What is the difference between beef tenderloin and filet mignon? The humble beef tenderloin is often confused with its more popular cousin, the filet mignon. The first thing to know about these two cuts of beef is that they are both from the same animal—the cow, and they both are prized as the best types of beef roasts by meat lovers and gourmet cooks throughout the world. However, there are a few key differences between them.
We’ve created this post to compare beef tenderloin vs filet mignon and explain their differences. After all, both these cuts are very expensive, and you have every right to know exactly what you’re paying for!
What Is Tenderloin?
The beef tenderloin is a cow’s muscle called the psoas major, that runs along the back of the spine, just behind the kidney, from about the hip bone to the 13th rib. This muscle doesn’t get much exercise, that’s why the cut is so tender. The tenderloin is a long piece of beef, so chefs use it to make a full roast or cut other steaks from it.
What Makes Tenderloin Steak Special?
As we mentioned above, a tenderloin is considered one of the most tender cuts of beef, it’s not chewy at all and has a perfect beefy burst of flavor. More than that, tenderloin is a very versatile cut of steak, it can be prepared in several ways, picking up great flavor from various seasonings and cooking styles.
Trimmed Vs Untrimmed Tenderloin
An untrimmed loin includes bones, fat, and other parts that come with the cut. And if you want to get a lot of steak cuts, you should pick an untrimmed tenderloin.
A trimmed tenderloin looks cleaner and more appealing, it may be the right choice for you if you want to cook a roast or cut filets from the loin.
The trimmed version takes much time for a butcher to cut it precisely; that’s why it’s usually more expensive than an untrimmed cut.
Tenderloin Consumer Values
Let’s sum up why people like beef tenderloin so much:
- It’s a lean and tender cut.
- Tenderloin has less fat, making it great for grilling – it doesn’t cause flare-ups, hence reduces meat burning.
- It’s versatile – you can roast the cut whole or slice and pan fry it.
- Tenderloin isn’t as flavorful as other beef cuts, e.g., ribeye; however, comparing beef tenderloin vs filet mignon, the former features a way richer flavor.
- Tenderloin goes great with various dressings and sauces.
- It’s one of the most expensive and frequently ordered steaks in high-end restaurants.
What Is Filet Mignon?
The filet mignon is a conical end part of the tenderloin. So, is beef tenderloin the same as filet mignon? No, it’s not the same! Tenderloin is the whole piece of the meat while filet mignon is a tapered end of the tenderloin. Comparing filet mignon vs beef tenderloin, the former is much leaner, more tender, yet less flavorful.
What Makes Filet Mignon Special?
Filet mignon is considered one of the most prized cuts of steak. It has a unique texture – light and airy that requires almost no chewing. However, not everyone loves fillet mignon – for some people, this cut is just tasteless since it doesn’t have that beefy flavor. That’s why it’s common to wrap the fillet in bacon and cook them together to add a savory element to the meat. Filet mignon is also served with herb butter, gravy, or au jus which help bring out its flavor.
Difference Between Grass-fed And Grain-fed Filets
The most common feeds that farmers use to raise their cows are grass feed and grain feed. Grass feed is very similar to what cattle eat naturally if they are on their own. However, this type of feed makes less fat content in cows, which results in less marbling.
Grain feed makes animals meatier and flavors richer, which is great for steaks, especially filet mignon.
Filet Mignon Consumer Values
So, why is beef tenderloin filet mignon so special?
- Filet mignon is considered a healthy choice for people as it is lean meat.
- It’s incredibly tender.
- This cut is quick and easy to cook.
- Filet mignon goes well with various dressings and sauces.
- It’s considered the king of steaks and is pretty expensive.
Tenderloin Vs Filet Mignon Comparison
Cut Of Beef & Nutrition Value
The main difference between beef tenderloin and filet mignon lies in their types of cuts and nutrition value. Beef tenderloin is the whole muscle cut of the meat, and filet mignon is the end portion of the tenderloin.
Filet mignon is rich in niacin, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, and iron. It has about 227 calories and 22 grams of protein for a 3-ounce serving.
Beef tenderloin is a great source of protein, iron, and Vitamin B6. However, it’s high in saturated fats. A 3-ounce serving has 179 calories, and about 26 grams of protein, making it perfect for people looking to lose weight and build muscles.
There is not a big difference between filet mignon and beef tenderloin when it comes to cooking them.
Tenderloin is a versatile cut – you can grill, roast, sear, pan fry it. Actually, it can be used in virtually endless recipes. One of the most famous dishes with tenderloin is Chateaubriand – a thick center cut of tenderloin, broiled and served with a sauce and potatoes.
Filet mignon is less versatile but still can be cooked in multiple ways: grilling, broiling, or pan-frying. It is also very popularly cooked into an entree called Tenderloin en Barbouille that features bacon wrapped around it.
Beef Wellington is another high-end dish where chefs usually use filet mignon. However, sliced tenderloin work wonders for it as well.
Tenderloin goes well with various spices, sauces, and sides. You can cook and serve the full roast or make cuts before cooking – it’s all up to you.
Filet mignon should be paired with other ingredients that boost its flavor. You can serve it with a slice of butter, chopped pieces of crispy bacon, garlic herb butter, etc.
|Things to compare
|Type of cut
|A whole muscle cut
|Is part of a beef tenderloin
|Meatier, comes with marbling
|Flavor and taste
|less flavorful needs some taste boosters, e.g., dressing, sauce, etc.
|the most expensive cut
Alternatives To The Whole Tenderloin And Filet Mignon
Tenderloin and filet mignon are costly, and naturally, most people can’t buy them as often as they want to. So it’s good to know some alternatives to these amazing beef roasts.
- T-bone or porterhouse steak: These cuts actually include the tenderloin, but they are not trimmed off, hence they are less expensive.
- Ribeye: It’s a tender steak with beautiful marbling and rich flavor. A ribeye can’t compete with filet mignon in terms of tenderness, but it’s still one of the most delicious cuts.
Filet mignon vs tenderloin – which one is better? It’s all up to your taste! If you love a very tender and less caloric meat, then fillet mignon would be a great choice! However, if you want a more caloric, high in protein, and cheaper cut, then Beef Tenderloin is surely for you!
So how about it? Which option do you like the most – tenderloin vs filet mignon?