Friday, June 10, 2011

Filet steak as inexpensive as it gets.

I like filet steak, as does my wife, problem is that it's normally very expensive stuff. The last time I looked in the supermarket, two smallish pieces of filet were €15, which is a bit too much for a dinner.
I've found a much less expensive way to get myself some nice filets, some of them need to be frozen off as it's bulk buying, but even after having been frozen filet is still delicious stuff. How to prepare a filet steak from a beef tenderloin and save yourself some money.
I get large whole filets from a local butchers trade counter in the Rosemount Industrial estate. They charge €17/kg as the whole piece.
Branagan Meats

You'll need some decent knives too, I got the knives and the steel from Branagans too, I like good knives in the kitchen, they make the job so much easier.

Wikipedia entry on beef tenderloin
If you're not really familiar with this piece of meat as a whole cut then have a look at the wiki entries and they explain a good bit about it.
Wiki on Filet Mignon

The first thing you need to do once you take the tenderloin out of the pack is to seperate the chain from the main filet.

It's a piece of fat and sinew, but with some nice muscle tissue that chops up nicely for stir-fry, that runs alongside the muscle and you can seperate it by hand, just run your hands in along it and it comes away from the meat easy enough but you can use the knife too if you wish. Don't throw this away there is a lot of nice meat in it too. Put it aside for later.
Once the chain is off you need to remove the silver skin, do this by sliding the tip of the blade in under it and grabbing behind it and sliding under the skin and filet, as illustrated.

After a bit of work you should have a nice clean filet.

I tend to cut off the muscle that sits at the side of the filet at the butt end and make two steaks from that and keep any other trim.

Once you have the piece cleaned off and all the silver skin removed you can get down to cutting steaks.
I went to the bother of getting a proper steak knife, which is the broad bladed one in the top picture, because I do this regularly, also with ribeye steaks by buying a whole ribeye roast. Keep your knives sharp and the job is a lot easier.

Once you have the filet done to your liking with the silverskin removed and the fat trimmed then cut your filet steaks to your liking. I like to use a kitchen scales and weigh each filet (200g is a nice piece of filet), then wrap them tightly in clingfilm and write the weight on the clingfilm with a marker. I then pack them in freezer bags and mark on the outside what is in them.
At this stage I also prepare all offcuts, such as the chain, and chop it into stir-fry sized pieces and then weigh and pack it away too, throw the silverskin away.
Once you wrap them well with all air excluded they will keep well in the freezer, they tend to last 2-3 months in our house as we'd only eat them at the weekend.

I'll post again on cooking the perfect steak.


  1. I like it! But I have bought fillet from Aldi, and it was delicious.
    Not having a freezer, it's still good value at €24/kg.

  2. Another good idea if you want the perfect round restaurant filet is to trim it round and then wrap in clingfilm and put it in the fridge a while, you can then cut perfect rounds of filet steak from it. It does waste a bit, but it's more of a restaurant idea anyway.
    Not disputing the value of the Aldi stuff Dara, but this beats it and you get the warm fuzzies from having done the whole caveman bit. :)

  3. Great idea. Done this a few times now, just tried it with Ribeye. Don't think the local butcher will be seeing me anytime soon.