Filet Mignon vs Ribeye: Is There Even A Difference?

When BBQing or meat smoking, it is important you learn about the different types of steak.

This can help you cook better and avoid awkward conversations at the dinner table. 

In this edition of ‘meat vs meat,’ I will be looking at ribeye vs filet mignon.

I know these are two totally different cuts of meat.

Both types of steak are delicious and luxurious but come from entirely different parts of the cow.

Below is a comparison between filet mignon and ribeye.

This will help you decide which one is best suited to your taste.

Plus I’ll show you how to cook these two types of beef perfectly. Let’s get started.

Our two ribeye steaks ready to go on the grill!

What Is the Technical Definition of Ribeye?

The ribeye is cut from the primal section, known as the beef rib. 

This is the same area that the prime rib roast comes from. Unlike the prime rib roast, the ribeye steak is usually grilled

The ribeye has a lot of fat marbling compared to other cuts of beef.

That is because this section of the cow has more intramuscular fat.

The fat marbling gives the ribeye a buttery flavor. It is known among meat lovers as the most flavorful and juicy of all steaks.

The ribeye has three parts, the complexus, spinalis and the lonissimus forsi.

I wouldn’t get more technical than that (your here for the yummy steak, not a biology lesson). If you want more information see the Omaha Steaks in-depth guide.

Like learning about steak? We also compare ribeye to sirloin, these two cuts come from totally different parts of the cow.

So it’s interesting to see the different cooking methods.

Where Does The Ribeye Come From?

Ribeye is cut from ribs 6 to 12 of the cow. Most butchers also cut the rib steak and prime rib roast from this location.

A ribeye is usually boneless whereas a rib steak has the bone left in.

Both are oval to round in shape and usually have a lot of fat marbling.

piece of ribeye ready to grill
My piece of rib eye ready to grill

What Is the Technical Definition of Filet Mignon?

Filet Mignon is a French phrase that translates to ‘dainty filet.

The filet mignon is two-inch steaks, cut from the tenderloin filet.

The tenderloin gets very little exercise. This lack of movement means not much connective tissue built up is up.

Therefore as the cows mature the meat stays tender.

Porterhouse and T-bone steaks include the filet mignon as the medallion of meat

piece of filet mignon on cutting board
My beef tenderloin waiting to be sliced into filet mignons

Where Does Filet Mignon Come From?

The filet mignon comes from the tenderloin.

The tenderloin extends from the ribs to the backbone of the cow.

Each cow has two tenderloins, one on each side of the ribs.

This muscle isn’t weight-bearing, so it is very tender with little connective tissue in it.

The entire tenderloin is cut into two-inch portions and these are the filet mignon steaks.

However, I think the best meat comes from the center of the tenderloin.

difference between ribeye and filet mignon on cutting board
Beef tenderloin I cut into filet mignon steak. Yum!!

Does the ribeye and a filet mignon come from the same part of the cow

No, ribeye and a filet mignon do not come from the same part of the cow.

The filet mignon comes from the tenderloin. The tenderloin extends from the ribs to the backbone of the cow.

Whereas the ribeye comes from the rib section, specifically cut from ribs 6 to 12

You Might Also Be Interested In
Read: Beef Ribs Vs. Pork Ribs, What’s The Difference?
Read: Best BBQ Sides to Please a Crowd!

Filet or Ribeye: What’s the Difference?

The main difference between the two types of steak lies in their location.

The ribeye is from the side of a cow while the filet mignon is cut from the tenderloin, a muscle just below the backbone.

Another difference between these two types of steak is in the muscles that they are made up of.

The ribeye has generously sized and is well-marbled.

The filet mignon, on the other hand, has small and fine lines of fat running through it.

The ribeye is butchered into large cuts, while the filet mignon is cut into 2-inch steaks.

Lastly, the flavors of the two types of steak are different.

The filet mignon is not as flavorful as the ribeye. The ribeye has a higher fat content than the filet mignon.

Which Steak Should You Pick?

I think the ribeye is good for people who prefer the flavor, whereas the filet mignon is better for those who prefer the texture.

You want to pick the freshest steak, so how do you know if steak is bad? Follow the checklist!

Ribeye vs. Filet Mignon Differences Comparison Table

RibeyeFilet Mignon
High-fat contentLow-fat content
Largley CutCut into serving size
Tender textureSoft texture
MarbledFine grained muscle

Difference in Appearance

The most noticeable difference between the filet mignon and ribeye steak is in their sizes.

The ribeye is larger than the filet mignon.

Even though there could be variations in the cut, the typical ribeye steak is almost twice the size of the filet mignon.

A further look at the cuts of the ribeye and filet mignon shows more differences in their appearance.

A filet mignon has a large number of fine-grained muscles, with little fat in thin streaks around it.

The ribeye, on the other hand, is well-marbled. Fat can be seen all over the ribeye, including a strip through the middle and around the edge.

Lastly, you will also notice that the ribeye has more myoglobin giving it a deep-red coloring.

The myoglobin content in the filet mignon is far less, causing it to have a pale-red coloring.

Difference in Texture

The ribeye and filet mignon are made from two different muscles, and so have different textures.

The tenderloin of a cow is hardly used throughout its lifetime, so the filet mignon cuts are very tender.

I find that a filet mignon just melts almost instantly in the mouth. There are few connective tissues in this steak, and so you would rarely have tough bits to chew.

On the other hand, the ribeye is much tougher than the filet mignon.

Nevertheless, the fat content of the ribeye steak gives it a juicy and tender texture as long as it is cooked properly.

It is not as soft as the filet mignon, but more tender than other beef cuts.

Lastly, ribeye steak is generally thicker than the filet mignon because of its fatty layer at the sides and edges.

The Cost: Ribeye Steak vs Filet Mignon

In general, the filet mignon is generally more expensive than the ribeye.

However, in most restaurants and steakhouses they are both expensive items on the menu

How to Cook Ribeye & Filet Mignon to Perfection

The methods of cooking a ribeye and filet mignon are quite different. 

Ribeyes can be cooked at high temperatures. We have outlined below the steps for cooking each type of steak.

Subsitutues for Ribeye

Can’t afford ribeye? Or maybe you can’t find it at the butcher or supermarket.

See some alternatives for ribeye here.

Steps to Cooking a Cook Ribeye

  • Your ribeye should at room temperature before cooking.
  • You should rub some olive oil on both sides of the beef. This will prevent it from drying up and sticking to the surface of the pan or grill. You can also sous vide your ribeye.
  • Then season the steak with salt and pepper.
  • The pan or grill should also be oiled. Make sure to allow the oil to heat up first
  • Sear the ribeye for 2-4 minutes per side and cook to desired doneness

Smoking a Ribeye – On a Traeger

You don’t just have to grill ribeye, you can smoke it too

See the 8 simple steps to smoking a ribeye here.

Smoking a Prime Rib

Want to smoke a prime rib roast?

It is an expensive cut so you have to get this right.

Follow my smoked prime rib on a pellet grill recipe so that it comes out perfectly juicy and moist.

Steps to Cooking a Filet Mignon

  • Your filet mignon should at room temperature before cooking. So, take it out of the fridge!
  • Then, pat-dry the steak with a paper towel to absorb the moisture that will prevent the steak from getting an even crust.
  • Next, generously season the steak with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a cast-iron pan or grill or salt block for your steak . Add oil and allow it to heat.
  • Place the steak on the pan or grill without moving or turning it for about two to three minutes.
  • For medium-rare, remove the steak from the heat when it reaches 120 F

Smoking a Filet Mignon

Which Cut is Easier to Grill?

Different approaches can be taken when grilling each of these cuts. 

The ribeye cut has more fat than the filet mignon. This can cause flareups and charring of the steak.

Whereas filet mignon is a lean cut and is easy to overcook due to the lack of fat and connective tissue.

Sometimes we wrapped in bacon or other cured meats to protect it. 

If we are cooking it in a pan, sometimes I baste it. Basting involves adding a few spoons of butter until it melts in the pan. Then, you can spoon it over the steak frequently.

I don’t find one harder to cook than the other, just need to be aware of different things, like overcooking or flareups.

When cooking a filet mignon or ribeye, you should strictly adhere to the rule of not touching or turning it more than once.

I love both filet mignon and ribeye steaks. They are quite different in shape, cost, and texture, but are both delicious.

I find they are both notoriously expensive types of steak so I save them both for special occasions.

Enjoy your steak!

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