They’re among the most popular cuts of meat for steak lovers, and the most expensive. But what’s the difference between New York Strip vs Filet Mignon? Find out what sets them apart and discover the best ways to prepare them.
A properly cooked filet mignon or New York strip steak can be a truly memorable meal. And each cut of meat has unique characteristics that set it apart.
So, how do you choose between them the next time you’re at a steakhouse, or thinking of making your own steaks at home? Let’s take a closer look at the main differences between each cut.
What is Filet Mignon?
Some consider Filet Mignon to be the best cut of steak available due to its tenderness and buttery texture. The term comes from the French, literally translating to “cute strip.” And in a way, that’s what it is.
It usually comes in a small, round size that’s about two inches thick. While other cuts of beef can dominate the plate, a filet mignon can look more elegant, and it can be the perfect-sized steak without weighing you down.
The filet mignon cut comes from the middle area of the beef tenderloin where it intersects the short loin.
This area of muscle (called the psoas major) isn’t weight-bearing so the connective tissue doesn’t undergo a lot of stress. The result is one of the most tender cuts of meat on the cattle.
Unlike other expensive cuts like ribeye steak or New York strip, filet mignon steaks are not high in fat marbling. Typically, good marbling will give steak an intense flavor as the fat melts into the meat during cooking. But if cooked properly, a filet mignon can be just as flavorful – and an even more tender steak – than similarly costly cuts.
What is New York Strip?
A New York Strip steak comes from the short loin of the cattle near the tenderloin — and also near the filet mignon cut. It’s situated in front of the thigh and behind the rib section.
Like the filet mignon, the muscle used in the New York strip cut also gets little use, so the steak is very tender. And it has more fat marbling than filet mignon, which helps gives it a juicy, buttery flavor. Since you can get more strip steaks than filets from cattle, it can be slightly less expensive, but it’s still a premium cut.
And different variations of the NY strip have different names. If it includes the bone, it’s called a Kansas City strip steak. If it also has tenderloin, it’s a T-bone steak or its cousin, the Porterhouse steak (which is essentially a larger version of the T-bone).
So, how did the New York strip steak cut get its distinctive name? Well, it’s believed the first one was served in the early 1800s at a New York City restaurant called Delmonico’s. After gaining popularity in the NY City area, it began to take off in other parts of the country.
Filet Mignon vs New York Strip: How to prepare them
Both of these different cuts of steak can be prepared in several different ways. But since they have low fat levels, they can dry out quickly. So the key is to not overcook them.
That means you want to aim for medium rare doneness when cooking both filet mignon and NY strip.
Two of the best cooking methods for filet mignon and New York strip are grilling and pan frying. Each method is fairly simple and only takes a few minutes to result in a perfectly cooked steak.
How to grill a filet mignon or a New York strip steak:
- First, take your steak out of the fridge 20-30 minutes before you plan to cook it so it can come to room temperature.
- Brush each side of the steak with oil and season well with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, preheat the grill heat to a high heat, around 500° Fahrenheit.
- Once the grill is preheated, add the filets. Cook on each side for 4-5 minutes.
- You can use a meat thermometer to check when they’re done. Once they hit 125°-130° F, they’re at medium rare. Note: You want them to be soft to the touch and to bounce back if you press on them with your finger. If they’re hard, you’ve overcooked them. But only do the touch test after you’re taken them off the grill.
- Remove from the grill and let them rest for 10-15 minutes so the juices can absorb into the meat.
- Filet mignon steak can have a more mild flavor than other cuts due to the lack of rich marbling, so you can serve it with flavored butter or a sauce if you prefer.
- New York strip can be thinner than filet mignon, so you may need to lower your grilling time in order to not overcook it.
How to pan fry a filet mignon:
- Let it come to room temperature by removing it from the fridge 20-30 minutes before cooking.
- Heat up a cast-iron pan on the stove using high heat and add a generous amount of butter, along with a couple of sprigs of thyme.
- Once the butter has melted, add your filet. Sear it on high heat on all sides for 1-2 minutes so it gets a good sear all around.
- Use a spoon to baste the steak with the melted butter throughout. Once it’s seared, move it to the oven and cook at 400° F for another 5-6 minutes so it can finish.
- Once it’s at an internal temperature of 125°-130° F, it’s medium rare.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Enjoy your delicious steak!
How to pan fry a New York strip steak:
Pan frying New York strip is similar to a filet mignon; you just need to adjust cooking times and you don’t need to finish the cook in the oven. Here’s how to do it:
- For best results, choose a steak thickness between 1 and 1 1/2 inches.
- Let the come to room temperature by removing it from the fridge 20-30 minutes before cooking.
- Heat up a skillet on medium-high heat and add some oil and melted butter.
- Sear it on both sides for 2-3 minutes, spooning the butter over the steak throughout.
- Once it’s at 125°-130° F, it’s medium rare. Cook for a couple of minutes longer on lower heat if necessary to reach the medium rare temperature.
- Remove from the stove and let rest for 10-15 minutes so the juices can distribute evenly in the meat.
What to serve with filet mignon or New York strip
Both of these cuts of steak go well with a variety of side dishes. Try them with some tasty grilled asparagus, garlic mashed potatoes, or corn with basil lime butter. Any of these sides will be a perfect choice to complement the steak.
Does filet mignon or New York strip cost more?
Typically, filet mignon is a bit pricier than NY strip. A filet mignon can cost around $30 per pound at the grocery to up $100 a pound at a restaurant.
At the store, a pound of New York strip can be bought for around $10-$15.
How to store steak
Both filet mignon and New York strip can last for up to 5 days in its original packaging in the fridge after you buy it. They will also come with expiration dates or best-by dates. If you’ve gone past that date, you may consider discarding it as it may be past its peak freshness.
To store your steaks for longer, you can place them in a tightly sealed freezer bag and place them in the freezer. They should keep for up to six months.
A lightly seasoned filet mignon will pair well a light, but complex Pinot Noir. Bolder reds like Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec will also complement these steaks, especially if they’re served with a rich sauce.
New York strip steak has more fat marbling than a cut like filet mignon, so it pairs well with fuller body reds like Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah. The high tannins in those wine styles will complement the richer NY strip cuts and balance out the fat.
The bottom line
When it comes to these different steaks, it’s hard to go wrong with either a filet mignon or a NY strip steak. While the filet may be a bit more tender, the NY strip may have a more robust flavor and can be somewhat more affordable.
But if you want a truly tender texture and melt-in-your-mouth cut of steak, the filet mignon may be the best choice. Ultimately, your favorite cut may simply come down to personal preference.
More meat-related answers
Find more answers to frequently asked questions about steak, pairings, and meat storage with the links below.
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