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Filet mignon is a tender, high-scale steak cut from the center of the beef tenderloin. Filet just needs to be heated through, usually 1 to 2 hours. I'll usually go with 131°F (55°C) for medium-rare but you can use the temperature of your choice.
Filet mignon is considered by many people to be one of the best steaks around. It is very tender, though it can be on the mild side due to the lack of marbling. Because it is tender, it just needs to be sous vided until heated through, which usually just takes a few hours.
I like to finish the filet on a cast iron pan, with just a quick sear. You don't want to overcook it at all though or it will quickly become tough.
You can read my detailed guide to all the cuts of sous vide beef tenderloin, which includes filet mignon as well as cooking the tenderloin whole.
A lot of people ask me why you would sous vide a filet mignon since it is already really tender. You're right, filet is definitely tender.
This particular steak also doesn't have much fat in it, so it's a very lean piece of meat and lean pieces of meat dry out very quickly. When a filet mignon starts to be heated above 135°F (57.2°C), 140°F (60°C), they lose their moisture very quickly.
Using sous vide allows you to cook the steak at the exact temperature you want without overcooking it. This technique results in a lot juicier and more flavorful outcome.
In addition, filet is very easy to overcook. Sous vide removes any of those concerns and allows you to perfectly cook a usually pretty expensive piece of steak every single time.
So that's why I turn to sous vide for filet mignon. I think it makes a huge difference in the quality of your final dish. If you are a professional chef or you cook filet a lot, sous vide is your fail-safe delicious option.
It's a pretty easy process to sous vide filet mignon, just like the majority of sous vided steaks.
First you season it. With something like filet mignon, you probably want salt, maybe some pepper or a little bit of spice rub that's on the milder side. It's an expensive piece of meat and you don't want to overshadow the flavor of the beef itself.
After your sous vide machine preheats to whatever your preferred steak temperature is, place the bag of steak into the water bath.
I like 130°F (54.4°C) or 131°F (55°C) for most of my steaks because I prefer steak on the lower side of medium rare.
The general ranges are about 125°F (51.6°C) to 130°F (54.4°C) for rare, 130°F (54.4°C) to 135°F (57.2°C) for medium rare, 135°F (57.2°C) to 140°F (60°C) for medium and above there, you're looking at well done.
As with all steaks, I don't recommend going above about 150°F (65.6°C) because otherwise you're going to really, really dry it out. At 150°F (65.6°C), I feel like you still get a lot of that well done color and texture, but it's a little more moist, a bit more tender, and it's going to be more flavorful.
The length of time you cook it will be completely based on the thickness of your filet. It is already a tender piece of meat so you don't want it to cook it too long or start the filet will start losing any of its bite. If needed, you can cook it a little bit longer to pasteurize it.
However, I do recommend pulling it pretty much as soon as it's been heated through or pasteurized. This normally just takes 2 to 4 hours, depending on the thickness and the temperature you're using.
Finally, you just want to give it a good sear. Because it is a lean piece and you don't want to overcook it. I generally recommend letting it sit out on your counter, in the bag for about 10 to 15 minutes or putting it in some cold tap water for 5 to 10 minutes to bring down the temperature of the outside of the meat a little bit.
At that point, it allows you to have a longer sear. Dry it off really good and throw it on a hot pan. I like using a cast iron pan. You can throw it on a grill or if your broiler in your oven is really hot, you can even use that occasionally.
Now you have a perfectly cooked tender flavorful, sous vide filet mignon all ready to dive into for your special occasion.
I recommend going with a lower temperature for sous vide filet mignon. Whatever your preferred steak range is, select a temperature at the lower end of that. This will help because filet mignon is such a lean piece of meat.
I usually use 130°F (54.4°C), because I like the lower end of medium-rare. You can go as low as 125°F (51.6°C) which is generally considered rare.
At 130°F (54.4°C), you start going into the medium-rare range, 135°F (57.2°C) is about medium, and then 140°F (60°C) or above you're getting into the medium-well or well-done.
As with all steaks, I don't recommend going above 150°F (65.6°C). At that point, you are really squeezing out more of the moisture. Once you go above, I think it's 154.2°F (67.9°C) you lose about 50% more liquid than you do before that. So, crossing that line makes a huge difference in the juiciness of your steak.
And at 150°F (65.6°C), you're still looking at something that looks like a well-done steak. So I think most people who like a well-done steak are happy with it.
"How long do you suggest sous viding filet mignon for?" - just until it's heated all the way through. You don't want to tenderize it because it's already a super tender cut of meat.
So, the amount of time needed to sous vide it comes down 100% to how thick is the filet mignon. Most of the times you can heat through filet in 2 to 3 hours depending on the thickness.
However, you can get the exact timing from my Sous Vide Cooking Times by Thickness. Or you can check out our timing ruler, which you can hold up next to your steak and it'll tell you the exact time and temperature to use.
You can also pasteurize the filet mignon steak while sous viding it if you're feeding it to someone who has a weakened immune system. This will add probably another 1 to 2 hours to the cook time depending on the temperature, but it is a good way to ensure safety across the board.
It's also important to pasteurize meat if you're using some that was blade tenderized, like a lot of Costco steaks. The pasteurization will make sure everything is killed on the inside of the meat, not just the outside.
After sous viding a filet mignon, how would you sear it? This is a good question because you want to try to get a good crust on your steak. With filet, it's harder since it's such a lean cut, especially after you sous vided it.
You don't want to raise the temperature any higher than what you sous vided the meat at or it's going to undo a lot of the benefits of the sous vide process.
I like to chill it down first before I take it out of the sous vide pouch. This is something I do with a lot of different types of steaks, not just filet. I'll either let it sit on the counter for about 10 to 15 minutes to cool down some. And then sometimes I'll also put it in cold tap water for another 5 to 10 minutes to really reduce the temperature of the outside of the sous vided filet mignon.
At this point, I remove the steak from the bag and dry it off really well. Now I'm ready to sear it over high heat. Usually I use either a cast iron pan or a grill turned up to high and pre-heated really well.
You can go about a minute and a half on each side to get a good crust on it without raising the temperature on the inside of the sous vide filet mignon too much.
Can you sous vide frozen filet mignon directly out of the freezer? The answer is yes, it works great.
All you have to do is take it out of the packaging that it came in. Most online retailers ship their meats frozen to maintain their quality. So if you get something from Porter Road or Snake River Farms, it will probably come frozen the majority of the time.
First, you're going to take the filet mignon out of the packaging It came in. Place it in a new sous vide vacuum bag and seal it. You never know if the packaging it came in is heat safe. Sometimes the original packaging has tiny holes in it from the shipping process. This can cause the bag to leak during sous viding.
So, it's best to just put it in your own bag to be on the safe side. An added bonus is you have a chance to season it with some salt ahead of time.
Once the filet steak is in a new bag, you can just throw it in your water bath. The "frozen state" will add about 40 to 50% cook time to the overall heating through or pasteurization time. It's not too bad.
You're talking about 45 to 60 minutes for most thicknesses of filet. Plus, you have a really quick meal that didn't take you too long, especially if you forgot to put it in the fridge a few days ahead of time to defrost and thaw out!
For more specific cook times, you can use my Sous Vide Cooking Times by Thickness charts that have a cook from frozen column included.
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Do you have experience cooking filet mignon? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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