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How Long to Grill 2 Inch Filet Mignon Perfect Everytime

“How long to grill a 2-inch filet mignon”, has a bewilderingly vast set of answers on Google…with “internet experts”, saying that you can get it done in as fast as 10 minutes or as long as 35 minutes.  

So, how can it be possible for such a significant variance in what seems to be a straightforward and simple question?

I’ll tell you why.  Because everyone has different ways they’re “grilling” their steak.

2 inch filet mignons, grilled and on a holding plate with salt and pepper behind them.

 Everyone has their own type of grill…  You may be grilling on your gas grill, charcoal grill, cast-iron skillet, or pellet grill and the cooking time or grilling time can vary greatly with each of those cooking methods.  

Not to mention the fact that everyone wants a different degree of doneness, which is simply based on the internal temperature of your steak.

This means that the total cook time will be less for a rare steak than a well-done steak because a rare steak’s desired temperature is 125 degrees F and a well-done steak’s desired temperature is 160 degrees F.

With all of that being said, the real question you need to ask yourself is the same question your waiter asks you at any restaurant or fancy steakhouse you go to… “How would you like your steak cooked?”  

To which you’d reply with any one of the desired levels of doneness such as rare, medium-rare, medium, etc. 

Merely asking the question of how long to grill a 2 inch filet mignon does not do you, your significant other, or special guests any justice.  After all, we don’t know of anyone that grills 2 inch filet mignons outside of special occasions like anniversaries, Christmas, or holidays in general.  

So you want the best results for this expensive cut of meat on your special occasion, right?  Right!

The great news is that we’re going to show you the best way to grill and cook your steaks regardless of what type of grill or cooking source you’re using.  We’re going to use a charcoal grill because we believe the best filet mignon steaks benefit greatly from the natural flavor you can only get from a charcoal grill.

So where do we start you ask?  Well, where we always start.  The grocery store or your local butcher so you can choose your filet mignons…

seasoned filet mignon steaks, getting a dry brine
Filet Mignon In Butcher Paper

How to Choose the Perfect Filet Mignon

Depending on where you shop to find your filet mignon will determine what options you have to choose from. You’ll also want to consider how many people you are serving to get the best deal.

You’ll be looking for cherry red meat with no liquid or odors. The grades available designate flavor and marbling which contributes to juiciness and flavor. All grades of filet mignon should be relatively tender because of where this steak sits naturally on the animal.

Grocery Stores

If you go to a grocery store like Walmart, they may already have pre-sliced filet mignons for you and you’ll have to get the thickest options available.  They’ll probably also only have Select or Choice grades. We look for Prime when we want the most juicy steak, but any of these grades are acceptable.

This method of grilling will give you perfect results regardless of the thickness of the steak.  Cooking filet mignon is like cooking a ribeye steak or any other steak cut, it’s all about proper searing and hitting the right internal temperature.

Big Box Stores

If you go to a big box store like Sam’s or Costco you may find thick filet mignon steaks already cut, but more likely you’ll find a whole beef tenderloin.  

We much prefer whole beef tenderloin because it’s the larger cut that filet mignon is butchered from and it’s easy to slice into 2 inch steaks. This of course is only a suitable option if you are serving 8 people because you will get about 8 steaks off of one beef tenderloin.  

Think of beef tenderloin as one really thick filet mignon steak that you can easily cut your own filet mignon steaks off of.  It also ends up being cheaper per steak when you buy the whole beef tenderloin because it is less butchered and thus less expensive.

Local Butcher or Gourmet Grocery Store

If you go to a local butcher or a store like Whole Foods or a specialized grocery store, you can ask them to cut 2 inch thick filet mignons and they’ll be happy to do it for you.  

We do this sometimes when we’re not able to get the whole beef tenderloin, or the holidays have us busy and looking for ways to trim our to-do lists.

The Juiciest Steakhouse Steaks Are Prime

If you want a steakhouse-quality meal always purchase prime filet mignon or go with prime beef tenderloin. These can be more difficult to find (as restaurants tend to buy them up first) but it’s well worth the effort for a special occasion meal.

What Should I Season My Filet Mignon with?

We recommend seasoning with these spices and they are:

  • Pink Himalayan Salt (We’ll explain why we don’t use kosher salt in a second)
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder (No Garlic Salt.  They are not the same!)
  • Parsley or a Touch of Paprika For Color

First, why pink himalayan sea salt and not kosher salt?  It’s because of the depth of flavor.  Try this little experiment to see what we mean…

Take chicken broth from a box and in one little bowl of broth mix in kosher salt and in the other, pink Himalayan sea salt.  Taste the kosher salt first and you’ll taste what you’ve always been used to.  Then try the pink Himalayan sea salt.  

You’ll notice a much deeper and more complex flavor than the kosher salt can provide.  This will set your filet mignon recipe and all other steaks apart from all others!

Now could you just use salt and pepper and be done?  Yes, absolutely.  But we’re not here to be ordinary or basic.  We’re here to make sure your delicious steak is set apart from all others by making simple and easy changes!

Sprinkling onion powder and garlic powder are going to add to the flavor complexity and give you the most excellent results once your filet mignons come off of your hot grill.

How to Dry Brine Your Filet Mignon for a “Next Level” Sear

Dry brining is a technique that is so simple, yet so underutilized in most kitchens.  

What you probably think of when brining is a turkey brine, in which you submerge the turkey in a 5-gallon bucket filled with liquid and many different spices.  That is called a wet brine and the goal is to add moisture along with flavor.

 We do not want to add moisture to our filet mignon and I’ll explain why in a second…

In the case of dry brining a steak, the goal is to add flavor and let some of the moisture on the outside of the steak come to the surface where it can evaporate and as a result, start the searing process.

(The salt will tenderize the meat a little bit, but you’re already grilling a filet mignon which is the most tender cut of beef, so tenderizing further is not really needed.)

You’re probably asking yourself, “Why would you want the filet’s moisture to evaporate, isn’t that counterproductive?”  The short answer is “no”.  

We want to have as little moisture as possible when searing our steak because we sear to create the Maillard Reaction (which is fancy language for the browning of any protein)…this golden brown crust gives us rich and decadent steak flavor.  

2 filet mignons over a charcoal fire, topped with a pat of butter.
Behold, the golden brown crust of deliciousness

Moisture is the enemy of the Maillard Reaction because the chemical reaction can not take place in the presence of water.

I think we can all agree that steaks with a nicely browned crust have the best flavor and there is no replicating that flavor with any combination of spices.

We’re going to use salt (plus any other spices you like) in our dry brine. The reason we use salt is because it’s water soluble and will draw the moisture out of the meat through osmosis (never thought you’d hear that term after high school, did you?).  

Then the salt will dissolve into the juice and re-enter your piece of meat.  This is where the flavor gets in and also where the salt can begin to break down some of the protein structure for an even more tender filet.  

For dry brining, we’re going to use only as much salt as you’d typically season your steaks with.  Salt the steak on both sides then put your steak on a cookie sheet and place it in your refrigerator for an hour.

If you can let it sit overnight in your fridge then that is even better!    

How to Grill a 2-Inch Thick Filet Mignon

The best way to grill a 2-inch thick filet mignon is by using a combination of direct heat (aka direct grilling) to get a good sear on your filet mignon, and then finish over indirect heat in order to bring your filet to its final temperature.

If you’re making a grilled filet mignon, whether it is on a charcoal or gas grill, you must create 2 different heat zones.  

On one side of the grill, you’ll create a high heat side for searing in order to get that crispy crust that steak enthusiasts seek as if it’s the Holy Grail!

And when I say high heat, I mean the hottest that you can possibly make it so the grill grates or grill racks are white hot!

To create the 2 zones on a charcoal grill, you’ll simply stack your hot coals on one side of the grill and leave the other side with no charcoal.  On a gas grill, you’ll set half of your burners on high and leave the other half off or maybe on very low.  Simple, right?

The whole reason for the high heat is to create the Maillard reaction.  This is the chemical reaction that creates the characteristic browning that we know as a good sear and contributes to an amazing flavor on any piece of meat.  

You can do this with a hot skillet as well in the event you don’t have a grill.

After you’ve created your searing heat zone, place your seasoned, 2 inch filet mignons in that zone.  If you have your searing zone setup correctly, it is only going to take 2-3 minutes on each side to get the sear you want.  

Sometimes it can take a little longer and that is perfectly fine, don’t stress yourself out about it.  You’ll know your sear is complete when your filets no longer stick to your grill rack.

After you have the sear, move your filet mignons over to the lower temperature half of your grill.  

The reason you’re moving them to the other half of the grill is so your steaks will come up to the perfect temperature without charring the outside.  

Being that these are 2 inch thick filet mignons, if you left them over the searing zone until they were ready to pull off, you’d end up with an extremely tough, overcooked exterior that might even be burned in places. 

That is due to the steak thickness.  You must be more careful with thick-cut filet mignons so you do not ruin them as they are not a cheap cut of meat.

The best way we’ve found to monitor the internal temperature of your steak once you’ve placed them on the indirect heat part of your grill is to use a wireless thermometer or an instant-read thermometer.  

We prefer the wireless thermometer from MEATER since it is easy to use and you can set your phone to notify you when they’re at the temperature you want to pull them at.  

It’s easy to get distracted and that’s why the MEATER alarm on your phone comes in so handy.

Once you’ve pulled them off you’ll let carryover cooking bring them to your target temperature.  

Carryover cooking is the term we use to describe the heat that is still cooking your steaks after they’ve left your grill or heat source.  We prefer to pull our steaks 5 degrees before they’re at the low end of your preferred doneness.

Temperatures to Pull Filet Mignon:

  • Rare: 115 degrees F
  • Medium-Rare: 125 degrees F
  • Medium: 135 degrees F
  • Medium-Well: 145 degrees F
  • Well-Done: 155 degrees F
grilled 2 inch filet mignon on a white plate, resting

When you pull them 5 degrees before their final doneness temperature, they should finish perfectly where you want them to because the carryover cooking should take care of the last 5 degrees of cooking.  

The trick is to make sure you use that meat thermometer and monitor the temperature.  If you want inconsistent results for your steaks, go ahead and use the “touch and feel” technique although we strongly advise against it.

Rest The Filets For 10 Minutes

Finally, you’ll want to rest the filets for 10 minutes to allow the interior juices to redistribute. This ensures every bite is juicy and packed with flavor.

2 inch filet mignons, grilled and on a holding plate with salt and pepper behind them.
Yield: 2 or more

How Long to Grill 2 Inch Filet Mignon Perfect Everytime

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour

2 inch filets are a special occasion treat that you'll want to grill just right! Get juicy steakhouse-quality results every time with this guide!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Salt your Filet Mignons and place them in your refrigerator for at least 1 hour (Details in post)
  2. Prepare your grill with a searing zone and an indirect grilling zone
  3. Pull the filets out of your fridge and season with Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, and Black Pepper.
  4. Place your filets on the searing zone and sear until a golden brown crust appears and the filets no longer stick to your grill grates (About 2-3 minutes on each side)
  5. Move to the indirect grilling zone and place your wireless thermometer in the filets
  6. Pull your filets off of the grill when they are 5 degrees from your preferred doneness temperature.
  7. Allow your filets to rest for 10 minutes and then enjoy the most perfect filet mignons that you made yourself!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 176Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 24mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 11g

This nutritional information is provided as a courtesy as an estimate only. Consult with a dietician for precise estimates. This website makes no claims that the nutritional values listed are accurate.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave us a comment below and let us know how it went!

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Cindy

Friday 12th of January 2024

Nev

Saturday 4th of November 2023

Everyone always says to take your steaks out and leave them at room temperature for at least 30-60 minutes before cooking so the meat acclimates and cooks evenly. You do t mention this at all, so are you advocating for not doing this?

Sarah Penrod

Thursday 16th of November 2023

We don't do that on the line in professional kitchens or steakhouses. I don't think it really matters that much but having the steak out for at least a few minutes releases myoglobin (the red juice) and that helps the seasoning stick really well. In theory it makes sense, I'm just saying pro chefs don't do it and our steaks tend to come out perfect, so I wouldn't stress over it.

Neil Spencer

Monday 23rd of October 2023

I’ve seen many other sources say to pull the meat out of the fridge well in advance of cooking in order to get them to room temperature.

Your final instructions say to pull out of the fridge and put in the high heat zone with no mention of waiting….. What’s your opinion on that?

Sarah Penrod

Sunday 19th of November 2023

It's fine to pull the meat out for a couple minutes, if that makes you feel more organized, etc. But I wouldn't stress over it as we do not do that in the professional kitchen and I don't think it changes the recipe much.

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