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The Filet Mignon Steak Cut Has Appeared On US Restaurant Menus Since 1898

National Filet Mignon Day on August 13th celebrates a specialty cut of beef. Usually, from a steer or heifer, a filet mignon is a steak taken from the smaller end of the tenderloin of the beef carcass.

  • Filet mignon is French for “cute fillet” or “dainty fillet.”
  • In French, filet mignon may be called filet de boeuf, which translates to beef fillet in English.
  • When found on a French menu, filet mignon may also refer to pork rather than beef.
  • Due to the low levels of fat found in the fillets, bacon is often used in cooking. The bacon is wrapped around the fillet and pinned closed with a wooden toothpick. The bacon adds flavor, and this process keeps the fillet from drying out during the cooking process.
  • Famous author O. Henry coined the term filet mignon in his book, “The Four Million” in 1906.
  • The same cut of beef can also be called:
    • French: tournedos, filet de bœuf. (In France, though beef “filet mignon” exists, the term doesn’t usually refer to beef, but instead to a tender and expensive cut of pork.)
    • English (US): medallions, tenderloin steak
    • English (UK & Ireland): fillet steak
    • Argentina: Bife de Lomo
    • Brazil: Filé Mignon
    • Puerto Rico : Filete Miñón
    • Dutch: Ossehaas, Haasbiefstu
  • It comes from a muscle that does virtually nothing: the tenderloin.
  • The average steer or heifer produces no more than 1.2lbs.
  • In the US, the central and large end of the tenderloin are often sold as filet mignon in supermarkets and restaurants. The French terms for these cuts are tournedos (the smaller central portion), châteaubriand (the larger central portion) and biftek (cut from the large end known as the tête de filet in French)
  • Porterhouse steaks are large cuts which include the filet. The small medallion on one side of the bone is the fillet, and the long strip of meat on the other side of the bone is the strip steak.
  • The filet mignon steak cut has appeared on US restaurant menus since 1898
  • Filet mignon is considered the king of steaks because of its tender, melt in the mouth texture. A prime filet mignon can literally be cut with a fork.
  • This is one of the lowest fat cuts of beef, high in some nutrients and relatively low in calories and fat. A three ounce serving has 185 calories, 9 grams of fat.


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