What Type Of Cut Are You Getting When Buying Steak Medallions?

All steaks are definitely not the same and that's not a value judgment about whether a filet mignon or a ribeye is the superior choice. We may have our meat preferences, but each cut of beef can be utterly divine, as long as it's properly prepared. This means you need to know what you're cooking and the best method to do so.

Perhaps you've been fortunate enough to order tournedos in a fine dining establishment or maybe you're even lucky enough to have dined on super-luxe tournedos Rossini like the ones at La Sirène in New York, which feature medallions of filet topped with foie gras. Having filed away the memorable experience of enjoying perfectly cooked medallions of filet, you may be delighted to discover what looks like a real treasure at your grocery store or butcher. But when you pick up a package of steak medallions or beef medallions, do you know what you're actually holding? 

Steak medallions can be from any cut of beef

If the medallions of steak you're holding are labeled "filet medallions," then they're cut from the tenderloin. This means you're holding a relatively lean, flavorful, tender, thinner-sliced filet, so the strategies you use to expertly prepare a full-sized filet can work. However, you'll need to adjust your cooking times to account for the smaller size. On the other hand, if the package is labeled "beef medallions," you could be holding any cut of steak. Your best bet is to find a butcher in the store and ask about the cut, getting the inside scoop on how you should handle the beef properly so you don't choose the wrong preparation in the kitchen or on the grill. 

If the butcher isn't available, use your senses, along with everything you know about cuts of steaks to determine how best to prepare your beef medallion. A relatively lean cut could be from the striploin, meaning it's not likely to be as tender as a thin-cut filet. If you see lots of muscle or connective tissue, you're unlikely to have a filet, which doesn't mean the medallion won't make a delicious meal. It just means you may need to handle it more like you would another cut of beef, perhaps with a flavorful marinade to give it more interest and with enough cooking time and heat to ensure it becomes tender.