Picture this: A special occasion where the aroma of smoked filet mignon wafts through the air, tantalizing everyone's senses. Today, I'm pulling out all the stops to share my favorite way to prepare this beloved cut of meat. This recipe is inspired by the many flavors from my travels around the world. So, roll up your sleeves, and let's embark on this delicious adventure together!
1 - Why You Will Love This Recipe
The smoked filet mignon is the culinary equivalent of a classic French recipe meeting a backyard barbecue. It's an upscale, tender bite with a smoky twist. And with the reverse sear method, every bite ensures that your special occasion dish is nothing short of sensational.
2 - The Best Cut of Meat For This Recipe
- Recommended Cut For This Recipe
The filet mignon is hands-down the most tender cut of beef. It's a lean cut, which makes it perfect for our smoking adventure. I'd highly recommend sourcing from Snake River Farms if you're after top-tier Wagyu beef. But if you're shopping locally, ask your butcher for the center cut of the tenderloin and ensure it has minimal connective tissue.
- Other Cuts You Can Use For This Recipe
- Prime Rib: A fattier cut, which means more flavor! Adjust the cooking time a little bit since it's a thicker cut.
- Whole Tenderloin: This is basically the big brother of filet mignon. Perfect for larger gatherings.
- Individual Steaks: Think ribeye or sirloin. They might not be as tender but, smoked and seared, they're a delight!
- Using Wagyu Beef, Grass-Fed Beef, or Dry Aged Beef
Wagyu beef is the crème de la crème, especially when aiming for the best results. Its rich marbling delivers unmatched flavor and tenderness. Grass-fed beef brings an earthy taste, and dry-aged beef? Oh, it's a game-changer, intensifying beefy flavors. If you're using Wagyu, remember it's richer, so consider smaller portions and watch that cook time—it's easy to overcook this bad boy.
3 - Tools Needed
- Meat Thermometer: This ensures your steak is cooked to perfection, gauging the internal temperature of the meat without cutting it open.
- Grill Grate: Essential for that good sear, giving you those appetizing grill marks.
- Cast Iron Skillet (optional): If you're looking to sear your steak post-smoking, a skillet gives it a beautiful crust.
4 - Seasoning
While kosher salt and black pepper are classics, here are three seasoning options to elevate your smoked filet mignon:
- Garlic Powder & Fresh Thyme: Aromatic and flavorful.
- Simple Herbed Butter: Melt over the steak once it's off the grill.
- Classic French Dry Rub: Think rosemary, garlic, and a dash of dried mustard.
5 - Cooking Methods
Using a Grill and Smoker Like The PK 360 Grill and Smoker
The PK 360 Grill and Smoker seamlessly combines the art of grilling and smoking. It lets you first smoke your meat to infuse those deep flavors and then finish it off with a delectable sear.
- Pros: This two-in-one approach means you get the depth of smoked flavor and the caramelized crust from searing.
- Cons: The only hiccup is that you need to be on your toes when it comes to managing the temperature.
- Cooking Tips: For a tantalizing smoked filet mignon, begin with indirect heat. Once you've smoked to near-perfection, crank up the heat for a drool-worthy sear.
Using a Smoker
With a standalone smoker, you're diving deep into flavor territory. It's all about letting the meat bathe in the rich, smoky aroma over a longer duration.
- Pros: The result? A taste that's unparalleled, deeply infused with smoky goodness.
- Cons: However, the flip side is that you can't directly sear after smoking. It's a smoke-only zone.
- Cooking Tips: To elevate the smoky profile, consider using apple wood or oak. These woods impart a subtle yet memorable smoky flavor to your filet mignon.
Using a Smoking Tube
A smoking tube is like a magic wand. Whether you have a gas grill, a pellet grill, or even an old-school charcoal setup, it's here to sprinkle some smoky magic.
- Pros: Its key strength lies in its adaptability. You can introduce that coveted smoky flavor to any grilling session.
- Cons: On the downside, the smoky intensity might be a notch lower than what dedicated smokers offer.
- Cooking Tips: For an optimal experience, make sure your grill is all warmed up. Also, always use quality wood chips or pellets to infuse that authentic smoky flavor.
6 - Cooking Tips: Searing Filet Mignons When Using an Electric Smoker or a Smoking Tube
Searing is a game-changer when it comes to steak. It locks in juices and gives your steak that irresistible crust we all adore. Now, if you're using an electric smoker or a smoking tube, you might wonder, "How do I get that perfect sear without a charcoal grill?" Well, I've got you covered.
Why Sear Before Smoking?When you sear your filet mignons before smoking, you're essentially locking in the steak's natural juices. This initial blast of high heat creates a caramelized crust, which not only boosts flavor but also forms a barrier. So, during the smoking process that follows, the meat retains its moisture, ensuring that your filet mignon stays tender and juicy.
How to Perfectly Sear on a Cast Iron Pan:
- Heat it Up: Place your cast iron skillet on the stove and crank up the heat to high. Let it heat up for a good 4-5 minutes. You want it smoking hot—literally. The key is to get that skillet as hot as possible for a quick and effective sear.
- Oil Up: While traditional grilling might have you oil the grates, here you'll oil the steak itself. Drizzle some high-smoke-point oil (like avocado or extra virgin olive oil) over your room temperature filet mignons. Why? Because a smoking hot skillet and cold oil can spell disaster (and a lot of smoke). Oiling the steak directly helps you control the amount and ensures even distribution.
- Sear Away: Carefully lay your filet mignons onto the skillet. You should hear a satisfying sizzle—that's the sound of flavor. Sear each side for about 1-2 minutes, depending on thickness, until you get a deep, golden-brown crust.
- Into the Smoker: Once you've achieved that perfect crust, transfer your filet mignons to your electric smoker or place them near your smoking tube. Since you've already locked in the juices with that sear, your steaks are now primed to soak up all that smoky goodness without drying out.
Remember, friends, cooking is both an art and a science. This method flips the script on the traditional smoke-then-sear approach, but it's a technique worth trying. Especially if you're after a steak that's as flavorful as it is tender. Give it a shot, and let your taste buds be the judge! Happy cooking!
7 - Storage Instructions
- In the Fridge: Store your cooked steak in a sealed container. It'll last 3-4 days.
- In the Freezer: Wrapped in aluminum foil and placed in a sealed bag, it can last up to 3 months.
- Reheating: Slowly in the oven at a low temperature until just warmed. This ensures the meat remains juicy.
8 - Side Dishes
- Grilled Asparagus: Lightly seasoned, with a dash of extra virgin olive oil.
- Roasted Baby Potatoes: Crisp outside, tender inside.
- Caesar Salad: A refreshing classic that pairs beautifully with steak.
Final Take Away
Every bite of this smoked filet mignon takes me back to my travels, experiencing flavors from around the world. It's more than just a recipe—it's a journey, one I'm thrilled to share with all of you. Whether it's your first time or you're a seasoned grill master, remember, cooking is all about the love you pour into it. Enjoy the process, savor each bite, and most importantly, share the joy with those around you. Happy grilling!
- 1 Smoker
- 1 Cast iron skillet Optional
- Oak Chunks or Pellets
- 16 oz filet mignon (2 x 8oz pieces) I recommend wagyu beef filet mignon from Snake River Farms
- 4 units sliced bacon
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt I recommend Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
- ¾ teaspoon pepper I recommend fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
Dry Brine (Optional but Recommended)
- Begin by unwrapping and rinsing the meat. Pat it dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture.
- On a cutting board, trim away any silver skin or connective tissue.
- Evenly sprinkle kosher salt on both sides of each steak.
- Place tenderloin steaks on a wire rack and allow them to sit uncovered in your refrigerator for at least 4 hours or, for best results, overnight.
Preparing Your Filet Mignon Steaks
- Pull the filet mignon steaks out of the fridge. Letting them come to room temperature is key, so allow about 30 minutes for this.
- Next, wrap each steak with two thin slices of bacon and secure them using butcher’s twine.
- Season generously with fresh ground black pepper.
The Slow-Cooking Process
- Set up your smoker or charcoal grill for indirect heat following the manufacturer's instructions, preheating it to a low temperature of 225°F. Oak chunks or pellets are great options here; add them to your grill to infuse that beautiful smoke ring and flavor.
- Once your grill grates are hot, brush them with olive oil and place your filet mignon steaks away from direct heat.
- Smoke your steaks until the internal temperature of the meat is 10-15°F below your preferred doneness. Use a meat thermometer to keep track; aiming for 125°F for medium-rare or as per your preference. The temperature should read: 135°F for medium, 140°F for medium-well, or 150°F for well-done.
- Once smoked, remove the steaks and wrap them in aluminum foil to rest while you prepare for the next stage. This step is crucial to let the juices redistribute, making every thick slice juicy and flavorful.
Achieving that Good Sear
- Now's the time to build up a charcoal briquette fire. You want a hot grill with medium-high heat. Let the coals heat up for about 10-15 minutes.
- Once you've got a hot grill, place your filet mignon steaks directly over the flame to give them a nice crust. The best way to check for doneness during this cooking process is to use a temperature probe or meat thermometer. The temperature should read: 135°F for medium-rare, 145°F for medium, 150°F for medium-well, or 160°F for well-done.
- Give each side 1-3 minutes (depending on your grill's heat) until a beautiful bark forms, brushing with more olive oil for added flavor.
- Take your beautifully smoked and seared filet mignon off the grill and serve.