Beef
Petite Tender Steak

This lesser-known cut is starting to take its rightful place on the stage. There's no gristle or sinew, just a perfect bite from start to finish. We walk you through the steps to getting juicy, tender steaks every time. With our simple process, you'll be grilling a delicious, tender, and tender steak like a pro.

Try our roasted asparagus or our steakhouse-style garlic mashed potatoes for a complete meal.

Why our recipe

  • Foolproof step-by-step instructions for preparing this delicious cut.
  • Recipe tested and proven by a certified steak expert.

Top view of two small fillets in a cast iron skillet, with tongs picking up one.

This cut reminds us of a mini beef tenderloin and tri-tip combined. I made a bunch of these for my husband's birthday and was so impressed! If you can't find them at your local supermarket, ask your butcher and see if he can butcher some for you. This cut is also known as bistro filet or teres major.

Notes on ingredients

Top view of the ingredients needed to make a small tender steak, including resting butter, salt, pepper, and oil.Top view of the ingredients needed to make a small tender steak, including resting butter, salt, pepper, and oil.
  • Tender and small steaks: Since this steak does not have two flat sides, be sure to sear all edges. It may look large, but it will shrink 30-40% as it cooks.
  • Olive oil: This way the seasoning sticks to the steak.
  • Condiments: They enhance the natural flavour of the meat without covering it.
  • Resting butter: Adds a lot of flavor to your steak. You can use our recipe for resting butter, plain butter, or add a spicy touch with our cowboy butter.

When to flip

Don't flip the steak until a nice brown crust has formed. Those crusts have a dimensional flavor profile that adds a lot to the overall steak experience. You'll know when to flip the steak when it easily releases from the pan.

A collage of images showing four stages of the process of making a small dessert.A collage of images showing four stages of the process of making a small dessert.

Cooking the steak

The chef's standard doneness is medium-rare. At this point it will be tender and juicy, and if done right, the steak will melt in your mouth. Each steak has a different cooking time due to the different thicknesses of the cuts.

Instant Read Thermometers

Using an instant-read thermometer is by far the best option for accuracy. It takes the guesswork out of determining doneness, ensuring your steak is cooked exactly to your liking. To use, simply insert the probe into the thickest part of the steak, avoiding any bones or fat. The thermometer will give an accurate reading in seconds, letting you know if your steak has reached the desired internal temperature. Just be careful not to poke too many holes in your steak because you’ll notice the juices run out when you do.

Description of the different degrees of doneness of the steak. Description of the different degrees of doneness of the steak.

Cooking Steaks by Feel: “The Thumb Test”

Not everyone has an instant-read thermometer, and we know that. With time and experience, you can learn to judge the doneness of a steak by feel alone. We'll talk about the “thumb test,” but keep in mind that mastering steak doneness by feel is very difficult.

  • Rare It should feel very soft and yielding. Lightly touch your thumb with your index finger and feel the meaty area under your thumb. It should feel very soft, similar to the feel of raw meat.
  • Medium-rare It should feel soft with a little resistance. Lightly touch your thumb with your middle finger and feel the same area under your thumb. It should feel a little firmer, but still soft.
  • medium It should be firm but with a little give. Lightly touch your thumb with your ring finger and feel the area under your thumb. It should be firmer and more springy.
  • Medium-Good It should feel firm with very little give. Lightly touch your thumb with your pinky and feel the area under your thumb. It should feel fairly firm with very little give.
  • Well done It should be very firm and not give. Squeeze your thumb tightly into your palm and feel the area under your thumb. It should be very firm, similar to well-done meat.
Close-up of a tender steak on a blue plate, already cut to reveal the perfectly pink interior and with a fork stuck in the top.Close-up of a tender steak on a blue plate, already cut to reveal the perfectly pink interior and with a fork stuck in the top.

Dry brine

You can salt your steak up to 12 hours in advance. This is known as the dry brining method, which can significantly improve the flavor of your steak and make it more tender. The salt penetrates deep into the meat, flavoring it throughout. This process also helps the steak retain moisture while cooking, resulting in a juicier end product. The salt also breaks down some of the muscle proteins, making the meat more tender. A tender petite is already quite tender, so while you can still use the dry brining technique, it is certainly not necessary.

Storage and heating instructions

Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Heat up portions in a skillet over medium heat or wrap in aluminum foil to retain moisture and reheat in a 300 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until piping hot.

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