It’s not every night I’m armed with two pounds of center cut tenderloin filets, but when I am, I want it to count.
One of my favorite preparations is the martini marinated filets from Weber’s Charcoal Grilling cookbook. When a marinade requires a trip to the liquor cabinet, you know it’s going to be good.
On their own, filets are really good, but I find they need something more to be great.
The “more” in this case is a marinade consisting of gin, olive oil, lemon zest, and olive juice. We are basically grilling with your evening cocktail. Mix all of the ingredients together, add the meat, and place in a sealed container. After several hours marinating in the fridge, the filets are ready for a hot grill.
I have friends who shy away from grilling filets because it’s an expensive cut of meat that can be daunting to grill right. Thick filets can be tricky to cook because of their size. However, with the right plan they can be one of most amazing meals to come off your grill.
The best strategy for success is to use a two zone fire. Direct high heat to sear, and then indirect heat to cook to temperature. I love my filets medium rare, so when the instant read thermometer shows 135 F, I remove the meat from the grill and allow it to rest. My wife, hold your breath, likes her meat well done. Yeah, don’t get me started.
Regardless of how you like your meat cooked, using a two zone fire means I can still cook her filet to temperature without turning it into a hockey puck.
While the martini theme started with the marinade, it ends with the presentation. Crumble the steaks with blue cheese and spear each with a toothpick packed with olives. It’s guaranteed to be a meal you come back to...strike that, a great meal you can come back to!
Filet Mignon Steaks with Martini Marinade
By Jamie Purviance
Serves: 4 Prep time: 10 minutes Marinating time: 1 to 2 hours Grilling time: 8 to 10 minutes
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 filet mignon steaks, each about 8 ounces and 1¼ inches thick
8 green olives stuffed with pimentos (or 4 green olives and 4 cocktail onions)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces blue cheese
2 tablespoons gin
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon juice from a jar of green olives
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1. In a small bowl whisk the marinade ingredients.
2. Place the steaks in a large, plastic resealable bag and pour in the marinade. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade, place in a bowl, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
3. Skewer 2 olives (or 1 olive and 1 onion) onto each toothpick.
4. Prepare a two-zone fire for high heat.
5. Remove the steaks from the bag, letting the liquid drip away. Discard the marinade. Let the steaks sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before grilling. Season evenly with the salt and pepper. Brush the cooking grate clean. Grill the steaks over direct high heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until cooked to your desired doneness, 8 to 10 minutes for medium rare, turning once and swapping their positions as needed for even cooking. Remove the steaks from the grill and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Crumble the blue cheese over the top. Serve warm with a skewer of olives poked in the middle of each steak.