Saturday, May 11, 2013

Dude Food: Filet Mignon is the Lucy Lui of meats

Filet Mignon is the Lucy Lui of meats.

It is pretty and tender but it is tasteless and without careful preparation it sits on the plate looking pretty and bringing nothing to the meal.

If you don't believe me watch an episode of Elementary and then eat one.

My e mail has been filled with questions this week on making 'The perfect Steak'. I guess grilling season trumps Mother's Day and all you men are taking her out to a restaurant tomorrow and not cooking.. Don't forget it whatever you do.

My favorite cuts: skirt steak

 Onglet (aka hangar steak)

and Ribeye.

Fat is flavor, fat is flavor, fat is flavor.

Go to a good butcher and don't settle for grocery store meats. The best will be grass fed/finished as the taste will be much more intense.

Buy your steak 2 or 3 days before you plan to grill.

When you get it home unwrap it. Season all over lightly with kosher salt and put uncovered in the refrigerator turning over once a day.

Osmosis: The salt will move into the meat and some of the moisture will move out (don't worry, not too much) leaving you with a tender, perfectly seasoned steak. It will look a bit dry and dark on the outside.  Do not trim it.

Now get your grill or pan smoking hot, even for rare meat (my preference) you want a serious char.

Place meat on the grill and leave it alone. Don't lift, or touch or move for at least 3 minutes. Now lift gently and see if you have that char, if you do and you want it rare or medium rare, turn it over.

Then cook to desired temp.

An electric thermometer is a fool proof way to determine temp.

Another way is to touch the meat with your finger.

Soft meat is rare.

Slightly firmer is MR.

Soft firm, Medium.

When your meat gets stiff it is well done. (stop laughing)

I find well done to be the enemy of good meat. I am a big steak tartar fan myself.

Remove from grill and let rest for a few minutes before slicing.

Steak sauce and ketchup are flavor maskers and to me, ruin meat.

However a slice of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil will give you the tang of the sauce without the flavor masking.

The simplest way to complete the meal is to serve the meat on a huge bed of greens surrounded by halved tomatoes. I like to slice it first, but whole is fine.  You don't really need that baked potato.

And if you are thinking of this for Mother's day, unless your wife or mother is a big meat person, sub out salmon and save the steak for next week. 


  1. Yes, I do need the baked potato! Yum. But, I'll cook my own steak. Don't like char, would never salt first, and I like to deglaze the skillet with wine and herbs. Tiki'd probably like the lemon idea though. You'd get it the right medium-rare for me and almost mooing for her (without a thermometer I bet).

  2. What kills me is that both with this and the chicken you need to plan a couple of days ahead to age the meat with salt.

    Did do the chicken last night. So good I will make sure to get meat on Thursday for Saturday. Reminder programed into iphone.

  3. At Harris last night, driving through California, had petit filet first in a long time.

    You are right, the burgers have more flavor. Tender and beautiful but boring...totally get the Lucy Lui references, like pretty paint drying.

  4. Took me a long time to try this but did it over the weekend. DAMN dude, that is one great cut of meat.

  5. Sorry...the hanger was one great cut....I didn't do the rib or skirt.