Celebrate National Filet Mignon Day!

Filet mignon with maple rub, fresh vegetables, and mashed cauliflower

Filet Mignon with Maple Rub

While we each sit at our desks at work, Erin and I often end up bantering back and forth via email throughout the day. It usually starts with simple conversation about the day and ends up focused on the topic of food, travel or wine. Today our dinner was already planned; filet mignon, grilled zucchini, and mashed cauliflower. During our bantering, Erin informed me that she had discovered today, August 13th, was, “Nation Filet Mignon Day.”Having already planned to enjoy filet mignon for dinner it became the focus of our discussion for the rest of the afternoon. It was decided that instead of doing any experimenting with creative rubs or crazy cooking techniques, we’d go back to the basics. Simple rub, fresh grilled veggies, and a simple, yet healthy, mashed cauliflower.

I almost always smoke meat first

Filet Mignon – Smoke It First

I almost always smoke meat first, then sear if a crust is desired. Tonight I used sugar maple for a subtle and slightly sweet smoke flavor. Often used for poultry, pork or fish, the sugar maple imparted a great flavor into the beef as well, but also allowed the flavors of the rub to stand out.

Searing the filets

Filet Mignon – Searing The Meat

We both enjoy our steak rare to medium rare with a good crust on the outside. I’m often thanked when I achieve the thin and crispy brown ring around a slightly red center on any steak. A short sear on a blazing hot cast iron skillet after the steak has been smoked makes for an almost fool proof way to achieve this.

While we thoroughly enjoy our occasional steak night, Erin insists on balance and attempts to keep us healthy. One way we have been able to achieve this is to forgo the traditional starchy potato most people would expect on their plate alongside their steak, and instead we stick with healthy vegetables. Tonight it was cauliflower smashed to mimic mashed potatoes. They turned out delicious and we never missed the potatoes. We also served up a side of grilled zucchini which has always been a hit at our house.

Going back to the basics and keeping it simple was a recipe for success. In between bites we both continued to mumble how good everything was and were surprised that out of nearly 20 different steak experiments we have done this year, this original rub was the best and will continue to be our ‘go to’ beef rub.

Recipe & Cooking Instructions

Steak & rub

Equal parts whole peppercorns, whole coffee beans, course sea salt. Grind at the most course setting your grinder has and mix evenly or, as we did tonight, coarsely grind with a mortar and pestle. Spread rub liberally onto the steak. A thick cut steak can take more seasoning than you think, so be generous when applying the rub. Smoke the steak indirectly with your wood of choice at approximately 220 degrees for 15 minutes. Internal temperature will be approximately 105 degrees if your meat started at room temperature. Sear on a very hot cast iron skillet for two minutes per side. Let rest for a minimum of five minutes and your steaks will be rare to medium rare.

Grilled Zucchini

Grilled Zucchini

Mashed Cauliflower

Cut up a head of cauliflower and boil it until soft. Strain the water and mash as if it were mashed potatoes. We added a little chicken stock, skim milk, yogurt butter, 75% reduced fat cabot cheese, and some smoked turkey bacon bits that we had left over from a beef jerky experiment last weekend. A touch of white pepper was added, then seasoned to taste.

Grilled Zucchini

Couldn’t be easier! Slice a few zucchinis in half, season with salt, lemon pepper, and any other preferred seasoning. Toss them directly on a hot grill grate, skin side down for about two minutes, then flip them and grill for another two minutes.

August 15, 2010  |  Posts  |  Share


  1. I can’t believe I missed this holiday!

Leave a Reply