While filet mignon may bring images of a romantic dinner with fine wine, the same steak purchased from Walmart in a prepackaged kit of two bacon-wrapped steaks may not serve up images consistent with high living. Here at the Sacramento Outdoor Cooking Examiner we leave no stone containing some value unturned, so, as an experiment, tonight we dined on Walmart filet mignon.
The price is what got me. While shopping at our local Walmart store in Orangevale, CA for chicken for our oft-consumed barbequed chicken salad, the slick packaging and the price caught my eye.Two bacon wrapped steaks, 5 oz. each, totalled $5.95. That’s three bucks eac, and it’s filet mignon.
The meat was ungraded, so a fair assumption was the steak was equivalent to the USDA Select grade. The absence of any marbling acted to confirm my take on the grade. The nutrition panel said each steak was about 260 calories with 140 calories from fat. That’s more than we’d expect from the normally lean filet, but the bacon of course added to the fat stats. I rolled the dice and threw it in the cart.
Ok, yes, it was a little weird cutting through the packaging that is typically used for balogna to retrive the tiny medallions from the package, and my wife was not impressed. ” Why did you buy a steak from Walmart, and why does it look like Lunchables?” This wasn’t working so far.
I drizzled a little olive oil on each side, added a pinch of garlic power, some fresh ground pepper, and set them in the refrigerator for a few hours. About half an hour prior to grilling time I set them out to reach room temperature. With the charcoal fire glowing well, I follwed the Walmart directions, recommending 8-10 minutes per side. Of course, I rotated the steaks 90 degrees every two minutes for those coveted grill marks.
OK, yes, it looks a little small on the plate. The yield was a little less than I had expected. We each had a nice Walmart baker, some Walmart romaine, our own blend of caesar dressing, and a nice bottle of Chianti for our budget Sunday dinner. My wife at first refused to try it. I’m Mikey, and I’ll try anything. The first bite confirmed my USDA grade selection. This was not a “WOW” moment, but it wasn’t bad. It was worth $3, maybe even $4. The low price per serving is the central allure. The price per pound is nothing special for a mid grade filet. The taste was OK, and there’s only so much you can do to a marginal cut of beef. I’d never recommend USDA Select for any piece of red meat, but honesty, this was OK. My wife finallly got into it and admitted it was pretty decent for three bucks. That’s the key. If you don’t want too many calories, don’t want to spend a lot of cash, and want a tender steak to compliment your baked potato and salad, go for it. If you’re seeking a delicious steak as a centerpiece entree, then pass, and bump up to a USDA Choice cut.