the oven at 400-450°F to let the tenderloin roast evenly.

  • Sous vide – Vacuum seal and cook in a water bath for incredibly tender results.

No matter which cooking technique you use, here are some tips:

  • Don’t overcook! – Cook to medium rare at most to prevent becoming tough and dry.

  • Use a meat thermometer – Pull steaks at 125°F for perfect medium rare doneness.

  • Rest before slicing – Let steaks rest 5-10 minutes to allow juices to redistribute.

With the right prep and cooking, your homemade filet mignon will rival the best steakhouses. Now dig in and enjoy!

Common Questions about Cutting Filet Mignon from Beef Tenderloin

If you’re new to cutting your own steaks, chances are you still have some questions about the process. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:

What is the difference between filet mignon and tenderloin?

Filet mignon refers to the steak cuts from the tapered “tail” end of the tenderloin. The tenderloin is the whole muscle roast. So filet mignon steaks come from cutting a whole beef tenderloin.

What kind of knife do I need to cut tenderloin into steaks?

A sharp boning knife is ideal for getting clean cuts through the tenderloin. Make sure to have your knife professionally sharpened if the blade is dull.

Does the tenderloin need to be tied before cutting into steaks?

No, tying before cutting is unnecessary. You can tie each steak individually after cutting if desired, but it’s not mandatory.

How thick should I cut filet mignon steaks?

The optimum thickness for filet mignon is around 1.5-2 inches. This provides enough thickness to get a nice sear while still allowing the interior to cook to a lovely medium rare.

How do I keep the steaks from falling apart when I cut them?

Work slowly and carefully when cutting to avoid shredding the meat. Also, tie each cut steak individually to help hold it together during cooking if needed. Chilling the steaks after cutting can also help firm them up.

Can I use other parts of the tenderloin besides the “tail”?

Absolutely! While the “tail” is considered the most tender, steaks can be cut starting around the mid-point of the tenderloin. Just keep in mind the thickness and tenderness may vary.

How long will the cut steaks last in the fridge?

Properly wrapped steaks from the tenderloin will last 3-4 days refrigerated. For longer storage, freeze them for 2-3 months. Remember to thaw in the fridge before cooking.

The Reward of Homemade Filet Mignon

You made it! By now you should be fully confident in your skills of how to cut perfect filet mignon steaks from a whole beef tenderloin.

While it takes some finesse, the work is well worth it when you get to enjoy fresh, homemade filet mignon cooked to juicy, tender perfection.

The impressive dining experience of restaurant-quality filet mignon can be yours, right in your own kitchen. So next time you see a beautiful beef tenderloin roast at the butcher shop, roll up your sleeves and start cutting.

Your tastebuds and dinner guests will thank you for sharing your expertly prepared filet mignon steaks. Just be prepared for many requests for your fabulous cooking secrets!

Cut your own filet mignon! Step by step Chef David will show you how!


Is sliced beef tenderloin the same as filet mignon?

Filet Mignon is part of the Tenderloin, which is why some see Tenderloin and Filet Mignon as one in the same. Filet Mignon is cut from the tip of the Tenderloin, a delicate and tender area of the loin primal.

What to do with the chain of a beef tenderloin?

The chain looks like a tiny tenderloin loosely attached to the main tenderloin —many people mistakenly throw this meat away or use it for ground meat. With just the right amount of fat and tenderness, though, this cut is Florencia’s long-time favorite for skewers, stir-fry, and stews you don’t actually have to stew.

How do you cut a filet mignon?

To cut filet mignon, you will need a whole beef tenderloin, a sharp knife, and a cutting board. Follow these steps: Remove the Silver Skin: The first step is to remove the silver skin, which is a tough and chewy membrane that covers part of the tenderloin.

How do you cut filet mignon from a beef tenderloin?

To cut filet mignon from a beef tenderloin, you will need a sharp boning knife or a chef’s knife, a cutting board, and a sturdy surface to work on. It is important to have a knife with a thin and flexible blade to ensure clean and precise cuts. How do I cut filet mignon from a beef tenderloin?

What is the difference between beef tenderloin and filet mignon?

Beef tenderloin and filet mignon are both expensive cuts of beef that you might purchase for a special occasion. Learn about the differences between these two cuts of beef. What Is Beef Tenderloin? Beef tenderloin is a larger cut of beef consisting of the entire tenderloin muscle.

What is a filet mignon steak?

Famous for their buttery smooth texture and mild flavor, filet mignons are cut from the center of the tenderloin on the cow. As the term “beef tenderloin” suggests, filet mignons are the most tender cut of steak you can buy.

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