For seasoning the steaks, we prefer coarse-grained kosher salt because it's easier to sprinkle than fine-grained table salt. For grilling the steaks, we prefer hotter-burning hardwood charcoal, though regular briquettes are fine, too. If you use briquettes, use one large chimney-full (about 6 pounds); you may also have to sear the steaks about 30 seconds longer per side. If the filets are misshapen or unevenly cut, as supermarket steaks sometimes are, tie each one before grilling. We recommend serving the filets with one of the following flavored butters or olive oil; salsa verde is another excellent option.
- 4 center-cut beef filet mignons, 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick, 7 to 8 ounces each, patted dry with paper towels
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- Table salt
- Ground black pepper
Ignite about 6 quarts (1 large chimney, or about 2 1/2 pounds) hardwood charcoal and burn until covered with a thin coating of light gray ash, about 15 minutes. Empty the coals into the grill; build a two-level fire by arranging two-thirds of the coals evenly in one half of the grill and spreading the remaining coals in a single layer over the other half. Position the grill grate over the coals, cover the grill and heat until the grate is hot, about 5 minutes; scrape the grill grate clean with a grill brush. The grill is ready when the thicker layer of coals is medium-hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above the grill grate for 3 to 4 seconds).
Meanwhile, rub each side of the steaks with 1/2 teaspoon oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Grill the steaks, uncovered, on the hotter side of the grill until well browned on each side, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes per side (if flare-ups occur, extinguish the flames with a spray bottle filled with water). Move the steaks to the cooler side of the grill and continue cooking, turning once after 3 minutes, to desired doneness, about 6 minutes total for rare (120 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer; the center of the steaks is soft and cherry red when cut with tip of paring knife), about 7 minutes for rare/medium-rare (125 degrees F), about 8 minutes for medium/medium-rare (130 degrees F), or 9 to 10 minutes for medium (135 to 140 degrees F). Transfer the steaks to a platter and let rest 5 minutes.
Recipe reprinted by permission of America's Test Kitchen. All rights reserved.
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