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Filet Mignon vs. New York Strip: The Steak Comparison Series

Learn all the differences between filet mignon vs New York strip steaks. Anatomy, price, taste, texture, and the best cooking methods for each.

Let’s go!

a cutting board comparing a filet mignon with a new york strip steak
The Filet Mignon (L) and New York Strip Steak (R) are actually cut from the same steak, the porterhouse (C)

 

Where Filet Mignon and New York Strip are from on the Cow

Beef comes from a cow, but it’s not that simple.

The location that the beef is taken from will change every major characteristic of the beef.

a cow diagram showing where a filet mignon and new york strip steak are from

In the same way that your arm isn’t the same as your foot, a NY strip isn’t the same as a filet mignon.

To start things off, here’s a great video from Eater explaining where all the different cuts of steak come from on the cow.

Anatomy of New York Strip

A New York strip comes from the short loin on a cow. This cut is right behind the rib and in front of the prize meats (the sirloins and tenderloin).

Like the tenderloin, the short loin is also comprised of a muscle. The big difference is that the muscle in the short loin, the longissimus, is much larger. The result is more meat from a single cut, and larger steaks.

 

Anatomy of Filet Mignon

The filet comes from the tenderloin of a cow. This muscle is sandwiched between the sirloin, short loin, and top sirloin.

 

New York Strip and Filet Mignon: Two Sides of the Same Steak

So enough with the anatomy, here is an EASY way to remeber where the filet and New York Strip Steaks some from:

They come from each side of the bone on a porterhouse!

a porterhouse steak

That’s right, if you order a porterhouse, which is basically a very large cut t-bone steak, one side will be a strip steak, cut from the short loin, and the other side will be a filet, cut from the tenderloin.

So if you ever can’t decide, order a porterhouse and have both!

 

Alternate Names for New York Strip Steak and Filet Mignon 

When you go to a butcher or sit down at a restaurant, you might see a few slightly different names for each of their steaks.

Here are some of the common names for these two types of steaks, as well as close relatives.

 

NY Strip

If your New York strip has a bone in it, no need to call the butcher – it was just mislabeled.

A New York strip that has a bone is technically a Kansas City strip.

two new york strip steaks on a grill

If the cut is attached to the bone with a piece of tenderloin included as well, it’s called a porterhouse or a T-bone.

The former has a larger bit of tenderloin. A T-bone with no tenderloin might also be called a shell steak.

The traditional New York strip is also known as an ambassador steak, boneless club steak, hotel-style steak, top loin, strip loin steak, sirloin, veiny steak, or an Omaha strip.

The original name derives from the late 1820s.

Brothers who ran Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City took the Kansas City strip and removed the bone upon a few customers’ requests.

Apparently, it was hit with the people in the area.   The name New York strip was coined and stuck.

 

Filet Mignon

Besides a standard cut of filet mignon, you can also sometimes find a long-bone filet or bone-in filet.

a filet mignon on a plate

A long-bone filet is simply a bone-in filet that has a bone of around 8 inches. The taste is the same, but the cost might be double or triple.

Bone-in filets are highly coveted because only two bone-in filets can be cut from a single steer.

You may also find that a filet can also be called an eye fillet or filet mignon.

 

Within a filet, there are three types of cuts:

  • the butt
  • the tail
  • the center-cut

The tail isn’t as desirable as the other two.

Often, you won’t find a tail served as a steak dish, but it is often used in recipes that call for beef such as stews.

 

Filet Mignon vs. New York Strip: Taste, Texture, and Fattiness

Now it’s time for the important section: how good do the different cuts of meat taste?

Of course, the way that you prepare the meat, such as smoking or grilling will play a big role in how delicious the plated steak is. The following are just generalizations about the meat.

 

New York Strip

The short loin is an especially muscly area of the cow.

The result?

It’s not as flavorful as a ribeye, nor is it as tender as a filet.

a seasoned new york strip steak

It’s a chewier cut that has a decent amount of fat on the sides, yet nowhere near the amount of marbling you will find on a ribeye.

A New York strip is also typically a bigger cut of meat compared to a filet mignon.

If you want a bigger steak than a filet but not as fatty as a ribeye, then the New York Strip is your best bet.

A bone-in version of the New York Strip strip, which also includes a filet, is called a porterhouse, and is one of the biggest steaks you’ll find in most steakhouses.

Unless of course they serve a cowboy ribeye or tomahawk ribeye for two.

 

Filet Mignon

The filet is the most tender part of the cow.

The muscle in question is the psoas major, and while this spinal muscle is works hard to help hold up humans who stand on two legs all day, it doesn’t do anything on animals that stand on 4 legs all day like cows  – hence a tender cut of beef.

A filet is arguably one of the most popular cuts of steak in both steakhouses and butcher shops around the world.

a medium rare filet mignon cut in half

The taste itself is really tender and buttery, especially if cooked medium rare to medium.

However, due to its lower fat content than a new york strip, it can be easier to overcook, and some steak aficionados who correlate fat with flavor, might consider this cut too soft and don’t prefer the leanness compared to the new york strip.

 

How to Cook a Filet Mignon vs. a New York Strip Steak

As previously mentioned, any cut of meat is only as good as how it’s cooked and prepared.

A good steak can be cooked on a pellet grill, a gas grill, in a skillet, or even smoked and reverse seared.

For straightforward, everyday preparations of each though, here’s what the pros suggest:

 

How to Cook a New York Strip Steak

A New York strip is really easy to cook and it’s harder to mess up than a filet, making it a great “all around steak” in terms of taste, size, price, and ease of cooking.

Since there’s less fat in the cut, there’s a smaller opportunity for a flare-up on the grill, but it does cook faster than a fattier ribeye.

The best way to cook the steak is to first sear it to get a nice outer crust.

Season the strip steak well with some salt and fresh ground black pepper. You’ll start by searing it in a skillet on high heat with a high smoke point oil like avocado or grapeseed oil.

If grilling the steak, you can put it over some roaring hot charcoal or a high heat gas burner for about 4 minutes on both sides.

You want the internal temperature to get to 130°F before pulling it off. Always use a good quality instant read thermometer like our favorite affordable one from Powlaken.

Don’t forget to let it rest for another 5 to 10 minutes after you take it off the flame.

 

How to Cook Filet MIgnon

Since there is very little fat, a filet will cook faster than other cuts of beef.

This cut of meat is also a little special because you don’t want to cook it any more than medium-rare.

Beyond that point, you’ll lose the great tenderness of the meat.

You’ll start by searing it in a skillet on high heat with a high smoke point oil like avocado or grapeseed oil.

If grilling, you can put the steak over some roaring hot charcoal or a high heat gas burner for about 4 minutes on both sides.

You want the internal temperature to get to 130°F before pulling it off. Always use a good quality instant read thermometer like the Powlaken.

Let the filet rest for 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Do not stack your stekas or cover them in foil as they will continue cooking too much while resting.

Your filet mignon should rise about another 5°F while resting.  Once it hits 135°F internally, it should be a perfect medium rare.

 

Finishing in the Oven

In some cases, if you are cooking filet mignons that are more than about 1.5-2 inches thick, you may need to finish them in the oven.

an oven for finishing thick filet mignon steaks

You do this after searing to get the internal temperature up to where you want it without burning the exteriors of very thick steaks.

Preheat your oven and a baking sheet to about 325°F. After searing the outside for about 4 minutes on each side in a skillet  transfer the steaks to the baking sheet.

Alternatively, if you are cooking on a grill, set up your grill for 2-zone cooking.

After searing on the hot side for 4 minutes on each side, move the stekas to the warm, indirect side to finish cooking.

Either way, watch your internal temperatures very closely and do not leave the steaks unattended or they will likely overcook.

It should not take long to bring them the rest of the way up to 130°F before you need to pull them to rest.

 

Price of Filet Mignon vs. New York Strip Steaks

So now that you know all about the different cuts of beef, let’s talk dollar signs.

The average price for each cut of beef will obviously vary depending on where you live, where you shop for meat, and what grade of meat you are purchasing.

There are three main grades of beef from the USDA and they are based on a number of factors but the most important one is fat content.

The main grades for steak are:

  • Select (lowest rated)
  • Choice
  • Prime (highest rated

While there is nothing wrong with select or choice cut meat for ground beef or stew meat, when it comes to steak, you definitely want to buy prime if you can.

While prime graded steaks are more expensive and a little harder to find you will truly notice the difference, especially if preparing a thick cut filet or ribeye steak,

The better steakhouses in the world will ONLY serve prime grade steaks.

For reference, we used pricing for prime grade cuts from MarketHouse, and Bringhurst Meats for price per pound.

 

Price of Filet Mignon

A thick-cut, prime grade filet mignon will cost around $35-50 for a 6-8 oz portion in a fancy steakhouse, and maybe half that amount for you to buy a raw one yourself at a quality butcher to cook at home.

 

Price of New York Strip

A prime NY Strip will cost on average $32 in a nice steakhouse, depending on size making it less expensive per oz than the filet mignon, and usually less expensive than the ribeye due to its smaller size.

 

Aged Filet Mignon vs. New York Strip Steaks

Another term you’ll see thrown around, mostly in nice steakhouses, is whether a filet or ribeye is dry aged or wet aged.

These are just two ways of aging beef. When beef ages, the enzymes in the meat break down the connective tissue and make the cut of meat more tender.

 

Dry Aged Beef

In the old days, butchers would hang the meat to age in their freezers.

While it was hanging there, a lot of the water weight would drip off. The beef would be more dense and have less blood in the cut of meat.

The result of dry aging is a beefier flavor in the beef. Who doesn’t love beefy tasting beef?

Nowadays, more butchers, chefs, and steak connoisseurs are opting for dry aged beef for this very reason:  More intense flavor.

dry aged new york strip steaks
Dry aged New York strip steaks

Now, dry aging takes time, which costs money, so expect to pay more for dry aged beef.

Some people are also turned off by the term “dry”, believing that they don’t want a dry steak.

Don’t worry.

Dry aged steaks are just as juicy as non-aged steaks because the “juiciness” people describe when they eat steaks and burgers actually comes from the melted fat, not water, in the beef.

And the fat doesn’t go anywhere when the steaks are dry aged, only the water content.

 

Wet Aged Beef

Later, people realized that you could vacuum seal the beef and it will also age.

By wet aging, there’s more water weight in the steak which means more profit for the butcher since they sell the meat per pound.

The problem, however, is that the meat can’t breathe when it’s wet aged.

The beef is also in contact with its own myoglobin while it is aging. The result is a more sour flavor.

For this reason, wet aging has kind of fallen out of fashion, so stick with dry aged filet mignon and ribeyes when you can find them.

You will not regret it.

 

Sources

https://www.dmagazine.com/publications/d-magazine/2011/may/a-guide-to-steakhouse-meat-cuts/

https://ownthegrill.com/ny-strip-vs-ribeye-steak/

https://www.seriouseats.com/2011/03/the-four-high-end-steaks-you-should-know-ribeye-strip-tenderloin-t-bone.html

https://www.mychicagosteak.com/steak-university/ribeye-filet-mignon-comparison/

https://www.markethouse.com/blogs/the-sizzle/new-york-strip-vs-ribeye-what-s-the-difference

 

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