Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Up in a puff of smoke

The beef tenderloin runs along both sides of the spine.  It’s exceptionally tender . . . which is why it is so expensive  . . . because the muscle is non-weight bearing and almost atrophied. 

Another factor in the high cost of this fabulous cut of meat is that the average cow provides no more than 4-6 pounds of filet. That's not a whole heck of a lot considering the average meat cow weighs somewhere between 1300 and 1700 pounds and the amount of beef harvested from a given cow comes to 450 - 500 pounds.

The tail end of the tenderloin that is cut into one to two inch thick steaks is known as filet mignon.

Bacon is often used in cooking the filet because of the low levels of fat found in the meat.  Filets also have low levels of marbling, or internal fat. Bacon is wrapped around the filet and to add flavor and keep the flesh from drying out during the cooking process.

It’s a running joke in my household that it's easy to tell when it’s time for dinner to be served.  I don’t use a dinner bell or holler “soup’s on “. . . I’m almost embarrassed to say that it's the blare of the smoke detector. I swear to all that is holy that it is NOT because I burn food. 

I think I’m a pretty good darn cook.  But I guess I’m also a messy one, as well.  It doesn’t matter if I’m cooking on the stove or in the oven, it's inevitable that something I’ve spilled on a burner or in the oven will cause great billows of smoke to poof out everywhere and cause an acrid cloud and the stink of burnt food.

For the shame of it! 

I only mention this humiliation because the following recipe is sure to cause smoke to pour from the oven . . . I know this because when I made it the house filled with smoke . . . almost unbearably so.  Yep windows open and fans on . . . oy!  

It is absolutely delicious!  But, make sure you have good ventilation!


Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon
  • 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 2 Filet Mignon Steaks, 1" To 1 1/2" Thick
  • 2 Slices Bacon

Preheat broiler. Wrap bacon slice around fillets. (Use more bacon if desired.)  Brush steaks with olive oil and sprinkle with a few grinds of pepper (to taste)

When wrapping the filet with the bacon, don't pull the bacon tight, just snug. If the bacon is too tight, it will come off. The toothpick should just go through once and out the other side like pinning a button to a shirt. (Don't forget to take the toothpick out before serving.)

I use a cast iron griddle and preheat it before placing the steak on it. 

Place meat on broiler pan 3" to 4" from heat. Broil 5 to 7 minutes each side for rare. Broil 8 to 10 minutes each side for medium.

When you flip the steak, flip it onto the unused portion of the grill grate. This extra effort will be greatly appreciated by those that eat the steak as the flavor of seared flesh is quite amazing.

Smoke is almost certain to occur. If you have a hood vent, turn it on. If you have a smoke detector, disconnect it for a minute, but don't forget to plug it back in once you have finished.

I think it's also fair to warn you that the elements on the broilers are very very hot . . . don't touch them!  Ouch!

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