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What Part of the Cow Is Filet Mignon?

What Part of the Cow Is Filet Mignon?

Are there any other words to describe filet mignon besides tender and flavorful? There is not; trust me, I checked.

Filet mignon is definitely an experience that everyone should indulge in eating.

However, if you truly want to appreciate this beautiful but of meat, you must know what part of the cow is filet mignon.

What Is Filet Mignon Steak?

Filet mignon is actually a French term. Filet translates to fillet, while mignon translates to delicate and fragile. Therefore, filet mignon alludes to the tenderness of the steak.

The name filet mignon is even more fitting because it’s the most tender cut of beef on the steer. Nevertheless, in France, filet mignon may also be referred to as filet de bœuf. I

n English, this phrase means beef fillet. Interestingly enough, fillet mignon usually refers to pork in France instead of beef. 

Filet is a tender lean cut of steak that is carved from the lower portion of the tenderloin. The tenderloin is close to the animal’s spine.

What’s the Difference Between Beef Tenderloin and Filet Mignon?

In short, the filet mignon refers to a small portion of the tenderloin, while the tenderloin refers to the entire psoas major muscle.

The filet mignon is the bottom portion of the tenderloin. The remaining upper portion of the tenderloin is used to fabricate tenderloin steaks.

Plated Filet Mignon

What Part of the Cow Is Filet Mignon?

As I mentioned above, filet mignon is a small portion of the psoas muscle. This is the same muscle that houses the tenderloin.

The tenderloin runs laterally to the spine. When the butcher removes the tenderloin, they carve out two long snake-like cuts.

Tenderloin can be sold whole. However, it is usually untrimmed and encased in a layer of silver skin.

Tenderloin is usually sliced into steaks. The steaks cut at the bottom of the tenderloin are considered filet mignon.

Steaks cut from the center of the tenderloin are called tournedos. In contrast, some butchers in the US do label every cut of tenderloin steak as filet mignon.

Filet mignon’s natural shape can be an obstacle to the cooking process. 

Therefore, most restaurants feature steaks that are cut from the broader side of the tenderloin. 

Steaks cut from the broader side of the tenderloin are also more cost-effective and much more appealing.

Does Filet Mignon Come From Males or Females Cows?

Young female cows are called heifers. In contrast, steers are young, sterilized males.

If you are wondering why male cows are neutered because it triggers physiological changes in steers.

This, in turn, inhibits the steer from producing more male hormones and restricts aggression which makes it easier for farmworkers to deal with the animals. 

In addition to this, it causes the cows to gain more weight than heifers which allows them to generate more beef per pound of feed. 

Female cows are only killed if they are not being used for breeding.

Therefore, heifers represent about 30% of all beef production, while 20% of all beef production comes from mature cows.

Therefore, steers represent the largest portion of beef production. Beef produced from heifers is much smaller than meat carved from steers.

Therefore, beef sourced from heifers is graded lower and relatively cheaper.

Therefore, filet mignon sourced from your local grocery stores, organic farms, or online meat vendors are more likely to come from male cows.  

How Many Filet Mignons Are in Each Cow?

It’s only natural to wonder how many filet mignons there are in a cow since we are talking about what part of the cow is filet mignon.

As I mentioned above, the muscle the filet mignon is does not come from a weight-bearing muscle.

The tenderloin contains little to no connective tissue, so it is extremely tender.

Unfortunately, there are only two tenderloins on each steer or heifer. The whole tenderloin weighs about 3-4 pounds.

However, only 500 pounds of this muscle is considered the tenderloin.

Ultimately, each cow contains two filet mignon that weighs a little more than a pound.

Why Is Filet Mignon So Expensive?

Filet mignon is considered the creme de la creme in the steak world. It is the elite steak. Filet mignon can run for about $20-$30 per pound.

Considering the fact that a little over 2 pounds of filet mignon will come from each steer, fillet mignon is a rare cut of beef.  

In addition to this, to make the filet mignon, the butcher has to remove the animal’s tenderloin and the silver skin and fat.

Next, the butcher removes the medallion that runs adjacent to the tenderloin.

Finally, the butcher separates the filet mignon from the tenderloin and fabricates it into filet mignon steaks.

Tender cuts of steak, like filet mignon, account for 8% of all the meat on the animal.

Therefore 92% of the animal consists of relatively inexpensive cuts. Given all of these factors, filet mignon is very expensive.

Some steak enthusiasts, culinary professionals, and home chefs make fun of fillet mignon because it doesn’t have as much flavor as other cuts such as ribeye or porterhouse steaks.

However, the truth is marbling isn’t everything when it comes to steaks. You can dress up filet mignon to make it taste better.

For example, you could baste it with garlic, rosemary, and butter while it’s cooking to infuse more flavor into the steak.

However, you can also wrap strips of bacon before you cook them and secure the bacon with a toothpick to give the filet mignon more flavor.

The ways to dress up filet mignon are endless, so don’t allow others’ opinions to discourage you from trying this cut of beef.

Final Thoughts

All in all, fillet mignon is an excellent tender and delicious cut of beef. Although filet mignon is expensive, I recommend trying this steak at least once in your life if you can afford it.

Plus, you will have a greater appreciation for filet mignon now that you know exactly where it comes from.

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