Discover the art of grilling filet mignon on charcoal to achieve mouthwatering, tender steaks with a smoky flavor that will leave your taste buds craving more.
There’s nothing quite like the sizzle of a perfectly grilled filet mignon on a warm summer evening. But if you’re new to grilling, or just looking to up your game, cooking this classic cut of beef can seem daunting.
Fear not, my fellow grill enthusiasts! With the right tools and technique, you too can master the art of grilling filet mignon on charcoal. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to achieve juicy, tender steaks with that irresistible smoky flavor.
So grab your tongs and fire up the grill – it’s time to get cooking!
Choosing the Perfect Filet Mignon
When it comes to grilling filet mignon on charcoal, choosing the right cut of meat is crucial. Look for steaks that are evenly shaped and about 1-2 inches thick.
The ideal thickness ensures that the steak cooks evenly without drying out or becoming tough.
Another important factor to consider when selecting your filet mignon is its marbling – those thin white streaks of fat running through the meat. Marbling adds flavor and juiciness to your steak, so look for cuts with a good amount of visible marbling throughout.
Lastly, consider purchasing USDA Prime or Choice grade beef if possible as they have been graded based on their quality and tenderness by professional inspectors from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). While these grades may be more expensive than lower grades such as Select or Standard, they will provide you with a superior eating experience.
Preparing the Filet Mignon
Start by removing the steak from the refrigerator and allowing it to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking. This will help ensure even cooking throughout.
Next, pat your filet dry with a paper towel and trim any excess fat or silver skin from around the edges of the steak. While some chefs prefer leaving a thin layer of fat on their steaks for added flavor, too much can cause flare-ups on your grill.
Season your filet generously with salt and pepper or any other preferred seasoning blend such as garlic powder or rosemary. Be sure to coat both sides evenly so that every bite is bursting with flavor.
Choosing the Right Charcoal
There are two main types of charcoal: briquettes and lump. Briquettes are made from compressed sawdust and other materials, while lump charcoal is made from natural hardwood.
Briquettes tend to burn longer and more consistently than lump charcoal, making them a good choice for low-and-slow cooking methods like smoking or indirect grilling. However, they can also produce more ash than lump coal.
Lump coal burns hotter and faster than briquettes but can be less consistent in size which may affect your grill temperature control if you’re not used to it yet. It’s perfect for high-heat searing or direct grilling when you want that smoky flavor without sacrificing heat intensity.
Ultimately, the choice between briquettes vs.
Preparing the Charcoal Grill
Preparing the grill is an essential step in achieving that smoky flavor and tender texture that makes grilled filet mignon so irresistible.
First, make sure your grill is clean. Remove any leftover ash or debris from previous grilling sessions using a wire brush or scraper tool.
This will ensure even heat distribution during cooking.
Next, arrange your charcoal briquettes in a pyramid shape at the bottom of the grill. Leave some space between each briquette to allow air flow for proper combustion.
Lighting the charcoal can be done with either lighter fluid or chimney starter method depending on personal preference but always follow safety guidelines when handling flammable materials. Once lit, let them burn until they are covered with white ash before spreading them out evenly across the bottom of your grill using tongs (never use hands).
Place an oiled grate over top of hot coals and preheat it by closing lid for 10-15 minutes before placing seasoned steaks onto its surface.
Lighting the Charcoal
The first step is to choose the right type of charcoal for grilling. There are two main types of charcoal: briquettes and lump wood.
Briquettes are made from compressed sawdust and other materials, while lump wood is made from natural hardwood.
Once you’ve chosen your preferred type of charcoal, it’s time to start lighting them up. One popular method is using a chimney starter – a metal cylinder with holes at both ends that allows air flow through the coals.
To use a chimney starter, fill it with enough coals for your grill size (usually about half full), then place crumpled newspaper or fire starters in the bottom chamber and light them up using matches or lighter fluid if necessary.
After about 20 minutes or so, when most of the coals have turned grayish-white on top (indicating they’re hot enough), carefully pour them onto one side of your grill grate using heat-resistant gloves or tongs.
Alternatively, you can also use an electric starter wand which heats up quickly without any need for lighter fluid but requires an electrical outlet nearby. Whichever method you choose make sure not to add food until all flames die down completely as this will ensure even cooking temperature throughout grilling process.
Preheating the Grill
This will ensure that your filet mignon cooks evenly and develops a delicious crust on the outside while remaining tender and juicy on the inside.
To preheat your charcoal grill, simply light the charcoal using a chimney starter or lighter fluid. Once lit, let it burn for about 15-20 minutes until all of the coals are glowing red with ash covering them.
Next, spread out an even layer of hot coals across one side of the grill to create two cooking zones: direct heat (over hot coals) and indirect heat (off to one side). This will allow you to sear your filet mignon over high heat before moving it over to cook indirectly at lower temperatures.
Once you’ve created these two zones, close down any vents in order for temperature control purposes. Letting air flow through can cause flare-ups which may lead into burning up meat instead of cooking them properly.
Determining Grill Temperature
This will ensure that your steaks cook evenly and reach the desired level of doneness. The ideal temperature for cooking filet mignon on a charcoal grill is between 400-450°F (204-232°C).
To check the temperature, hold your hand about 6 inches above the grate and count how many seconds you can keep it there before pulling away due to heat discomfort.
If you can hold out for only two seconds or less, then this indicates high heat which is around 500°F (260°C) – perfect for searing meat quickly. If you can hold out four seconds or more without feeling any discomfort from heat, then this indicates low heat which is around 250°F (121°C) – great if you want to slow-cook larger cuts of meat like brisket.
Once determined, adjust air vents accordingly until reaching desired temperatures before placing steak on grill grates.
Seasoning the Filet Mignon
Seasoning your steak is an essential step in achieving a delicious end result. Keep things simple with just salt and pepper or get creative with a blend of herbs and spices.
To season your filet mignon, start by patting the steaks dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. This will help ensure that the seasoning sticks to the meat instead of sliding off.
Next, generously sprinkle both sides of each steak with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Be sure to season from about 6 inches above so that you get even coverage without clumping.
If desired, you can also add additional flavors such as garlic powder or dried herbs like thyme or rosemary at this point. Just be careful not to overdo it – remember that filet mignon has a delicate flavor that can easily be overwhelmed by too much seasoning.
Oil the Grill Grates
This step is crucial in ensuring that your steak retains its juices and doesn’t fall apart when you try to flip it over.
To oil your grill grates, use a pair of tongs and a folded paper towel dipped in vegetable or canola oil. Hold onto one end of the paper towel with your tongs and carefully rub it along the surface of each grate until they are well-coated with a thin layer of oil.
Be sure not to use too much oil as this can cause flare-ups which will burn your steak instead of cooking it evenly. Once you’ve oiled all sides, let them heat up for another 5-10 minutes before placing any food on them.
Grilling the Filet Mignon
Place the steaks on the hot grill grates at a 45-degree angle to create those beautiful crosshatch marks. Let them cook for about 3-4 minutes before rotating them 90 degrees to create diamond-shaped sear marks.
After another few minutes, flip the steaks over and repeat this process on the other side until they reach your desired level of doneness. Use a meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of steak without touching bone or fat for accurate temperature reading.
For rare steak: remove from heat when internal temperature reaches between 120°F -130°F (49°C –54°C). For medium-rare steak: remove from heat when internal temperature reaches between135°F–145°F(57°C–63°C).
For medium-well done steak: remove from heat when internal temperature reaches between150° F –160° F (66 °C –71 °C).
Remember that cooking times will vary depending on factors such as thickness of cut, altitude and outdoor temperatures so use an instant-read thermometer if you’re unsure whether your filet mignon is cooked through. Once you’ve achieved perfection with your grilled filet mignon, let it rest for five minutes before serving with sides like roasted vegetables or garlic mashed potatoes.
Time and Temperature Guide
How long should you cook your filet mignon on charcoal? And at what temperature? These are important questions that can make or break the success of your grilling experience.
A general rule of thumb is to grill a 1-inch thick filet mignon for about 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare doneness. However, this can vary depending on the thickness of the steak and personal preference.
To ensure accuracy in timing and temperature, invest in a meat thermometer. Insert it into the thickest part of the steak before grilling begins so that you can monitor its internal temperature throughout cooking process.
For rare steaks (120°F), remove from heat at an internal temp between 115°F -120°F. For medium-rare steaks (130°F), remove from heat at an internal temp between125° F –130° F.
For medium steaks (140°F), remove from heat when they reach an internal temp between135 °F–140 °F And for well-done steaks(160+°F) ,remove them when they reach an Internal Temperature above150+ °F.
Remember: Always let your grilled filet mignon rest for five minutes after removing it from direct heat before serving.
Sear and Rotate Method
This technique involves searing each side of the steak over high heat to create a flavorful crust, then rotating it to cook evenly on all sides. To achieve this, start by preheating your grill to high heat and oiling the grates with a neutral oil like canola or vegetable oil.
Once your grill is hot, place your seasoned filet mignon directly onto the grates at a 45-degree angle from one corner. Sear for about two minutes before using tongs to rotate it 90 degrees clockwise (or counterclockwise) without flipping it over.
This will create those beautiful crosshatch marks that are not only visually appealing but also add extra flavor.
After another two minutes have passed, flip your steak over and repeat this process until you’ve achieved an internal temperature of around 130°F for medium-rare doneness (adjust cooking time based on desired level of doneness). Remember that every grill is different so keep an eye out while cooking as some steaks may require more or less time depending on their thickness.
Monitoring Internal Temperature
This ensures that your steaks are cooked to perfection and not overdone or undercooked. The best way to do this is by using a meat thermometer, which will give you an accurate reading of the internal temperature.
Inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of your steak will allow you to monitor its progress as it cooks. For medium-rare doneness, aim for an internal temperature between 130-135°F (54-57°C).
For medium doneness, aim for 140-145°F (60-63°C), and for well-done steaks, aim for temperatures above 160°F (71°C).
Remember that cooking times may vary depending on factors such as grill heat intensity and thickness of your steak. It’s always better to rely on actual temperatures rather than time estimates when cooking filet mignon.
Using a Meat Thermometer
Overcooking can result in tough, dry steaks, while undercooking can lead to foodborne illness. The best way to ensure that your filet mignon is cooked perfectly every time is by using a meat thermometer.
To use a meat thermometer, insert it into the thickest part of the steak without touching any bone or fat. Be sure not to push it all the way through as this will give you an inaccurate reading.
Wait for about 10 seconds until you get an accurate temperature reading.
For medium-rare doneness (which many people prefer), aim for an internal temperature of 135°F (57°C). For medium doneness, aim for 145°F (63°C) and well-done should be around 160°F(71°C).
Resting the Filet Mignon
Resting allows the juices in the meat to redistribute and settle, resulting in a more tender and flavorful steak. To rest your filet mignon, simply remove it from the grill with tongs or a spatula and place it on a cutting board or platter.
Tent loosely with foil for about 5-10 minutes before slicing into the meat.
During this time, resist the urge to cut into your steak right away – doing so will cause all those delicious juices you worked so hard for during grilling to spill out onto your plate instead of staying inside where they belong! Instead, use this time wisely by preparing any sides or sauces you plan on serving alongside your perfectly grilled filet mignon.
Remember that resting times may vary depending on how thickly cut each piece of meat is; thicker cuts require longer resting times than thinner ones. A good rule of thumb is one minute per every quarter inch thickness of steak.
Tips for Perfect Grilling
Here are some expert grilling tips to help you get started:
1. Don’t over-season: Filet mignon is a delicate cut of meat that doesn’t need much seasoning.
A simple sprinkle of salt and pepper will do.
2. Oil the grill grates: Before placing your steaks on the grill, make sure to oil the grates well using a paper towel or brush dipped in vegetable oil.
3. Use high heat: To achieve those beautiful sear marks and lock in flavor, it’s important to use high heat when cooking filet mignon on charcoal.
4. Keep an eye on internal temperature: The key to perfectly cooked filet mignon is monitoring its internal temperature with a meat thermometer throughout cooking process until it reaches 135°F (57°C) for medium-rare doneness.
5.Rest before serving : Once your steak has reached desired doneness remove from grill , let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing into them so they retain their juices.
Expert Grilling Tips
Here are a few insider secrets from seasoned grill masters that will help you achieve perfect filet mignon every time.
1. Don’t over-season: Filet mignon is a delicate cut of meat and can be easily overwhelmed by too much seasoning.
Keep it simple with just salt, pepper, and maybe a touch of garlic powder.
2. Let the steak rest: After removing your filet mignon from the grill, let it rest for at least five minutes before cutting into it.
This allows juices to redistribute throughout the meat for maximum flavor and tenderness.
3. Use high-quality charcoal: The type of charcoal you use can make all the difference in achieving that smoky flavor we love about grilled meats.
4. Invest in good tools: A sturdy pair of tongs and spatula are essential for flipping steaks without damaging them or losing precious juices.
5.Clean Your Grill Grates Before Cooking – Clean grates prevent sticking which means less chance of tearing off any part when turning over.
For a simple yet elegant presentation, try serving your filet mignon with a side salad or roasted vegetables. A baked potato or sweet potato is also an excellent choice that pairs well with the smoky flavors from the grill.
If you’re looking for something more adventurous, consider topping your steak with sautéed mushrooms or caramelized onions. A drizzle of balsamic glaze can add a touch of sweetness and acidity that balances out the richness of the meat.
For those who prefer bold flavors, try adding some spice by seasoning your steak with chili powder or cumin before grilling. You can also create a flavorful marinade using soy sauce, garlic and ginger for an Asian-inspired twist on this classic dish.
One popular option is to add a flavorful marinade before grilling. A simple mixture of olive oil, garlic, and herbs can infuse your steak with delicious flavor.
Another variation is to top your grilled filet mignon with a compound butter or sauce. Try melting blue cheese butter over the top for an indulgent twist on this classic cut of beef.
If you’re feeling adventurous, consider wrapping your filet in bacon before grilling for an extra layer of smoky flavor and added juiciness.
Here are some important guidelines to keep in mind:
- Always use long-handled tongs and spatulas to handle the meat and move it around on the grill.
- Keep a fire extinguisher or bucket of sand nearby in case of flare-ups or accidents.
- Never leave your grill unattended while it’s lit, especially if there are children or pets around.
- Use heat-resistant gloves when handling hot grates or coals.
- Avoid wearing loose clothing that could catch fire from sparks or flames.
By following these simple safety guidelines, you can ensure that your grilling experience is not only delicious but also safe for everyone involved!
Do I need to sear filet mignon before grilling?
Yes, sear filet mignon for 2 minutes on each side over the hottest part of the grill before cooking it over indirect heat for excellent results.
How do you prepare filet mignon before grilling?
To prepare filet mignon before grilling, season both sides with salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary, rub with olive oil, let rest for 30 minutes to reach room temperature, and preheat the grill to high heat with clean grates.
What is the ideal internal temperature for a perfectly cooked filet mignon on charcoal grill?
The ideal internal temperature for a perfectly cooked filet mignon on a charcoal grill is 130-135°F.
How long should filet mignon be grilled on each side for different levels of doneness?
Grill filet mignon for 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare, 5-6 minutes for medium, and 6-8 minutes for well-done.
What kind of marinade or seasoning works best for enhancing the flavor of grilled filet mignon?
A marinade or seasoning that works best for enhancing the flavor of grilled filet mignon is a combination of olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, salt, and pepper.