Filet Mignon vs New York Strip: The Premium Steak Cuts

Reading Time: 4 minutes Back to 4 minutes version
photo by Bradley Hawks licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

While Filet Mignon is considered by many to offer the softest texture of all steaks, it’s not always at the top of the list for flavor alone. It’s a great choice for a high-class meal that impresses someone, yet you have a lot of other options for a delicious steak dinner. Many of them come with slightly lower price tags as well. The New York Strip Steak may have the most flavor of all beef steaks, depending on who you ask. Find out how the New York Strip Steak stacks up against the popular Filet Mignon and learn what each cut does best to make the right choice.

What is a Filet Mignon?


Inside each cow is the tenderloin, a long bundle of muscle that connects the end of the rib cage and the rear muscle groups like the rump. Buried deep inside and under the spine, the tenderloin receives very little exercise. This means that it’s very tender, especially when cut into medallions. Filet Mignon is best when cut from the narrow end of a tenderloin, but the name is also used for medallions cut from the wider end of the muscle. The meat is not very marbled, yet tender and flavorful despite being lean.

What is a New York Strip Steak?

The New York Strip Steak is cut from the beef strip loin, which is a section of muscle near the thinner front end of the tenderloin. It’s the favorite of many butchers and steak house owners because it is highly marbled, still more tender than many other cuts, and rich with classic beef flavor. Since the New York version in particular is cut from the shorter side of the loin closer to the tenderloin, it receives little exercise and is nearly as tender as the Filet Mignon.

Differences between Filet Mignon and New York Strip Steak

The differences between these two cuts of beef start at the surface, but they go much deeper as well.

Meat Cut

These two steaks may come from the same general area on a cow, but they’re cut from two different groups of muscle. The Filet Mignon comes from the tenderloin, which is the most tender meat on any cow. A New York Strip Steak is cut from the strip loin, offering nearly as much tenderness and a slightly denser texture.

Cost

Both are premium steak cuts, but the New York Strip is definitely slightly less expensive than the Filet Mignon. This makes it a better choice for everyday enjoyment, while the Filet is mostly reserved for special occasions.

Size

When cut from the tenderest side of the tenderloin, individual Filet Mignon medallions are quite small. They can weigh as little as 4 to 6 ounces each and may only measure a few inches across. In comparison, the New York Strip Steak is a much larger cut of beef. They tend to measure around 16 oz, although heavily trimmed versions can reach 10 or 12 oz.

Appearance

The meat of the Filet Mignon is a cherry red color with only very fine white marbling through it. The medallion should be fairly rounded, with no visible fat or connective tissues left around the edges in most cases. A high-quality New York Strip has a much more marbled appearance in the center, with an edge of solid fat left around the top and sides for extra flavor. Both tend to be cut quite thick.

Texture

For a fork-tender steak that needs no knife to cut it, you’ll have to choose the Filet Mignon. However, the New York Strip Steak is also quite tender, especially when cooked sous vide or with another slow cooking method. The Strip cut does have a little more texture to it, but it’s still quite juicy and soft.

Flavor

The New York Strip Steak definitely wins in the flavor category, at least among many steak connoisseurs. It’s all in the marbling and the edge fat that melts into the meat with the right cooking method. This is not to say that Filet Mignon doesn’t taste great as well. It’s just primarily chosen for its texture rather than strictly for a strong beef flavor.

Bone Content

Filet Mignon is practically always boneless. There is just no bone to leave in the tenderloin when it’s properly trimmed away from the spine and ribs. New York Strip Steak is available in both boneless and bone-in cuts. Due to the extra weight of the bone, individual bone-in New York Strip cuts can weigh over 20 oz.

Fat Content

The New York Strip is definitely a higher-fat option. Filet Mignon is one of the leanest cuts of beef you can choose, despite how tender it stays.

Cooking Methods

Both cuts respond well to practically all cooking methods if handled with care. Since the Filet Mignon is lean, it benefits from either short exposure to high heat or medium lengths of exposure to low heat. The New York Strip can better handle smoking and extended periods of grilling without getting too dry. Adding a cream or au jus sauce is a common way to add juiciness after frying or baking a Filet Mignon.

Nutrition

Both cuts of steak are a good source of protein and iron, but the Filet Mignon is much leaner. This makes it better for a diet where saturated fat and cholesterol are limited. If you are on a Keto diet or similar meal plan, you may prefer the New York Strip specifically because it does have a higher protein and fat content.

Filet Mignon

Pros

  • Fork tender meat
  • Juicy and flavorful
  • Pairs well with sauces and toppings like sauteed mushrooms
  • Dramatic and impressive-looking medallion shape

Cons

  • Not always as flavorful as other cuts
  • Small size and low weight may not fill up big eaters
  • More expensive than other steaks
  • Requires careful cooking to avoid dryness.

New York Strip

Pros

  • Some of the strongest beef flavors of any steak
  • Well-marbled meat is tender and juicy
  • More affordable for everyday eating
  • Adaptable for grilling, smoking, and more without drying out
  • Big enough to split between two people with smaller appetites, further lowering the cost

Cons

  • Higher in saturated fat in particular
  • Larger than the standard serving size for beef
  • Still more expensive than some other cuts.

Conclusion

Both types of steak work well for certain situations. Filet Mignon should grace your table for those special birthday and anniversary dinners, but you can’t miss out on the rich flavor of a New York Strip Steak either. Find them both here at Chicago Steak Company.