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Can someone explain the allure of Tenderloin/Filet Mignon?

I do not understand why people order this cut. Strip Steak, Porterhouse/T Bone, Flat Iron, Skirt, Hanger, flip flops, etc.... all have better flavor and actually have the texture of meat.

The only reason I serve this is if I am going to be slicing it to serve cold w/ horseradish sauce.

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  1. Texture. The perception of ultra-tender, expensive beef. It does carry bearnaise nicely. And it's good in Steak Diane.

    1. Easy, for non-foodies it's "the best cut".

      Some people will argue for the high tenderness to fat content ratio (ie, it's healthier than a ribeye).

      As a doctor who knows better, I try to avoid red meat. When I indulge, it's almost always a ribeye. The thicker the better!

      17 Replies
      1. re: powermd

        YEAH! But I do love flank and skirt steak. I thought I loved top sirloin, too, but I made beef stroganoff last night with some Costco choice beef, and the meat was lackluster. I'm so disappointed. WE snarfed it down anyway.

        1. re: powermd

          Thicker and rarer! And another MD. Way better than cigarettes , and we could still be dead tomorrow.

          1. re: powermd

            As a doctor, you should know that it's not the red meat that's a problem, it's the big white bun, fries, the Coke and fried apple pie that accompany it. Or chemical curing.

            Grass fed and finished ribeye, seared then grilled med low and slow is delicious, and with a very health fat and anti inflammatory profile compared to feedlot beef.

            1. re: mcf

              Grass-fed does seem to be the key.

              "You are what you eat eats..."

              Red meat and saturated fats have been (probably wrongly) vilified. I have read that it was one flawed study and a lot of inaccurate publicity that condemned saturated fats to the unhealthy column.

              I wish the medical folks would catch up.

              1. re: sandylc

                They have, but some haven't been paying attention. A meta study released last year, I think it was, found no connection between saturated fat and CVD. And replacing fats with carbs has been found to be the culprit in many studies. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20...

                But feedlots breed a host of ills, that don't just end on our plates. And the USDA food guide is a license to kill, IMO. A lobbyist drawn document, not a scientific one.

                1. re: mcf

                  I personally have not yet met a doctor who didn't recommend a low-fat diet, yet say nothing about white carbs and food additives.

                  1. re: sandylc

                    I have; my former internist, my nephew the cardiologist, my current PCP. An old PCP of mine had a fit when I told him I was giving up the life sapping low fat diet for lower carb... til he saw my lab results weeks later. He was shaped like a tuna, cut the carbs and had to buy new clothes after that.

                    The docs recommending low fat and statins and who think cholesterol causes disease aren't doing their due diligence and reading good science that isn't spoon fed by industry guideline writers.

                    1. re: mcf

                      Our elderly are victims in particular here. I am trying to go along with my mom's doc in order to show some initial cooperation, but I'm going to have to assert myself shortly. She has had terrible side effects from the poisions that society seems to think are necessary.

                      High cholesterol is an indication of dietary/exercise deficiencies, not a disease unto itself. Our bodies produce cholesterol in an effort to self-medicate. It seems silly to just chemically squash our body's efforts to fix things, doesn't it?

                      1. re: sandylc

                        We're dangerously off topic here, but I'd be happy to discuss with you if you want to email me at the addy in my profile. I wish I'd been more assertive before my mother died of statin induced problems. She was a robustly healthy 86 y.o. web surfing, science fiction reading, busy, physically fit and active woman til those statins she never needed but took to be compliant.

                        1. re: mcf

                          Yup. Already done - great minds, etc.

                    2. re: sandylc

                      Well then you haven't me me, and you haven't met my husband! And while "fat" isn't the issue for most of us, Calories still can be, and eating an untrimmed 12 oz ribeye (from Costco!) every week can certainly contribute to obesity.

                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                        Calories matter, but fat calories matter less in terms of obesity because they don't cause a fat storage response when metabolized. In terms of weight loss, high fat/low carb dieters in studies have lost twice the weight on 50% more calories than lower calorie/fat/high carb dieters. That's because of the difference in hormonal responses to carbs vs. fats.

                        So it's not simply about trimming calories, though that certainly comes into play. I've been much more successful maintaining a normal weight by cutting lower calorie carbs and eating more fat, much more fat, than I used to. And if I trim the ribeye fat, it's to put it on my plate when it's cooked!

                        Your mileage may vary. :-)

                        1. re: mcf

                          " And if I trim the ribeye fat, it's to put it on my plate when it's cooked!"

                          Me too!

                          I often joke my husband is Jack Sprat, and I'm his wife. My daughter is similar to husband, in that neither can tolerate the texture of animal fat. And both love carbs, while I think they are a waste of space in my stomach.

                          My daughter decided to not eat meat around age 10, and has struggled with her weight ever since. I can't seem to convince her to try something different.

                          1. re: Shrinkrap

                            Mine tried that in her teens, but even with 100gms of other proteins daily, she felt weak and shaky, so gave it up. My veggie years were bad for my health, too, very bad. Hard to watch, and you can't fight over it with them, either. :-/

                            1. re: mcf

                              Just chiming in to echo everything mcf has said here. I lost about 60 lbs 13 years ago on the Atkins diet, and have maintained my weight (more or less) ever since by keeping my carbs under control. DH has also been successful in losing and maintaining with a low carb plan. My teenage stepdaughter doesn't care for meat and is resistant to trying low-carb plans, but she has tried everything else and her weight just keeps creeping higher and higher. Hopefully we can convince her to give it a try this summer...

                          2. re: mcf

                            >>>In terms of weight loss, high fat/low carb dieters in studies have lost twice the weight on 50% more calories than lower calorie/fat/high carb dieters.<<<

                            That sounds great to me. Before I take the plunge though into that kind of diet, do you have links to reputable studies that support your claim and also describe the side effects? I would like to read them first.

                            1. re: Fowler

                              Yes, there are quite a few but mods don't like clinical discussions here. I can tell you that you can find a lot of the discussion and citations in Gary Taubes' book based on a long history of obesity research "Good Calories, Bad Calories" or on youtube, where he's filmed making a presentation to obesity researchers at UC Berkeley. "There's also an article available online by him, "What if Dr. Atkins is Right?" Duke U has done some Atkins studies, Sonenberg (sp?) did a peds trila with that ration of weight loss and calories at Schneider Children's hospital.

                              If you need help finding what you're looking for, email me.

              2. You obviously don't care for it (flip flops??) so how can someone "explain the allure"?

                I don't understand the allure of butter lettuce, liver and onions, tuna salad or calves brains. Someone who loves them could not convince me otherwise, not matter how they "explained" it.

                Seriously- would any argument here suddenly make you go <head slap> now I get it! I will have to try it again!

                5 Replies
                1. re: foodieX2

                  It almost sounds like you're looking for a fight. Let's not have that. I love butter lettuce and tuna salad done well in appropriate dishes. See what i mean?

                  But I really do

                  1. re: EWSflash

                    Not at all looking for a fight. I don't see the allure of these foods even tho many people rave. My point is that no matter what the allure it's not going to change my opinion or tastes.

                    So while I could go on and on about all the reason I love X I am sure I wont convince someone who doesn't.

                    the person who started this thread seemed more in the fighting mood when he compare a commonly loved/preferred cut of beef to a flip flop. I have no dog in this fight-I don't really care for filet mignon when compared to other cuts of meat. But even if I did I don't think i could convince him otherwise

                    1. re: foodieX2

                      don't make assumptions that people can't change their minds with new information - I'm not likely to do so, but other peoples' thoughts/opinions contribute to the way I will see things in the future - I cook for a living and many of my clients request filet, I want to know if there is a reason besides the fact that it has a (dated) reputation as a decadent cut of beef... the low fat content is a factor that I was aware of already, I wonder if there are more - do some people prefer the tenderness (mushy in my opinion) over more flavor?

                  2. re: foodieX2

                    Are you sure? I mean has there been nothing that you disliked earlier in your life that you enjoy now? God I hope so;]

                    1. I wish someone could explain it to me as well. I dated a guy once who not only insisted on always cooking the steaks for Sunday steak night and refused to believe my explanation on the proper way to salt and the importance of resting, but also insisted on filet mignon every single time. He loved it. The texture is nice, but my filet mignon always met a good helping of blue cheese on top so that at least I'd have some flavor. But, to each his/her own, he likes it so should go with it however not force it on others.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        People get stuck in a mode, and if they don't know squat about cooking or grilling they do the exact same thng over and over and over and think it's the only way to go. With you on the filet, BTW

                        1. re: EWSflash

                          Yea, though as he knows I spend way too much time on Chowhound and Google researching cooking you figured he'd listen but yea most of us get stuck in our ways.

                      2. Another thing about filets: If you cook them past MR they are even MORE tasteless.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: sandylc

                          If you take a nice sized filet...butterfly it...cook it to well done the NHL will allow it to be used in a game.