FILET MIGNON PRICE INTRO
Filet mignon has gained the reputation of being one of the best cuts of beef on the market. It is so tender that it almost melts in your mouth and, to add to that feeling of exclusivity, it does appear in all high-end restaurants as the go-to premier cut.
Have you ever wondered why the price of filet mignon is so expensive?
Based on research, the high price of Filet Mignon comes down to the following factors:
- Supply and demand.
- How the cattle were raised e.g Grain-fed versus Organic, Grass-fed.
- Time and effort required by Butchers to trim the tenderloin into filet steaks.
- Grade of the beef.
- Aging process of the beef (if any).
We've put together this comprehensive guide about filet mignon price, including everything you should know about this delicious cut of meat. Here’s what to expect in today's article:
- What is Filet Mignon?
- What to look for when buying Filet Mignon
- The factors affecting Filet Mignon Price.
- Does High Filet Mignon Price Mean Excellent Quality or Great Taste Filet?
- Filet Mignon Price per Pound.
- Price of Filet Mignon in Costco VS Steakhouse Prices
- What About Organic Grass-Fed Filet Mignon Price?
- How You Can Reduce the Price of Filet Mignon?
- Filet Mignon Price Hacks.
Let’s jump in and learn more about Filet and what affects the filet mignon price.
1. What is Filet Mignon?
Filet mignon comes from the smaller end of the Tenderloin, which is the psoas major muscle that makes up less than 1% of a cow. Tenderloin is characterized by a particularly soft texture and long round shape. Because the tenderloin is a muscle that remains relatively unused during a cow's life, it doesn't grow as much or get used, which leaves it considerably tender.
Image: The Psoas Major Muscle aka Tenderloin, where Filet Mignon is cut from.
2. What to Look for when buying Filet Mignon.
When you buy filet mignon, you want to make sure you choose right. After all, the better the quality of the meat, the more you'll enjoy it! Also, given its price, you want to make sure you make a rewarding decision!
A high-quality Filet steak has a nice round shape and is deep red. Also, it is incredibly soft to touch when raw. If the butcher is wearing gloves, ask him to gently press his thumb on the Filet. If this leaves a dimple from the thumb press – you have a nice soft steak!
The Filet should be week trimmed and devoid of any silver skin or connective tissue. On the Butchers display cabinet, they should look leaner than any other cut.
Another good tip is, if you find any discoloration in the cut, don't take it, as it means one of two things
1. Oxidation as the cut has been on display a long time and
2. The cattle was bruised before slaughter which will show up in the meat. This was a stressed animal and this factor does affect the taste and quality so do watch out for this and be sure to examine all sides before buying.
Also, upon cooking, good quality and well-butchered cuts of Filet will hold its distinctive round shape and not break up.
3. What are Factors affecting Filet Mignon Price
There are several key factors affecting filet mignon price.
Supply And Demand
The fact that tenderloin makes up just a small percentage of the total beef carcass and yet is the most desired by the catering industry and grocery stores plays a key role. That results in filet mignon cuts being rarer and the price gets bided up at wholesale level to secure the product thus more expensive.
How it was Raised
The price of Filet Mignon is going to be considerably more expensive from an Organic, Grass-Fed based beef farm than that of a grain-fed feedlot operation with little to no regulation.
Grain-fed Beef will be fed cheap feeds, minimal care, and low labor overheads where free roaming organic pasture based operations have much higher operating costs. Based on this research by Fernandez et al, the cost to raise Organic beef is 39% more expensive than conventional beef.
Time and Effort
It takes much more time cleaning and trimming a tenderloin into filet mignon than preparing any other cuts. They have to take the gristle, silver skin, and every part of fatty tissue out, which can take more than half an hour. That is much more than the time spent on preparing a Ribeye Steak, for instance.
The USDA has different standards of quality when it comes to cuts of meat. "Prime" is the highest category and refers to restaurant quality. "Choice" and "Select" follow and are usually the ones you'll find in grocery stores.
Despite being grain-fed, few farm operations raise cattle that fall under the "prime" category, contributing to the much higher price.
Taking it a step further, authentic A5 Graded Wagyu Beef Filet Mignon is going to have an extremely high price due to scarcity and demand.
The best tenderloin steaks are selected and aged by wet or dry aging for maximum tenderness before being trimmed into filet mignon steaks. This process and controlled refrigerated time which can take weeks, make it even more complicated to bring a filet mignon into the market and adds further cost.
4. Does High Filet Mignon Price Mean Excellent Quality or Great Taste?
You might assume that given the price, filet mignons must always be of excellent quality and taste great. However, as we mentioned before, you should not expect your filet mignon to automatically taste amazing. No matter how expensive and pure is the meat you buy, if you do not prepare it right, you won't enjoy your cut!
This is the biggest challenge with Filet Mignon as it is extremely lean and if overcooked will dry out and become tough very quickly.
5. What Is Filet Mignon Price Per Pound?
The average filet mignon price varies depending on your location and where you decide to buy it from. Indeed, you may shop directly from the farm, in a grocery store, or even consume your steak at a restaurant. All three locations will offer you the same steak but at very different price points. Also, selecting one breed of cattle over the other will affect the price, and buying conventional grain-fed versus organic grass-fed will also have an impact on the total cost.
Here is what you should expect to pay for Filet Mignon from conventional grain-fed USDA Choice beef.
FILET MIGNON PRICE PER LB
Direct from Famer
$20 to $25 per lb
$30 to $40 per lb
$28 to $45 per lb
Restaurant or Steakhouse
$65 to $120 per lb
6. Price of Filet Mignon in Costco VS Steakhouse Prices
Remember when we mentioned the USDA categories when it comes to the quality of the meat? At Costco, you'll most likely find a Choice grade and a pretty low-end Choice Grade at that. With prices around $30-40 per pound depending on the time of year, this may appear enticing but given the quality to the price of Filet Mignon Costco offers, we would maintain is not worth so much money.
It is also important to point out Costco blade tenderize all their meat which makes cheaper/tough meat more tender to chew by mechanical tenderizing. This speaks volumes as to the actual quality they are buying.
Steakhouses will always charge an astronomical price for Filet Mignon averaging $90 per pound and it does have to be said, a lot of this is costs for running a restaurant such as insurance, labor, workman's comp, rent, utilities, etc…plus profit margins. We are huge exponents of the #eatathome movement but…who doesn’t like a nice meal in a nice restaurant once in a while!
7. What about the Price of Organic Grass-Fed & Grass-Finished Filet Mignon?
Organic or grass-fed cattle is more expensive than that raised in feedlots for several reasons. First, it comes with higher labor costs. Because cattle are in the open, they require additional work and more time.
Also, the natural grass-based diet makes the process of gaining weight much longer. Conventional grain-fed with growth-promoting hormones and antibiotics can reach the market weight of 1200 pounds in as little as 12 months.
On the other hand, organic grass-fed cattle have a much longer growth cycle ie 18 to 25 months, resulting in higher labor and production costs.
However, choosing grass-fed filet mignon is a wise choice for consumers looking for high-quality, naturally flavorful, and clean meat.
The average price for Certified Organic and Verified Grass-Fed Filet Mignon will average between $48 and $60 per lb in most cases.
8. How YOU Can Help Reduce the Price of Filet Mignon!
We've mentioned WHY is filet mignon price so high. But here's what you can do to reduce its costs and enjoy this tender cut more often. The solution is simple.
Since the main reason why filet mignon is so expensive has to do with its rareness and supply vs demand, we all need to commit to start eating more of the other parts of the animal in a more consistent and meaningful way.
By marrying this approach, we can considerably reduce waste, and the utilization of viable meat cuts on the cattle will increase. This will contribute to bringing down the overall price for beef's meat and help balance out the price of cuts to a more reasonable equilibrium.
We should not only consume the expensive cuts, which only make up so little of the entire carcass but experiment with different and lesser-known cuts which can be equally delicious and interesting such as Oxtail, Chuck Eye Steak or even Offal Meats.
If we all commit to eating diverse parts of the animal, filet mignon price will decrease in price dramatically, as we would allow butchers and farmers to get a better yield on their products.
Two Filet Mignon Price Hacks
Finally, did you know you can still enjoy the tenderness of filet mignon without having to break the bank? Here are two quick tips:
- Take a cheap roasting cut (Chuck Roast, for instance) and cut it into filet pieces. Marinade your steaks in pineapple juice for two hours. Then wash them under running water, pat dry your steaks, and cook on high heat for a superiorly tender piece of meat! The magic happens from the enzyme Bromaline in pineapples which will break down the tougher fibers of Chuck.
- Alternatively, don't use Filet Mignon at all and choose a top sirloin and have your butcher trim it clean. Top sirloin is one of those great-value steak cuts and, when raised properly, can be almost as tender as a filet mignon. Use plenty of salt 1 hour before cooking on high heat and you will be pleasantly surprised.
In either case, you have a Filet Mignon experience without the high price!!!
Image: A well trimmed and seasoned Top Sirloin from a clean, natural source is a great alternative for Filet Mignon without the high price per pound.
Here are some of the key takeaways from our Filet Mignon Price article.
- Filet mignon is extremely tender because it comes from a muscle called the tenderloin that cows rarely use.
- Tenderloin only makes for 1% of the total percentage of the carcass. That makes filet mignon very rare, and therefore more expensive.
- Not all filet mignons are the same. You must know how to choose the best quality steak and cook it properly.
- Filet mignon price varies depending on where you buy it, what feeding processes are behind the piece of meat, and the cattle breed you select.
- Despite the low price point of Filet Mignon at Costco, the quality of the meat is inferior.
- The price of Organic grass-fed filet mignon is going to be more expensive than traditional ones. That is because organic grass-fed cattle require more resources, more time, and overall more costs.
- If we all ate other parts of the cow in equal amounts and therefore increase the utilization of a single cow, filet mignon price would decrease considerably.
- You can have a delicious Filet Mignon-like experience without having to break the bank with a little magic from pineapple juice or choosing a nice Top Sirloin steak.