Filet mignon is one of the most prized cuts of beef. The French name translates to “dainty fillet” and refers to the tender texture of this cut from the beef tenderloin. While filet mignon is almost always made from beef, some butchers and meat companies have experimented with offering a pork version of this premium cut.
What is Pork Filet Mignon?
Pork filet mignon is intended to be the pork equivalent of the traditional beef filet mignon. It comes from the pork tenderloin, which runs along the back of the pig. The tenderloin is very low in fat and connective tissue, making it one of the leanest and most tender cuts of pork.
To produce pork filet mignon, the pork tenderloin is trimmed of any excess fat and connective tissue. It is then cut into small, round or rectangular portions to mimic the look and thickness of beef filet mignon steaks. Pork filet mignon portions are usually 1 to 2 inches thick.
How Does it Compare to Beef Filet Mignon?
There are some distinct differences between pork and beef filet mignon:
Pork tenderloin has less marbling or intramuscular fat than beef tenderloin. This makes pork filet mignon slightly less tender and juicy than the beef version. It also means pork filet needs to be cooked carefully to prevent drying out.
Pork has a milder flavor than beef. So pork filet mignon does not have the same rich, beefy flavor of traditional filet mignon. The pork cut may be seasoned aggressively or wrapped in bacon to boost flavor.
Pork costs less than beef. So pork filet mignon is considerably more affordable than beef filet mignon. Here is a comparison of average prices:
|Cut||Average Price Per Pound|
|Beef filet mignon||$19.99|
How is Pork Filet Mignon Cooked?
Pork filet mignon should be cooked quickly using high heat. Grilling or pan searing are the best methods to get a flavorful crust on the exterior while keeping the inside juicy and tender. The pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F and allowed to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Here are some serving suggestions for pork filet mignon:
Coat thick slices of pork filet mignon with olive oil and season generously with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and fresh herbs. Grill over high heat for 4-5 minutes per side until lightly charred and cooked through.
Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat. Pat pork filet portions dry and season all over with salt and pepper. Place in the hot skillet and cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes per side. Add butter, garlic, and fresh thyme at the end to baste the meat.
Wrap pork filet mignon portions with thin slices of bacon to add flavor and moisture during cooking. Grill or pan sear as usual until the bacon is crispy.
Cut a pocket in thick portions of pork filet mignon and stuff with compounds butters, sautéed mushrooms, blue cheese crumbles or other fillings. Secure with toothpicks before searing.
Where Can You Buy Pork Filet Mignon?
Pork filet mignon may be available fresh or frozen from some local butchers and meat markets, especially those that specialize in pork. It can also be found at some national grocery store chains like Kroger and Albertsons.
Several online meat purveyors offer pork filet mignon for delivery:
- Snake River Farms
- Porter Road
- Peace & Pork
You can also easily prepare pork filet mignon at home. Start by purchasing a whole pork tenderloin, trimming it and cutting it into 1-2 inch steaks yourself.
Pros and Cons of Pork Filet Mignon
Here are some of the benefits and downsides to consider when deciding whether to purchase pork filet mignon:
- More affordable than beef filet
- Very quick cooking time
- Extremely tender and lean when not overcooked
- Takes well to bold seasoning and flavor additions
- Serves as an accessible intro to premium steak for some
- Texture not as lush and tender as real filet mignon
- Less inherently flavorful than beef
- Can easily dry out if overcooked
- Not widely available in stores or restaurants
- More expensive than regular pork tenderloin
Pork filet mignon provides a tender, quick-cooking cut of meat that echoes the flavor of the renowned beef filet mignon, but at a more budget-friendly price point. It can make for an elegant yet easy weeknight dinner. However, pork filet mignon may disappoint those expecting the supreme tenderness and rich flavor of true beef filet mignon. Overall, pork filet mignon offers an opportunity to enjoy tender, juicy pork cooked like a premium steak. But for the authentic filet mignon experience, beef remains the way to go.