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Filet Mignon: The Best Cut of Beef?

It is the opinion of many, many beef consumers that Filet Mignon is the premier cut of beef. While you will find some dissension towards that, there are certain times a year where the market reminds us just how popular of a cut it is. Valentines Day is one of those times.

So, what’s the big deal? Why all the fuss, why is it so expensive, and why is it seemingly in such short supply? Let’s dig in…

Filet mignon, as you can see in the image, is a cross cut section of the tenderloin muscle. The tender in tenderloin tells a lot of the story. You see, this muscle sits smack dab right in the middle of the cow. Since cows are quadrupeds, any muscle that is not in close proximity to their legs, isn’t doing much structural work. This leads to a tender piece of meat. The tenderloin is the most tender muscle on the entire cow. Therefore, filet mignon is the most tender beef steak there is. Period. So, that tells you part of the story about why it’s so expensive. It has a higher perceived value because it’s easy to prepare, and is fork-tender if prepared properly (medium rare to rare for those keeping score).

The other reason it’s so expensive, is because it’s in short supply, and it always will be. Here’s why. Let’s say you have a 600 pound beef carcass. I have broken many a beef carcass, and I’m here to tell you that the two tenderloin muscles on that beef carcass will probably weigh 10 pounds collectively. That’s BEFORE trimming. A properly trained butcher at best can get 10-12 filets off a single cow. Boy, we really need to let that sink in. After trimming, you’re probably getting 5 pounds of filet mignon on a 600 pound carcass. I’m no mathematician, but that’s not very much yield. So, if we wanted to 30 filets, that’s 3 cows worth. Holy cow.

Lastly, we do not stock this item during the week, and it sells out fast on the weekend (for reasons mentioned earlier). If Filet Mignon is something you’d like to prepare for Valentines day, or any special meal, we urge you to give us a call ahead of time. That way we can guarantee you’ll get your hands on this delicious piece of meat!

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  • The Ventura Meat Company
  • 2650 E. Main Street
  • Ventura, CA 93003

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