Cattlemen’s Ranch Bacon Wrapped Chuck Tender Filet

Last Updated on May 20, 2019

When talking with other Aldi shoppers about the store, there are some things that rarely come up in conversation. We don’t typically talk too much about milk or eggs (other than perhaps briefly raving about how low the prices are) because they’re normal shopping items and we take for granted that Aldi does them just fine. But when I bring up “the” bacon wrapped filet … well, that’s another conversation entirely. Most Aldi shoppers I know have at least seen the little thing, and if they haven’t tried them, they’ve certainly been curious. It’s got an aura all its own.

A lot of the curiosity stems from the fact that a single filet is just a couple of dollars. At such an absurdly cheap price, is it any good?

Bacon Wrapped Filet

The Cattlemen’s Ranch Bacon Wrapped Chuck Tender Filet is, as far as we can tell, a Regular Buy, appearing in the store most parts of the year, if not all. Depending on your Aldi and time of year, it comes either in a single pack, a two-pack, or a larger pack of several. Oddly, we’ve found that the single pack is actually the best deal, although that may vary from location to location.

Chuck steaks are really at the bottom of the steak hierarchy, so going into this we knew it wasn’t going to be a filet mignon, especially not at this price. Still, we weren’t sure what to make of the ingredients list. Unlike some of Aldi’s burgers, which boast beef as their only ingredient, the bacon wrapped filet’s ingredients list is a bit long and not altogether comforting. Some of that may be accounted for in the bacon, but we’re not quite sure, and the packaging doesn’t bring any clarity. The steaks come in a round plastic shell with a flimsy plastic lid that you cut open with a knife. Inside is a small 5-ounce filet, packed in a strange liquid and surrounded by a strip of bacon.

The cooking instructions on the filet are, like most beef, a bit on the vague side, so you’d be well advised to bring a digital instant-read thermometer to the party if you intend to cook these without spilling out all the juices. Although small, it’s fairly thick, so expect to spend about 15 minutes on an open grill to get it to about medium (or less for rare, or more for well-done).

We’ve made the filets many times with different approaches. In most cases, the beef is a little on the chewy side and doesn’t have a lot of taste without some pre-seasoning. For our latest experiment, we followed the advice of a professional chef we know and covered the filet in salt, pepper, and olive oil, allowing it to sit in room temperature for an hour. We cooked it on high heat over an open grill, covering the grill only for a few minutes at the end to make sure it was cooked through. With help from a digital thermometer, our steak came out right around medium or so.

This was about the best we’ve ever made the filets — the meat was cooked but tender, pink but not bloody. And the salt and pepper adds a decent amount of seasoning that works well with the bacon. The reality, though, is that this is just not high quality beef. Even under the best of circumstances, it tastes chewy and doesn’t have the refined taste of higher-quality cuts. (We’ve purchased other steaks from Aldi and they’ve been fabulous.)

Some people would point out that this is a cheap steak, and they would be right. But with Aldi, we’ve often discovered that high quality can be had on the cheap. Be aware that this is not necessarily one of those cases.

The Verdict:

At around two dollars per filet, the Cattlemen’s Ranch Bacon Wrapped Chuck Tender Filet is about what you pay for. Even with proper pampering, this is still a cheap-quality meat that is on the lower end of taste and texture. We wouldn’t recommend trying to build a party menu around it, but if you’re a carnivore wanting a budget grilling experience, you can’t beat the price. If, on the other hand, you want a more gourmet entree, consider some of Aldi’s more premium steak offerings.

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About Joshua

Joshua is the Editor-in-Chief of Aldi Reviewer. He is also a writer and novelist. You can learn more about him at www.joshuaajohnston.com.

10 Comments

  1. I had this last night not realizing it was chuck. Fofired good price for filet. Had gristle in them. I thought ok let me get th3 oackage out so I can take back to store and say something. Well it says chuck on it. I didn’t notice that. Oh well. Wasn’t the worst thing I ate. I’m actually not a fan of filet mignon but my mother is and I’m trying to eat more leak steak so I grabbed them since the price was right.

  2. Had these last night. Pan fried and finished in the broiler to medium.

    One was kinda an off cut, didn’t really good it’s shape well. It was tasty but chewy. The other was great. Perfect shape, and really tender meat beyond what I expected for the price. We’ll almost certainly try these again.

  3. While not strictly a problem, these small “filets” are created from scraps of meat and fused in a mold with what is termed “Meat Glue.” That is the reason for the ingredient list. 😉 Aldi is now carrying them, but even restaurants serve them and do not tell the customers what they are really eating.

    The most important thing to remember when cooking a “filet” or “steak” made with MEAT GLUE, is that it is cooked to internal temp of at least 155°. Some would say hotter, but the “steak” needs to be left to rest for ~10 minutes to finish cooking. Do not order one rare, like you would not order a burger rare unless you are playing Russian Roulette.

    To make these affordable “filets” or “steaks,”, scrap pieces of meat are fused together with this enzyme, so it is no cleaner than ground beef, as the e-coli on the surface of all those pieces ends up in the center- unlike a regular cut of beef like a true filet or steak, which can be rinsed off or just grilled without rinsing and the outer e-coli is burned away…

    A couple links for you to just be aware before you buy and cook:
    https://nutritionfacts.org/2015/04/16/what-is-meat-glue/

    http://www.molecularrecipes.com/hydrocolloid-guide/transglutaminase-meat-glue/

    And here is a hyperbole example: http://goodfullness.com/he-bought-a-steak-from-the-grocery-store-but-then-he-notices-this-inside-the-meat/

    Needless to say, fusing (Gluing) scraps of meat together into a “filet” or “steak” makes it difficult to cut the meat against the grain, no?

    BTW, the 2-pack of Ribeye steaks I purchased from Aldi last week ($6.49/lb) were the best steaks we have had in about 15 years, since a nice, REAL steakhouse near us closed down. Our kids were in awe, as they hadn’t had a steak like this in their lives, Ha ha! Aldi for the WIN!

  4. why is there no expiration date on these?

  5. Purchased at Aldies, absolutely terrible, never again.

  6. Was given a 2 pack along with assorted groceries as a thank you. I don’t know if I should have froze them. The date is still good but don’t know if safe. It’s in hard plastic container. It has been I refrigerator for over a week.

  7. I dropped these into my sous vide at 133f for a day and a half and it was delicious. Very tender when cooked that way. Very flavorful.

    • Hi, we also use a sous vide. Did you preseason them and reseal in a bag or just dropped them in as packaged? Thanks!

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