Tag Archives: filet

bacon-wrapped filet mignon

A bacon-wrapped filet is one of life’s simple joys

Why bring bacon and filet mignon together?

Of course, it makes sense. It seems like a question that does not need to be asked by any sane person. Crispy bacon and a delectable, tender steak together?

But, have you ever paused, mid-savory bite, and just momentarily think, who thought of THIS?

Believe it or not, there is a pretty good reason why it’s a good idea to wrap a filet in bacon.

Why do we wrap filet mignon in bacon?

Filet mignon comes from one of the least fatty parts of a cow, which is the reason it is so tender. However, this can also be a reason why some folks don’t like filets as much as, say, a well-marbled ribeye. The lack of fat also means a lack of some of the flavors that we — as a steakhouse-packing public — have come to love.

Wrapping a filet in bacon allows for some of the savory, smokey goodness inherent in bacon to seep into the filet when cooking. The fat also burns off the bacon, creating a crispy sear when grilling or cooking in a cast iron pan, or other stovetop methods.

Filet mignon, a lean cut from the little-used tenderloin section of a cow. It has little to no marbling, or intramuscular fat, due to its lack of use. Grass-fed cattle, however, do produce filets with some unique marbling and depth that isn’t found in grain-fed and finished cows. Butter, ghee, or some other fatty dairy product like blue cheese is often added when cooking to up the fat content and flavor.

As filets are often grilled, seared, or roasted, adding fats is vital to keeping the cut moist and tender. If it is cooked without added fats like butter or bacon, a filet can quickly dry out.

No one wants to waste a spectacular — and pricey — cut of beef like filet mignon by cooking it wrong.

How to cook a bacon-wrapped filet mignon

A grilled bacon-wrapped filet is a spectacular treat and is relatively easy to pull off — cook on high-heat for between four to six minutes on each side, and let it rest for 5- 10 minutes to get a perfect medium-rare finish.

However, searing and roasting is — in many people’s minds, including our ButcherBox Head Chef Yankel Polak —  the best way to approach a filet mignon to get the most delicious results.

According to Chef Yankel, a meal centered on a filet mignon wrapped in bacon is, “Romantic and luxurious.” 

“It is the perfect dinner for an indulgent night in,” he adds.

Below is the recipe for Chef Yankel’s bacon-wrapped filet recipe with buttermilk mashed potatoes and a mushroom wine sauce. Yankel’s recipe calls for wrapping a couple of ButcherBox filet mignons in ButcherBox bacon, which you can do with either a toothpick or butcher’s twine. You can also watch Chef Yankel lead you through this bacon and filet delight at the bottom of the page.


Bacon-Wrapped Filet with Buttermilk Smashed Potatoes and Mushroom Wine Sauce

This recipe serves two people. It takes five minutes to prep and 40 minutes to cook. 


  • 2 ButcherBox filet mignons
  • 4 strips ButcherBox bacon
  • 2 c small multicolor potatoes
  • 3 Tbsp salt for boiling potatoes
  • ¾ c buttermilk
  • ¼ c butter for potatoes
  • ¼ c chives
  • ½ c dry red wine
  • 1 cup assorted mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • ½ c heavy cream
  • ghee or avocado oil for searing
  • 2 Tbsp butter for basting
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place potatoes in a pot, cover with salted cold water and bring to simmer. Cook until fork-tender.

  2. Drain water and add buttermilk, butter, chives and gently smash potatoes until buttermilk and butter are fully absorbed. Season with salt and pepper.

  3. Season filet mignons on both sides with salt and pepper.

  4. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lay two strips of bacon side by side with a tiny bit of overlap. Lay filet on top of bacon as though it was a wheel and roll up bacon around the filet. Secure with two small pieces of string each tied around one strip of bacon. Repeat for the second filet.

  5. Preheat cast-iron pan, add ghee or oil, and sear filets on all sides, 2-3 min per side. Add remaining butter and baste for additional 2 min on all sides. Place pan in oven and roast for 8-10 min.

  6. Remove pan from oven when the thermometer inserted into the center of filet reads 120°F. Set steaks aside.

  7. Place pan on stove top on medium heat. Add mushrooms to pan and sauté in pan juices for 3 min.

  8. Add red wine and cook until liquid is reduced by half.

  9. Add heavy cream and cook until liquid is reduced by half again, stirring every min or so.

  10. Serve filet over potatoes and top with mushroom wine sauce.

Happy Eating!

Wine with Steak Grilled ribeye beef steak with red wine, herbs and spices on wooden table

Wine with steak: Finding the perfect pairing

There are plenty of reasons why red wine pairs so well with a delicious steak. Some are cultural, some are even scientific, but for most people, the perfection of this pairing comes down to the magic it performs on our palate.

I love pairing wine with steak. And, honestly, nothing brings out the beefy characteristics of our grass-fed steaks like a heady red wine.

When trying to decide how to pair your booze with your dinner, you should start with the cut of meat.

Braised roasts and ribeyes have richer, fattier flavors and need a deep, full-bodied wine to hold up. These pair best with a cabernet or Zinfandel for example. For leaner cuts like sirloin steaks and round roasts a mellower wine like pinot noir or merlot work nicely.

You can get even better pairings by matching characteristics of your seasonings and sauces with notes that the wines exhibit. For example, mushrooms and onions pair well with wines with spicier characteristics; sweeter sides dishes taste best with fruitier wines.

A vital step to pair wines and beef is to make sure you put some thought into how you plan to use the two together.

What I mean is that you should keep both the meat and wine in mind as you plan your meal. You may have a dish you want to try cooking or a wine you’ve discovered that you’re itching to drink. Don’t just cook the dish without thinking of the wine or pick a wine without thinking about how it pairs. You need to balance the other half based on the choice you make with the other. If you began with wine, choose a dish that has a complimentary flavor profile. If you choose to begin with a dish, find a wine that will add to the experience.

Cooking with wine has a few different rules, but the main key is to only cook with a wine you would enjoy drinking. There are plenty of delicious, affordable wines, so choose one that you like. You don’t want to use a $50 bottle of cabernet sauvignon as the base of a rosemary and red wine sauce for a filet, no matter how expensive the cut.

I highly recommend a book called Culinary Artistry for a detailed break down on flavor combinations. In my early days of menu creations, this book was my bible.

I recently put together a 10-course wine dinner with a focus on Burgundy. I began my recipe creation process by exploring all the different notes Burgundy wines exhibit — flavors like vanilla, cocoa, and pepper, as well as coffee and various berries. I then picked proteins like salmon and oysters, and hearty steaks like ribeyes and chuck steaks to balance the astringency or acidity of those tastes. I also flavored the meat with rubs and sauces that incorporated notes from the various wines. This way, each bite complements each sip and vice versa.

One thing to note, you are not always going to find a perfect match between your protein and your win. That’s fine! As you experiment more and more, you will notice what works and what doesn’t. Your palate becomes more discerning, alerting you to imbalances when some taste is not quite right.

Just remember, the number one rule for pairing your wine and meat is to make sure one flavor doesn’t overwhelm the other.

Balance is the key to successful wine and food pairings.

The true joy of the pairing comes when you take that bite of steak, and wash it down with a sip of wine, and you know immediately: You nailed it.

There is no sensation quite like a pairing working in perfect harmony in your mouth.  


The view from our outdoor kitchen.

How ButcherBox — and our fantastic chef — pulled of a fall farm dinner in New England

Early last month, on a surprisingly mild October evening outside of Boston, ButcherBox held a farm dinner for some of its most loyal Boston-area customers. The food and conversation were both fantastic that night, as was everything that went on behind the scenes.

One secret we have not yet shared from that night was how we pulled it off; or, to be more specific, how the team, led by our in-house chef Yankel Polak, made a challenging endeavor both seamless and enchanting.

There was a lot that went into this dinner, and, the degree of difficulty was a bit higher than your typical run-of-the-mill event because of the locale: A pristine, New England farm in Lincoln, about twenty minutes from the ButcherBox office in Cambridge.

In addition to setting up the tables, lighting, and other decór, a makeshift kitchen had to be outfitted, and everyone working the event needed to know their roles and fill them out as if they were in a top restaurant in the city.

First, the menu had to be created, and, as Chef Yankel has mentioned before, “The food was sort of a conglomeration of who I am, paired with the needs of the event.” In addition to featuring some of the Chef’s favorite ButcherBox cuts of meat, there were also two menu items that included meat from Matlock Farms, the small family farm that hosted the event.

“I take a good hard look at the menu,” said Chef Yankel, “and given my time constraints, space constraints, staff constraints, and the outdoor setting, I ask: Is the menu executable?”

As he further explained the process, the chef said that after reexamining the menu, he often “makes adjustments to prep, to ingredients, to style, and design until the whole scenario feels right.”

“Then the real planning begins.”

According to Chef Yankel, once set, the menu drives the event. “From the menu, I hire my crew and draw up the equipment rental needs, which includes everything from industrial ovens and outdoor sinks right down to the butter knives we’ll use.”

“From there, I decide which type of dishes the food will be plated on and served in, as well as the garnishes and other decorations we will use.”

One other key is that Chef Yankel then writes up an event timeline and assigns everyone their roles well in advance so its easy for all involved to know exactly what is being asked of them and they can ask about the specifics of their roles before the intensity of the event day arrives.

The real work begins on Monday of the week for a Thursday event. Yankel does a final check through of all lists: makes sure staff notes get sent out; double checks the guest list; checks the weather for the night of the event; gets the equipment rental quote finalized; gets the shopping, prep, and tools lists finalized; confirms the meat orders; and then, Yankel gets his home kitchen reconfigured for catering.

“At this point, my apartment begins to resemble industrial kitchen,” Chef Yankel said.

The next day is a lot of preparation and running around. Coolers and ice need to be picked up, as well as the wines and meat. “The order got mixed up, so I had to do a last second menu change while at the meat facility,” Yankel said. A final check through of all lists is done and contingency plans are put in place in case of rain or staff failures.

Last on the list for Tuesday is another key to the event: The U-Haul trailer that will be used to transport everything to and from Lincoln is picked up.

The day before the event is even more hectic. Shopping begins at 6:00 AM, for the 150 or so ingredients needed. Around 11:00 AM, everything is brought back to Yankel’s apartment which, at this point, is packed with more food than a local grocery store.

Preparation begins immediately, Yankel said and continues nonstop until 11 PM, at which point, the coolers are repacked with ice, the prep list is rewritten and triple checked, and the tools and equipment are packed in the truck. The apartment is left smelling like a restaurant kitchen.

The day of the event is both a marathon and a sprint. At 7 AM,  everything is packed on the ice again and loaded into the U-Haul.

At 9:30 AM, with his apartment looking like it just held “a frat party,” Yankel heads out to the farm.

Once on location, Yankel meets the equipment rental guys, who showed up with an unorganized truck full of rentals for four different parties. After pulling the 100 pieces needed for the event off the truck, it all needs to be expertly organized.

Next, members of the ButcherBox team arrive to prepare the site, rigging lights and setting up the event space, which, in this case, is a small grass grove, next to a field of roaming cattle.

By noon, the kitchen support staff arrives and gets a quick overview of the remaining preparation. Everyone then gets right to work finishing the food.

“I spend the rest of the afternoon setting up tables and chairs and fire pits, hauling hay, getting people into positions, putting out place settings, mixing salad ingredients, putting out appetizers, and cooking meat,” Yankel said.

Guests start arriving around 4:30. They have wine and beer sitting by firepits, while appetizers are served. Around 6:00 PM, everyone sits down to dinner, and by a little after 8:00, the event ends.

“Then the party begins, and, in a blur, everything goes smoothly, and we are done,” Chef Yankel said.

It got dark quickly, which made cleaning up and taking down the kitchen difficult. “I definitely did not plan enough light for the kitchen,” Yankel said. But even with that, everyone is home by 11 PM.

The night was a success by any measure.

Friday morning, the team head back out for followup. Yankel checks in with farm to make sure rentals are all picked up and that the location is cleaned properly.

All of the chef’s personal equipment is put back into storage, tools get rewashed and put away, the U-Haul is returned, and then, according to Chef Yankel, “The apartment begins to look like home again.”

Here is the entire menu from the fall farm dinner:

Passed Apps:

  • Matlock Meatball – Smoky, sweet sundried tomato sauce
  • ButcherBox Filet – Orange nutmeg dusting, shallot jam, crispy onions, parsley
  • BB Sausage Stack – Manchego cheese, ButcherBox Italian sausage, walnut charoset
  • BB ‘Ants on a Log’ – ButcherBox bacon jam, celery, pickled currants, pomegranate seeds

Plated salad: Local lettuces; marinated cucumbers, onions, and peppers; heirloom tomatoes; lemon thyme vinaigrette; micro greens and Matlock Farm harissa beef merguez.

Family Style Dinner:

  • ButcherBox New York Strip Steak: Marinated in coriander, lime, cilantro, garlic, EVOO
  • ButcherBox Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs: Herb marinade with cumin
  • Grilled assorted veggies
  • Grilled corn with chipotle butter and lime
  • Herb and vinegar potato salad
  • Cornbread with grass-fed butter

Dessert: Maple bacon whoopee pies wrapped in ButcherBox paper.

Customers at the Matlock Farm in Lincoln.

New cuts, cooks, and creativity: The ButcherBox customer experience

Recently, we had an incredible farm dinner that gave us the opportunity to talk with a few of our ButcherBox customers. The conversations confirmed that the same foundational ideas ButcherBox was built upon are some of the reasons these loyal customers love our ButcherBoxes.

Everyone we spoke with appreciated the access we provide to meat that is free of antibiotics and hormones and is raised humanely.

But we were surprised to hear how many of our ButcherBox customers enjoyed the experience of getting a curated box of different meats each month.

The more unusual and difficult-to-find cuts that we often include in our shipments were mentioned often. People enjoyed having to work with foods they were not used to, either using our recipes or their own creativity and cooking ingenuity.“

“I like how it is a surprise every month of what you can get,” said customer Sam Malekiani. “It keeps you on your toes.”

Karen Reid said “It is tough to find grass-fed, grass-finished meat. I could find it periodically at supermarkets, but not consistently. I like these meats and cuts because they have more flavor.” Customer Eric Kneidel had a similar sentiment: “You get more tender cuts with no hormones and drugs. You can taste the difference.”

Longtime ButcherBox subscriber Jeff Freedman told us, “There have been a lot of types of meat that we’ve gotten that we might not have thought about buying. So we are able to try different types and try different ways of cooking it.”

Introducing people to new cuts of meat is an essential part of the ButcherBox experience. And while we love the recipes we’ve developed and share in our boxes, it was also great to hear how people are using these flavorful meats and unique cuts in innovative ways.

To Alison Fedolak, the chicken thighs we include in some boxes are an “added bonus.”

“They’re tasty; they’re fresh. They go really well on the grill, and they don’t dry out, so you can put a nice rub on them, or marinate, and they taste delicious,” she said.

Matthew Medeiros was never, by his own admission, a big fan of drumsticks, but now it’s his favorite cut. “They are so tender and juicy,” he said. “I slow roast them, and then I’ll broil them to char them or throw them on the grill if it’s nice out.”

Dawn Reid cooks our flank steak on the grill with some chimichurri sauce on it. “Real simple,” she said. “It’s a great summer dish, and it’s great cold in a salad. “

Her sister Karen likes a good flank steak marinated in what she calls her “1/3 recipe”: “A third acid, such as vinegar; a third sweet, could be maple syrup or brown sugar; and a third salty, for which I use soy sauce.”

“Marinate and throw on the grill, and it’s beautiful,” she added.

Greg Loftus uses ButcherBox ground beef in his chili, and, as he said, “It’s a world of difference.”

“Even in chili where there are so many things, it still makes a massive difference.” Greg’s brother Eric confirmed: “The flavor is outrageous.”

And Eric isn’t the only one who has noticed the difference using our meat can make. As Jeff and Jane Freedman explained, “People are always asking where we get our meat, and they want to be invited over whenever we get a new ButcherBox.”

In all, it was great to hear from customers that are enjoying healthier, more humanely-raised meats, but it was fascinating to hear about the new experiences that come with each month’s ButcherBox.