Learn how to cook filet mignon on a grill. Grill your fillet to perfection with this simple technique in about 10 minutes. You can have the best steaks at your special dinner tonight.
Make your home BBQ party special with grilled filet mignon. The best way is the easiest with these step-by-step photo instructions.
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I consider filet the king of all meats. If I want something extraordinary, this is it.
An absolute 5. The filet is always a five, but this is a great 5. As good as it gets.
Since this is a “how-to” post, we will start with how to buy the meat. For those not in the know, a filet mignon is cut from whole beef tenderloin AKA a pismos. It is frequently referred to as tenderloin steaks or filets.
You can buy pre-cut, and it will be a bit more expensive, but I usually buy the whole tenderloin and cut my own. I like about 1 ¼ to 1 ½ inches thick. It does freeze great for 2-3 months.
QUALITY DOES MATTER. It is all about quality here. Prime is the top 2%; it is harder to find but worth the extra cost for special meals.
Next is USDA Choice. About half the beef sold in the USA is choice, which you will usually buy.
USDA Select is next but just say no. And if no grade is given, assume the worse.
Filets should be cooked on a medium grill with a surface temperature of 450° up to but not over 500° with direct heat.
You need to know your grill. My gas grill (which is very hot) is just above 50% burner power. On more normal gas grills, it should be about 75% but get a $10 grill surface thermometer and get to know your grill. I always use a surface thermometer.
See A Beginners Guide to Grill Temperature on a Gas Grill for more details on grill surface temperature.
Charcoal Grill Instructions
You need to be very careful about surface temperature otherwise, times and temperature recommendations are unchanged. On most charcoal grills, you will need to adjust the venting.
⏰How Long to Grill
Generally, about 10 minutes to get medium-rare. But, your endpoint is the internal temperature you want minus a few degrees. DO NOT COOK BY TIME ALONE.
There are several variables. The exact grill temperature, the meat temperature when placed on the grill, and the meat’s thickness. So cooking by time CAN NOT WORK, and you must use a thermometer.
Once removed from heat, the internal temperature will still rise 2°-4° more. Thinner fillets will be at the low end of that range. Take that into account, please.
WARNING FOR RARE. It is hard to hit exactly what you want, so watch carefully and remove it a bit early. You can always cook it a bit more later.
Just a good shake of salt and pepper is enough. We like to use my All Purpose Seasoning – 7:2:1 and 7:2:2. This is a bit salty for some people.
Do not overdo the seasoning. You can always add more later, but it is impossible to remove.
The timing of the seasoning is important. Do not put salt on the meat for more than a few minutes before cooking unless you do 60 minutes or more. Between those times, it will pull water out of the meat and not allow enough time to reabsorb back into the meat.
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Start with quality filets. I like a 1 ¼ to 1 ½ inch thick that will be 6-8 ozs. each.
One of the most important steps is resting the filets at room temperature for 30 or so minutes. This raises the temperature of the meat, making getting your desired internal temperature much easier.
While it is resting, get your grill temperature of about 450°. Just over medium for me but more medium-high on lesser grills. Of course, clean and oil the grill.
Give the filets seasoning of your choice. Do it just before grilling. I use a nice sprinkling of my 7:2:2 seasoning, but just a nice sprinkle of coarse salt and pepper will do.
Place the filets on the grill. Close the lid—grill on the first side for about 5 minutes (less for rare). Rotate half the way through for these nice crossed grill marks. Flip and grill until you reach the correct internal temperature for your taste. For me, I do another 7-8 minutes (with the rotation) and get 140°-145° internal temperature.
Remove and rest for 5 minutes minimum. A light foil tent is a good idea here. The internal temperature will rise a few degrees.
Editor’s Note: Originally Published June 1, 2014. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.