Grilled filet mignon, Knob Creek® Bourbon, heavy cream, and a thick crust of peppercorns. Sounds decadent, doesn’t it?I’m riffing on the French classic Steak au Poivre, using the big flavor of Knob Creek® bourbon and peppercorns to perk up filet mignon. Filet mignon is tender and buttery, a lean and healthy cut of beef. Unfortunately, lean and healthy can translate as “bland”, so we’re going to give it some help. The peppercorns add a lot of heat to the steak; I use a peppercorn blend (which isn’t as hot as straight black pepper), and only coat one side of the steak with crushed peppercorns. The sauce also helps to smooth out the heat of the peppers, with the oaky, smoky flavor of Knob Creek® bourbon as a counterpoint that finishes the dish.
I cook the whole thing on the grill, including the sauce in a grill safe pot. (I use a enameled steel mug; the pot from a grill safe basting set will also work.)
As the old saying goes, “A watched pot never boils”. Whoever said that wasn’t watching a pot full of cream. Cream wants to boil over. It’s itching to boil over. Keep an eye on the sauce while it simmers, and when the bubbles start to pile up, slide the pot to a cooler section of the grill to stop the simmering. If it does boil over, the pot will probably catch fire. That’s OK – you just made Knob Creek® Bourbon Peppercorn sauce flambè. Slide the pot away from the heat, let the flames burn out, and pretend that’s what you meant to do in the first place.
Recipe: Grilled Filet Mignon with Knob Creek® Bourbon Peppercorn Sauce
- 4 thick (2 1/2 inch) filet mignon steaks
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons peppercorn blend, coarsely crushed
Knob Creek® Bourbon Peppercorn Sauce
- 1/4 cup Knob Creek® bourbon
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground peppercorn blend
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Season the steaks
Sprinkle the steaks evenly with the salt. Put the crushed peppercorns in a single layer on a plate and press one side of the steaks into the peppercorns to help them stick. Let the steaks rest at room temperature while the grill preheats.
2. Set the grill up for two zone high heat grilling
Set the grill up for two zone cooking; one side should be high heat, the other side no heat. In my kettle grill, I light a chimney full of charcoal, wait for it to be covered with gray ash, then pour the charcoal in a tight single layer over half of the charcoal grate. In my gas grill, I preheat with all the burners on high for 15 minutes, then leave two of the burners on high and turn off all the other burners. After the grill is preheated I brush the grates clean with my grill brush.
3. Simmer the Knob Creek® bourbon peppercorn sauce
Once the grill is preheated, pour the Knob Creek® bourbon in a small, grill-safe pot, and stir in the heavy cream, pepper, and salt. Put the pot over the direct heat part of the grill and bring to a simmer, then slide to the indirect heat side, just off of the heat, and simmer the sauce while the steaks are cooking. (Keep an eye on the pot, because as I said in the opening, cream likes to boil over. Move it away from the heat at the first sign of the bubbles stacking up on each other).
No grill safe pot? Simmer the sauce on the stove top. Also, if the cream boils over on the grill, the bourbon may catch fire. That’s OK – the sauce is fine. Use long handled tongs to slide the pot away from the heat and wait for the flames to burn themselves out.
4. Grill the steaks
While the sauce is simmering, put the steaks on the grill, peppercorn side down, over the direct heat part of the grill. Grill until the peppercorns are just starting to blacken, about 3 minutes. Flip the steaks peppercorn side up and grill on the other side until browned on the bottom, about 3 more minutes. (You’ll lose some peppercorns into the grill when you turn the steak; that’s OK.) Brush the steaks with the Knob Creek® Bourbon peppercorn sauce (be careful – the sauce will flare up when it hits the flames of the grill), then slide the steaks to the indirect heat side of the grill. Close the lid and cook until the steaks reach medium-rare, an internal temperature of 125°F measured in the thickest part with an instant read thermometer, about 8 more minutes. (Rare is an internal temperature of 115°F; medium is 135°F.) Brush the steaks again with the Knob Creek® peppercorn sauce, then remove the steaks and sauce from the grill.
5. Serve the steaks
Let the steaks rest for ten minutes. Spoon another tablespoon of the Knob Creek® Bourbon peppercorn sauce on top of each steak and serve.
- I use a mortar and pestle to crush the peppercorns. If you don’t have one, seal the peppercorns in a zip-top plastic bag to keep them from scattering over the counter. Squeeze out all the air, seal the bag, and use the bottom of a heavy skillet to crush the peppercorns. Or, try your pepper mill’s coarsest setting. You want mostly cracked pepper, not powder.
This post is sponsored by Knob Creek® Bourbon and The Original Brothers of Bourbon website. Knob Creek® is a registered trademark of Jim Beam Brands Co. and is used with permission. The information, comments and ideas expressed on this website do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Jim Beam Brands Co., its affiliated companies or any of their directors or employees.
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