Grilling the Perfect Filet: A Guide to Impressing Your Barbecue Guests

Video how to grill a filet

Photo by Kurman Communications, Inc. licensed by CC BY 2.0

When it comes to cooking filet mignon, most people automatically think of sautéing it in a cast-iron skillet or wrapping it in bacon and baking it in the oven. These methods certainly produce delicious results, but there’s another way to cook this cut that you might be forgetting. If you’re a fan of the flavor you get from grilling, then skillet-seared filets won’t cut it. Grilled filet mignon can be just as perfect if you know how to do it correctly.

Filet mignon is known for its tenderness, thanks to its minimal amount of connective tissue. However, cooking it incorrectly or at the wrong temperature can quickly ruin that tenderness. The trick is to know how to grill filet mignon using the right settings and time to preserve the incredible texture and flavor that filet lovers crave. In this article, we’ll teach you all about how to grill filet mignon to impress everyone at your next barbecue.

What Grill Works Better for Filet Mignon: Gas or Charcoal?

The answer to this question depends on your flavor preference; both types of grills can get the job done. A charcoal grill will give you that smoky, southern BBQ flavor that some people prefer. On the other hand, a gas grill can provide a flavor closer to the smokiness of bacon. In fact, bacon does wonders for filet mignon by enhancing its flavor. So, gas grills might have a slight advantage when it comes to grilling filet mignon. But don’t worry if you don’t have a specific grill for filets; any grill will do just fine if you know how to control temperature and monitor cook times.

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Either way, before firing up your grill, be sure to check out these tips on the most common grilling mistakes to avoid!

What Grill Temp Should I Use?

Filets should be cooked on the grill over medium-high heat. Aim to reach a temperature of around 450-degrees on a gas grill, or set your filets on a grill rack directly over medium coals on a charcoal grill. This high heat will give your filets a beautiful sear, leaving the outside somewhat crisp and the inside soft and tender.

To continue cooking the inside, you’ll need to use indirect heat. Move your filets to an area of the grill away from the flames, allowing the smoke to penetrate the beef. Indirect heat ensures that your meat keeps cooking on the inside without scorching the outside.

Filet Mignon Cook Time on the Grill

Grilling filet mignon usually takes no more than 15 minutes, even for super thick cuts. For cuts that are closer to an inch or 1 ½ inches thick, grill each side for about 4 to 5 minutes. Thicker cuts of two inches or more will require a grill time of about 6 minutes on each side. Refer to the cooking chart below for your preferred level of doneness.

Grill Temperatures

The Best Process for Grilling Filet Mignon

To get the perfect grill marks on your filets, allow them to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before grilling. Preheat your grill to a high temperature, around 450-degrees, before placing the filets on the grates. This ensures a good sear and prevents overcooking. Preheating on a gas grill may take about 15 to 20 minutes, while your charcoal grill will be ready when the coals ash over.

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Lightly oil your grill racks with olive oil to prevent sticking right before placing the filets on the grill. Season your filets with salt, pepper, or our recommended Chicago Steak Seasoning for an extra flavor boost.

Put your filets on the grill over the hottest part and close the lid. Cook them for the recommended time according to their thickness. When the time is up, flip and turn the filets, and close the lid again to cook for the recommended time to your desired doneness.

For a medium-rare cook, remove the filets from the grill when the center reaches about 125 degrees. For a rare steak, remove them at 115 degrees, and for a medium cook, wait until they reach 135 degrees. Allow your filets to rest for 5 to 10 minutes under a foil tent off the grill, allowing the juices to flow back through the meat for a perfect texture.

More Grilled Filet Mignon Tips

Now that you know the best way to grill filet mignon, here are a few more pointers to help you achieve the perfect cook every time:

  • Try to use filets that are at least two inches thick for better results on the grill.
  • Lightly oil your grill racks with olive oil before preheating to prevent sticking. Remember to keep your grill clean by scrubbing its racks with a wire brush while it’s still warm.
  • Use an instant-read thermometer to monitor the internal temperature. For a medium-rare cook, stop cooking when the temperature reaches about 125 degrees.
  • Let your filets rest for 5 to 10 minutes under a foil tent off the grill to make them more tender.
  • If you plan to use a sauce or butter on your filets, apply it as they rest.
  • For added flavor, consider making bacon-wrapped filets or marinating them with dry red wine. Both methods are perfect for grilling filet mignon as well as baking it in the oven.
  • If you’re concerned about overcooking, try the reverse sear method. Cook your steaks on low heat until they reach about 90 to 100 degrees, then crank up the heat to high to sear the outside until a brown, crisp crust forms. Check the internal temperature to ensure the inside is cooked properly.
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Conclusion: Filet Mignon on the Grill

As you can see, grilling a filet is not complicated with a little practice. The trickiest part is determining how long to cook filet mignon on the grill to achieve your desired doneness. We hope this article has guided you in the right direction, but it may take some trial and error, especially if you’re not familiar with your grill. We recommend testing it out with more affordable cuts of steak first to get acquainted with its settings and usual cook times.

For more helpful cooking tips and delicious recipes, visit Family Cuisine and explore our Steak University recipe section!

Grilling Filet Mignon FAQs

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