If you’ve ever eaten out at a restaurant or steakhouse before, then you will have heard of a filet mignon. Filet mignon is a staple that can be found on many menus across the globe, and is often considered the most delicious and prestigious cut of meat on offer.
As you can expect, this flavorful and textured cut of beef often comes with a steeper price tag than other cuts such as sirloin or ribeye. So, why is filet mignon so expensive? What exactly is it and what makes it so special? Let’s find out.
What Is Filet Mignon?
A filet mignon is a cut of meat taken from the smallest end of the tenderloin or a cow.
As this muscle is not weight bearing, and there is not enough tough connective tissue due to exercising, the meat in this part of the cow is very lean, tender and soft, making the steak incredibly tender and succulent to eat.
Due to the delicious texture of this cut, filet mignon is extremely popular as it simply melts in the mouth when eaten. As you can imagine, a filet mignon is perfect for those who like small yet tender steaks, due to its daintier size.
However, a filet mignon is often a very thick cut of beef, making it perfect for cooking to perfection.
Filet mignon does not have all of the fat marbling that you would find on other cuts of meat such as ribeye, and so the flavor is therefore far more delicate.
As the cut is thick, it is best cooked no more than medium rare, as it could become tough if cooked further. That being said, when you purchase a filet mignon, you are assured of the quality of the meat, and it should be soft and tender.
Why Is It Called Filet Mignon?
Filet mignon is not just a filet of beef. It is a special cut of beef that is often highly sought after by diners, shoppers and customers at restaurants. So, why is it called a filet mignon?
Well, as mentioned above, the filet is taken from the smallest part of the tenderloin area of the cow, and it’s name describes the cut of meat.
In French, ‘filet mignon’ simply means a ‘cute filet’ as the term ‘mignon’ refers to its dainty and smallness, whilst the ‘filet’ refers to the fact that the cut is thick, and boneless.
What Is The Difference Between Filet And Filet Mignon?
You may be wondering how a filet mignon is different from a filet, and what makes it so special that it gets its own name and reputation. Well, a filet is simply the term used for any boneless cut of meat. For example, you can have boneless chicken filets, too.
On the other hand, a filet mignon is different altogether. Although it is a boneless cut of meat, hence the ‘filet’, you will see a stark difference in taste, texture and price when it comes to a filet mignon and other cuts of beef.
If you see a filet of beef at the store, and it’s super cheap or not labeled as a filet mignon, then you know it is just a regular cut of beef and does not have the texture or quality of a filet mignon.
In the US, a filet mignon can cost anywhere between $20 to $25 per pound on average to purchase, but can be much more expensive when bought at a restaurant.
Why Is Filet Mignon So Expensive?
There are many reasons why filet mignon is so expensive, as it is due to a range of factors and reasons. So, let’s dive into some of the different reasons why filet mignon is so expensive.
Supply And Demand
Most of the time, prices for anything can be driven up due to supply and demand issues. When it comes to filet mignon, the filet mignon section of the cow is only about 8 percent of its meat.
What this means is that you can get a whole lot of meat off of a cow, but only a very small percentage of that can be used as filet mignon.
Therefore, farmers have to have many more cows in order to generate enough filet mignon to supply the demand for this cut of meat, and butchers have to purchase a lot of cows in order to butcher them and get enough filet mignon.
Basically, to keep up with the demand for filet mignon, farmers need more cattle, which takes time, energy and money to breed, raise, feed and keep until it is ready to go to slaughter.
After all of that, very small amounts of the cow is filet mignon, so it takes a lot of time and money just to get the filet mignon in the first place.
Texture And Tenderness
Another reason for the filet mignon’s cost is the texture and tenderness of the meat. A filet mignon is very soft and tender, making it delicious to eat.
It is not chewy or hard to slice, and it melts just like butter for oh so soft results. This is why so many people enjoy the filet mignon and want to order it whenever they visit their favorite steakhouse.
One of the main reasons that filet mignon can be so costly is due to the popularity of the cut of meat. Filet mignon is one of the most popular restaurant dishes and you will find it on a range of different menus around the world.
Due to its popularity this can also affect supply and demand, which further drives the prices up.
As so many restaurants offer the filet mignon, but it is not an easy cut of meat to come by, coming from the smaller part of the tenderloin, the prices can soar due to the high demand of the filet mignon.
The filet mignon is actually one of the healthiest cuts of meat as there is very little marbling and hardly any fat going through the meat. Whilst this does reduce the flavor, it is much better for you and easier for your body to process.
As mentioned before, the filet mignon is only a very small percentage of the cow, and so many need to be bought, butchered and shipped in order to meet the demand of consumers. Therefore, butchering, shipping and labor costs can also increase the price of a filet mignon.
To summarize, the filet mignon is a special and beloved cut of beef. It is found on menus and in stores around the globe, and is one of the most popular cuts of meat available.
However, it is also one of the most expensive cuts of meat available due to its demand, health benefits, costs to produce and rarity.