How do you improve an already delicious filet mignon steak wrapped in bacon? By smoking it. The rich flavor of smoke in this recipe makes the steak even more indulgent. Find out how we added extra smoke to these gorgeous, thick bacon-wrapped filets and cooked them to rosy edge-to-edge perfection, topped with gorgonzola butter.
Filet Mignon: The Heart of the Beef Tenderloin
Filet mignon is from the tenderloin cut—the most tender muscle on the animal. These steaks are typically cooked quickly at a high temperature and removed from the heat source just as soon as the pull temperature is reached to preserve their naturally tender texture.
Edge-to-Edge Perfect Doneness
High-temperature cooking can easily lead to steaks with an overcooked gray band around the outside edge. This gray band looks undesirable and is also tough and dry.
Since foods cook from the outside in, the exterior of the meat has a higher temperature than the lowest temperature area in the thermal center. This is called thermal gradients.
High-temperature cooking environments (like grills) typically result in significant differences in temperature between the exterior of a food and the interior. Low-temperature cooking environments (like a BBQ smoker) can produce foods with more thermal uniformity and less dramatic temperature gradients. This is one of the keys to getting edge-to-edge doneness in a steak without the gray band—cook the interior of the meat low and slow, either in an oven, over indirect heat on your grill, or in a smoker.
How to Cook Filet Mignon on Your Smoker
➤ A two-stage cook with a reverse sear
The lower temperature part of the cook brings the steaks gently and evenly to an internal temperature of 100°F (38°C), then the high-temperature sear brings the internal temperature to 125°F (52°C), for a final resting temperature of about 130°F (54°C)—perfect medium rare doneness. The result is edge-to-edge rosy doneness with a flavorful browned exterior and no gray band area of overcooked meat.
In this two-stage cook we have two different pull temperatures. In the first low-temperature cook in the smoker we’ll bring the steaks to an internal temperature of 100°F (38°C). The second stage of the cook is our reverse sear over high heat. After searing, we’ll pull the steaks once their thermal centers reaches 125°F (52°C).
- Pull Temperature 1: 100°F (38°C)
- Pull Temperature 2: 125°F (52°C)
For more information on these cooking temperature ranges, see our post “The Difference Between Grilling & BBQ.”
Secret Step to Increase the Smoky Flavor!
Now for the juicy secret. How do you increase the smoky flavor in your meat? By extending the length of time it’s able to be in the smoker. To lengthen the steak’s exposure to the smoke without taking it past its pull temperature of 100°F (38°C) for the first part of the cook, we placed two of our steaks in the freezer for 20 minutes right before smoking.
The other two steaks were left out on the counter at room temperature for 20 minutes. (This is a common recommendation with steak recipes to help reduce gradients in the meat.) The internal temperature of those semi-frozen steaks was about 32°F (0°C) while the room temperature steaks were at about 56°F (13°C) before smoking, as verified on our Thermapen Mk4.
It took the frozen steaks an additional 20 minutes to reach their pull temperature before searing. More time in the smoker=more smokey flavor.
Smoked Filet Mignon Wrapped in Bacon with Herbed Butter and Gorgonzola Cheese Recipe
Based on a recipe from SlapYoDaddyBBQ.com
- 4 filet mignon steaks, about 4 oz. each
- Dry rub of your choice
- 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
- 4 slices bacon
- 4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 4 oz. crumbled gorgonzola cheese
- ThermaQ® Kit
- Thermapen® Mk4
- Mini Spoonula
- Wood chips (apple, cherry, and hickory work well)
- Wrap filet mignon steaks with 1 slice of bacon each, and secure with a toothpick.
- Prepare your smoker to maintain a temperature of 250°F (121°C).
- Secure your ThermaQ’s air probe to the surface of your smoker’s grate with a grate clip. Set one of your ThermaQ’s channels high and low alarms.
- High alarm: 255°F (124°C)
- Low alarm: 245°F (118°C)
- Add wood chips, light, and close the lid to start developing smoke.
- Place the wrapped filet mignon steaks onto a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and set in the freezer uncovered for 20 minutes (track the time with a TimeStick!).
- While the steaks are chilling in the freezer, crack the peppercorns and set aside.
- Make the compound butter:
- Add all prepared compound butter ingredients into a medium sized bowl.
- Using a mini spoonula, stir the ingredients together until they are well combined.
- Shape or scoop into balls, or pipe into rosettes and refrigerate.
- Once the smoker is ready and the steaks have been in the freezer for 20 minutes, apply spice rub and cracked pepper to the top and bottom sides of the steak.
- Place your ThermaQ’s Smokehouse Penetration probe into the center of the smallest steak.
- Place all of the steaks on your smoker’s grate and close the lid.
- Set your ThermaQ’s meat channel high alarm to 100°F (38°C) and let the steaks cook in the smoker.
- When your ThermaQ‘s meat alarm sounds spot-check the filet mignon in multiple areas with a Thermapen Mk4 to verify an internal temperature of 100°F (38°C).
- Remove the steaks from the smoker and set aside while you…
- Preheat your grill to 450-500°F (232-260°C). Verify your grill’s temp with an infrared gun on a cast iron skillet.
- Place the filet mignon steaks for about 7 minutes total, flipping frequently for even cooking.
- Spot-check the steaks with a Thermapen Mk4. Pull them from the grill once the lowest temperature found is 125°F (52°C).
- Transfer steaks to a carving board, sheet pan, or platter, and top each one with a bit of the compound butter. Tent with heavy-duty aluminum foil and rest steaks for 10-15 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
Many of our willing taste testers were able to sense the difference between the steaks that had been frozen prior to smoking and those that hadn’t. The ones that had been frozen had a smokier flavor and a silkier texture. It’s a simple tip with phenomenal results.
Filet mignon is already a luxurious steak on its own, but the smoky reverse sear and decadent compound butter turn this cut of meat into what we think may be the best steak you’ll ever have. With careful temperature control and tracking the success of this project is foolproof. Long live grilling and BBQ season!