Where Does Filet Mignon Come From On A Cow? [Find Out Here]

Filet mignon is an iconic cut of beef usually reserved for high-tier restaurants. It is so rare that there’s only one single filet mignon from an entire cow. But where exactly does this cut come from on a cow?

The filet mignon is a lean cut of meat taken from the smaller end of the tenderloin. It has a tiny amount of marbling and connective tissues. This makes it a very tender cut of meat with a mild flavor to it.

This cut of beef is best cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Some top recipe ideas for this cut are filet mignon with roasted garlic butter, red wine sauce, and with mushroom sauce.

For many beef lovers, filet mignon attains the height of steak perfection. It is not the largest or most flavorful of grilling steaks, but it is absolutely the tenderest piece of beef.

In this article, I will discuss filet mignon, how it is different from the tenderloin, where it is cut from, and how to prepare them.

What is filet mignon?

This is a small, circular cut of beef taken from the end of the psoas major muscle. This muscle is also known as the tenderloin, only the very tip of the muscle makes up this cut. So it is usually sold separately from the regular tenderloin.

It is prized for its tenderness and often described as buttery or “melt in the mouth”. Since it is such a rare cut, it often commands a high price even though it does not have as much flavor as some other cuts.

A 4-ounce serving of this beef has about 255 calories, 29g of protein, and only 5g of fat. It is also a good source of iron, zinc, selenium, and B vitamins.

SEE: What Is Subgum in Chinese Food?

What is the tenderloin?

Beef tenderloin is a large cut of beef consisting of the entire tenderloin muscle. The tenderloin is a long muscle ranging from eighteen to twenty-four inches.

Stretching from the loin primal to the sirloin primal. This muscle is near the cow’s backbone, so it hardly gets any exercise. Hence, the muscle fibers are small and extremely tender.

The tenderloin yields a fine-grained and lean piece of meat with very little connective tissue or fat. Usually only a thin layer of silverskin that chefs remove before cooking.

Butchers and grocery stores may sell the whole muscle as beef tenderloin steaks or break it into smaller steaks. Such as the filet mignon which comes from the front loin end of the tenderloin.

How is filet mignon different from the tenderloin?

Many people are confused regarding this issue. Since the filet mignon is cut from the tenderloin, most argue that they are the same. The major difference is;

1. Size

Beef tenderloin is a more significant cut of beef that includes the filet mignon. If you want to cook a large, shareable beef dish, purchase the entire tenderloin from your grocery store. If you want to cook one perfect steak, go for the filet mignon.

2. Texture

Filet mignon is more tender than tenderloin. Although they are both parts of the same muscle, the filet mignon is the most tender part. The name ‘mignon’ is the French word for ‘delicate’.

3. Cooking speed

Fat and bones act as insulators during cooking, slowing the process down. Since filet mignon is boneless and low in fat content, it cooks especially fast. Tenderloin, on the other hand, has more fat and requires more cooking time.

SEE: Ways to Know When Your Meat Is Done

4. Prize

Pound for pound, the filet mignon is the most expensive cut of beef from the whole cow. It often costs over $200 for a single portion.

Where does the fillet mignon come from on a cow?

Filet mignon comes from the psoas major muscle of the cow, which is the same muscle the tenderloin is cut from. It is located at the back of a cow.

What type of cow does it come from?

Filet Mignon can come from any breed of cow. But it is most prized when it comes from a beef breed, which has higher quality meat than dairy breeds.

Until recently, British breeds like Aberdeen Angus were the most sought-after breed for high-end cuts like filet mignon. However, Angus cattle are now widely farmed, and there are rarer breeds that command a higher price.

Breeds like the Japanese Kobe, also called Tajima-gyu, have become extremely popular in recent years. A single Kobe wagyu steak can set you back several hundred dollars due to the rarity of the cattle.

SEE: What Does Steak Come From?

Why is the filet mignon so tender?

It is the very end part of the tenderloin, also known as the psoas major muscle, which connects the cow’s pelvis to its spine.

Because the muscle is high up in the cow’s body, it has minimal work to do throughout the cow’s day. Meaning it stays exceptionally tender.

How to grill the filet mignon?

This is such a wonderful cut of beef that the simpler preparations are the best. Start by taking the filet mignon out of the refrigerator and letting the internal temperature of the meat come to room temperature.

The USDA temperature for medium-rare is 140 degrees. But if you wait to pull your filet from the grill when the meat hits 140, you may end up with way overcooked steak.

To get a perfectly grilled medium-rare filet mignon, use an instant-read meat thermometer and ensure to pull the meat from the grill at 120 degrees. Let it stand tented in tin foil for ten minutes before serving.

SEE: Best Grill Temperatures to Make the Best Steaks


Why is the filet mignon meat so expensive?

It is so expensive because it is the most tender cut from a cow. The short supply of this tender meat creates greater demand and, thus, a higher price.

How many filet mignons are in a cow?

There are only two tenderloins on a cow and only about 500 grams (or a little over 1 pound) of filet mignon per animal.

What is the most expensive cut of a cow?

The most expensive cuts of beef are always from the center of the steer, which is the loin and rib section.


The filet mignon is the tender end-section of the tenderloin, and It is found in the core of the cow. The tenderloin is a long, tender muscle called the psoas major, which stretches from the cow’s hips to their spine, just under their first rib.

Filet mignon makes up such a small part of the tenderloin that it is by far the most expensive cut of beef possible. It is so expensive due to its rarity and the desirability of the tender meat, which is extremely lean with minimal fat.

I hope you enjoyed this article, you should also see what part of the beef is brisket.

Thank you for reading this article.