Is Chateaubriand the same as filet mignon?

For my family, beef sits on the throne of the Christmas dinner table. Roast Beast to quote the genius that is Dr. Seuss. We usually flip a coin between prime rib and beef tenderloin. This is the latter. But wait… The title says something about a French castle. Well, chateaubriand is just a fancy way of saying the center part of the beef tenderloin which is what we carve up to make filet mignon. The center part, or the chateaubriand is one large, evenly sized roast. This recipe will explain how to carve the beef tenderloin into the chateaubriand and what to do with the remainder so that we do not waste any of that really expensive beef

Garlic and Onion Chateaubriand Ingredients

Compound Butter Ingredients

Chateaubriand Ingredients

I realize I hadn’t mentioned the compound butter in the intro and this part is completely optional but I highly recommend it. I also recommend making the butter the night before right before prepping the beef:

Buttery, butter, BUTTER!

To make compound butter, simply leave the sticks of butter on the counter for a few hours to soften up then put all the compound butter ingredients in a bowl and mix them up with one of those rubber spatulas. Use the same spatula to scrap every bit of that gloriousness onto a sheet of wax or parchment paper (or in this case 2 sheets of wax paper to put one in the freezer for later) and form into a giant compound butter tootsie roll:

As you can see in the above picture, a spatula was no where to be found and all that amazing compound butter is going to go to waste. Don’t let that happen! Also, best tootsie rolls ever!

Scroll down near the bottom and check out the video of this epic chunk of beef being sliced that I posted to our YouTube channel and please subscribe.

As soon as the butter is in the fridge or freezer we will prepare our chateaubriand. Here is a whole beef tenderloin that has been trimmed by the meat cutter:

How to Trim a Chateaubriand

The inherent problem with cooking the entire beef tenderloin at once is that one end is really fat and one is pretty skinny. So by the time the fat end is rare, the skinny end will be shoe leather. The trick is to make it a uniform thickness. First, let’s trim off that fat end:

The easiest way to do this is to pull that muscle back a bit and then run the knife blade across the fat that is holding that muscle to the rest of the tenderloin:

And here we have that fat end of beef tenderloin that can make for a phat steak or a couple slightly less phat steaks:

Next, at the other end there is another little chunk that is attached by a wad of fat. Let’s trim that off too:

Now we need to lop off the skinny ends:

Don’t throw away the beef tenderloin you trimmed off

But what to do with those little tapered ends? We have the same problem. By the time the thick end is cooked, the skinny end is way over done. The answer is grab some butchers string and make those tapered cuts uniform in thickness:

Put the fat end of one of the tapered cute to the skinny end of the other one. Add in that little bit from the narrow end of the tenderloin and make them into one uniform steak:

Now, tie the three pieces together. Here is our tied together steak next to the fat end of the beef tenderloin we lopped off earlier:

For a more detailed recipe on how to prep and cook tenderloin tails, check this link. 

Now, for our chateaubriand roast, trim off any excess fat or silver skin (that shiny skin that runs the length of the tenderloin):

Here is our perfectly trimmed chateaubriand:

Time to create a marinade for our beef tenderloin

My problem with beef tenderloin is the inverse ratio of high price and low flavor because of the lack of fat. But it is incredibly tender and has amazing mouth feel. And while I can’t help the price (which doesn’t bother me so much for Christmas dinner), I can add to the flavor. And it costs very little. All I need is a little Dorot Gardens fresh frozen garlic and herbs, vegetable oil, and some plastic wrap or aluminum foil. In this case I used garlic and onion:


Put the veggie oil into a bowl along with the 4 cubes of Dorot Gardens garlic and 2 cubes of the Dorot Gardens sauteed onions:

The garlic:

And the onion:

Work the garlic and onion around with a spatula:

We need to season the chateaubriand with salt and pepper:

Don’t forget to season the ends by daubing the flat ends onto the excess salt and pepper on the cutting board:

Then lay down a long sheet of plastic wrap or foil:

The key to tasty filet mignon

Set the beef down the middle of the plastic wrap or foil and spread the Dorot Gardens paste over it:

Don’t forget the ends:

Flip over the roast and apply the paste to the other side:

And wrap the beef up in the plastic wrap or foil

Deposit that in the fridge for 2-12 hours. It really only needs a couple hours, but it can go up to 12:

We actually cooked this after just 2 hours and it was spectacular. I’m not sure it would need any more than that, but that is entirely up to you. 

How is Chateaubriand best cooked?

Simple. On the grill. Not quite as simple is on the grill with a reverse sear method which is to smoke it to about 10 degrees short of the desired doneness temp then searing it to get that lovely flavor crust on the outside and raise the internal temperature of the meat that last 10 degrees. 

Now prepare the grill for indirect or two zone grilling with a hot zone and an indirect zone. Or in this case, I used my pellet grill and set the temp for 275. Any temp between 250-300 will do. Remove the plastic and let’s let the smoke and heat work their holiday magic:

Don’t guess on temp

I HIGHLY recommend some sort of probe thermometer. Luckily, my Green Mountain Grill pellet cooker has two built in. This beef tenderloin cost $98. I’m not guessing that it’s done when it comes to meat that expensive and in particular for a meal such as Christmas dinner. If you don’t have one, get one. Gift one to yourself. Merry Christmas to me! 

It does not take long for this roast to come up to temp. This is not a thick roast, so in about 50 minutes we were sitting at 115 internal temp:

We aren’t browning up much since the temp is so low:

I want some browning action so I take my chateaubriand out of the grill (along with my hasselback potatoes) and set them on a cutting board while I raise the temp of the grill to 500F. The reason I remove the meat is that I want it to brown up before it hits 145 so I don’t want the temp rising in the meat while I wait for the grill to get hotter. Then when it hits 500F in the grill, I put the soon to be roast beast back on. After a couple minutes of 500F I flip it over:

I also have my potatoes back on the grill too, foil open to get some smoke flavor:

When my beef tenderloin hit 140 I removed it from the heat and let it rest on yet another cutting board:

Check the glisten:

After 10 minutes of rest to let the juices redistribute, it’s time to slice:

Now, for me, I prefer my steak a little rarer than this, but I’m just going to say that this was probably the best beef tenderloin I’ve ever had. I mean chateaubriand to use the proper vernacular. And since this came out so beautiful and even, (due to being reverse seared, essentially) I will post a few pics here just because they are awesome:

Yes, that’s some of the real onion in that pic above from the Dorot Gardens! This stuff is legit!

Want a bite?

Are you sure?

Just one more cutting board pic. This one to show the smoke ring. It’s not as pronounced as with pork, but you can definitely see it. And notice how beautifully pink that end chunk is:

OK, time to get festive:

If you notice, that end piece is gone. Because I ate it!

I almost forgot to mention that Dorot Gardens does magical things to the hasselback potatoes. Add a pat of that compound butter and the butter melts into the potato and leaves all that great flavor on top:

And I’ll end with this one. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from my family to yours:

Simply serve a medallion of chateaubriand and a slice of butter on top and heaven awaits. 

If you have any questions or comments on this cook, feel free to leave them below or send me an email and I’ll get back to you as quickly as I can. 

Full disclosure. Dorot Gardens paid me to create recipes for them. I loved the idea of their product and was blown away with the flavor. My freezer will never be bereft of some Dorot Gardens. They have a client for life with this guy. I’m not kidding. I didn’t just do one recipe and think I had a good experience that one time I used them. I used them on some epic ribs and on my Thanksgiving turkey. And don’t get me started on those hasselback potatoes. Holy smoke! Dorot Gardens is not a one trick pony. They can be used in just about anything which is why they have a place in my freezer forever!

Also, you can follow us on our GrillinFools Facebook page and Instagram.

Scroll down just a little bit and check out the video we made slicing this epic piece of beef that I posted to our YouTube channel and please subscribe.

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Garlic and Onion Chateaubriand

Beef tenderloin trimmed out for Christmas dinner and slathered with flavor and reverse seared to make one spectacular garlic and onion chateaubriand
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Christmas Dinner


  • wax or parchment paper
  • plastic wrap or aluminum foil


Compound Butter Ingredients

Chateaubriand Ingredients


Compound Butter Instructions

  • Let the butter come up to room temp on the counter for a few hours, then combine with the rest of the compound butter ingredients and blend thoroughly
  • Place the softened compound butter on a sheet of wax or parchment paper (or two of these) and form into a giant tootsie roll

Chateaubriand Instructions

  • Trim the beef tenderloin down to the center part of the muscle creating one large roast
  • Season the beef with salt and pepper (don't forget the ends)
  • Then combine the Dorot Gardens onion and garlic cubes and vegetable oil and blend well to form a paste
  • Lay the chateaubriand on a piece of plastic wrap or sheet of foil
  • Slather both sides and the end with the Dorot Gardens paste
  • Wrap with the plastic wrap or foil and place in the fridge for 2-12 hours
  • Prepare the grill for two zone grilling with coals and smoke wood on one side and the meat on the other
  • Target temp inside the grill is 250-300
  • Remove the plastic wrap or foil and put the meat on the grill
  • Be sure to use a probe thermometer of some sort to monitor the internal temp of the beef
  • Once the chateaubriand reaches 110-115F internal remove the roast from the grill and crank it up to 500F+ and then sear it off around the outside
  • When it hits 135-145F internal remove from the grill and allow to rest
  • Slice and serve with a pat of the compound butter


And here are a few more pics of this epic meal fit for Christmas supper:










Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

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one comment

5 stars
We did a charity auction dinner for a local church recipient for a party of 8 last weekend using this recipe. What a total grand slam! I marinated the beef tenderloin the night before with Andria’s Steak Sauce. Seasoned with Santa Maria Style seasoning. I applied the Dorot’s garlic and onion paste two hours before grilling. At the end, I basted with Andria’s and melted butter mix. Removed at 135 degrees – perfection! The Dorot’s compound butter was a hit and so easy to make! Great recipe Scott! The winner bidder said this was the best meal he’d ever had and better than high end steak houses.


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