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Filet Mignon Day: Tasty Tips & Trivia

Grilled filet mignon is great anytime, and is a must on Filet Mignon Day, August 13. Learn how to pronounce and, most importantly, how to cook filet mignon.

August 13 is National Filet Mignon Day…as if we needed another excuse to grill up the most tender steak available. So, while it may not be as important an event as, say, Memorial Day, July 4 or Labor Day, what you learn about filet mignon can easily carry over to those other grilling occasions. So let’s explore some fun facts about filet mignon and discuss some grilling tips. First off, let’s address a very basic issue…

A white platter of three grilled Filet-Mignon steaks, with mushrooms and a garnish.

Filet Mignon Pronunciation

To know how to pronounce “filet mignon” you need to know a little about French…which actually comes in pretty handy anyway, since France is the origin of so many of our culinary terms. Most people get the “filet” part right because it’s pretty much identical to the English equivalent “fillet”…but we hear “mignon” coming out something like “ming-yung”.

The letter “i” in French is pronounced like a long “e” in English (but maybe not so long); the consonant on the end of a word is rarely pronounced, and the letter combination “gn” is pronounced “ny-“ as is the Spanish “ñ”. So to put it all together, filet mignon is pronounced fee-LAY meen-YOHN, without much of an “N” on the end. Repeat it: fee-LAY meen-YOHN. See how it just rolls off the tongue? Kind of makes us hungry for some grilled filet mignon…maybe with a nice glass of French wine. We’ll get cooking soon, but first, some filet facts…

Filet Mignon Fun Facts

What does “filet mignon” mean?

A literal interpretation would be “cute fillet”. A filet (the French spelling of “fillet”) is a boneless cut of meat or fish. Mignon is a French word meaning “cute” or “dainty”…but another translation is “tender”. No doubt that’s what American author O. Henry (pen name of William Sydney Porter) meant when he first used the term “filet mignon” in his book The Four Million in 1906. Yes, the term was coined by an American. In fact, the French typically use filet mignon to refer to a fine cut of pork; beef tenderloin steaks are called tournedos. But we digress…yes, the translation of filet mignon is “tender filet”.

How many calories are in filet mignon?

This is maybe the least fun fact…but it’s not bad. A 4-ounce serving of filet mignon has 200 calories. 67 of those calories come from 7.4 grams of fat (only 11% of your daily value, based on a 2,000-calorie diet); you get 82 mg (27%) of cholesterol, zero carbs, and 29 grams of protein!

Filet Mignon

Grilling Filet Mignon

It really doesn’t get any easier—or quicker—than grilling filet mignon. No low-and-slow barbecue here; this tender cut is cooked hot and fast. You’re using a hot flame to sear the outside, caramelizing the natural sugars in the meat to create a dark, flavorful crust and seal in the juices.

Have your flame on high. If you’re using charcoal, it should be glowing red, and you’re grilling directly above it. Use tongs to turn the steak, and NEVER use a fork to test for doneness when grilling filet mignon. Piercing the steak will cause precious juices to escape. We have much more information on this fantastic steak and more tips on how to cook filet mignon. And this helpful guide will help you determine cooking time for filet mignon. (USDA recommends cooking to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.)

Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon

What to Serve with Filet Mignon

First, if you’re grilling filet mignon for National Filet Mignon Day, it’s summer—not really the time of the year for a comforting casserole like potatoes au gratin. And a great steak always calls for a great wine. Choose a classic salad and the perfect wine from this helpful article on what to serve with steak.

Now let’s get some premium aged filet mignon, raise a glass of Merlot or Chianti, and celebrate National Filet Mignon Day in style!

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