Mock Filets

When we were growing up, mock filets marked a special evening.

What are mock filets, you ask? The poor man’s version of a filet mignon dinner.

In fact, I didn’t even know what a true filet of beef was until adulthood. (And honestly, the first time I had a filet, I have to admit that I secretly thought mom’s mock version was better.)

Having a bit more ground beef in the freezer that needed used, I wanted to revisit this classic for last night’s dinner.

I did a little research to find out the origin of this recipe.   Kate Aitken’s name came up quite a bit from my meager and definitely not definitive search.    (Apparently, she was the Canadian Martha Stewart of her day.)   This recipe like so many other comfort foods came out of necessity and the Great Depression.      For her recipe, click here.

I don’t remember mom having a real recipe.    I threw my mock filets together from remembering watching her (and seeing what was on hand in the fridge.)

Mock Filets

1 lb. ground beef (locally sourced if possible)
3/4 c. shredded carrots
2 green onions chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
6-8 slices thick cut bacon

Mix together beef, carrots, onions, and garlic.    Using your hands works the best.

Fresh veggies for the filets.

Divide meat mixture into 1/3 or 1/4 pound patties.    Wrap bacon around edges of patties and secure with toothpicks or wooden skewers.   Season with salt and pepper.

Wrapped filets.

Grill or broil until bacon is cooked (but not crisp).


I thought this kind of looked like a Depression Era picture.

These were delicious.   I love all the veggies packed inside the burgers.    It almost makes up for the bacon wrapped around each serving!    I would have you know that I also served these with a baked sweet potato for even more veggie goodness.

Looking back, we had no idea that we couldn’t afford real filet mignon.  (Even though we raised our own beef, I really don’t know why we never had them.    I wonder if we sold the more expensive cuts?)   We never thought we were deprived.

We just looked forward to the special nights that mom made  Mock Filets.

And, speaking of mom…I have to share this with you:

When mom was here over Spring Break, she rolled in with her little SUV (we call it Gran’s Truckster) packed with cacti.    As she was making her tour of friends in Oklahoma, she ran across a widower that was giving away his wife’s s cactus collection.     As cacti are not native to mom’s current climate, she left some with us.    Last week, this one bloomed.   Isn’t it beautiful?    I would like to find the little old man that gave these to mom and let him know his wife’s legacy is still bloomin’ away!   (It actually smells like a rose.)

21 comments to Mock Filets

  • My mom made these too when I was growing up, minus the carrot. we called them hamburger steaks. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    • Eliot

      You’re welcome. I would be glad to hear about others’ memories and if they had these growing up too. I should have mentioned I DID NOT GROW UP DURING THE DEPRESSION! (Sorry, that just dawned on me.) 🙂

  • I’ve never seen a blooming cactus! So pretty, and I love that his wife’s cactus are living on after her. The mock filets actually sound good! Reminds me a little of meatloaf and I love me some meatloaf. I have some weird mental problem (that sounds funny-lol) that keeps me from fully enjoying beef unless it has been ground up first. It’s so weird. Maybe I really am mentally defecient. lol. So, for me, this would be way better than a real filet mignon!

  • We make these too, only I’ve never thought to wrap them in bacon! Why have I not wrapped them in bacon???

    You have changed. my. life!!!

  • What a great recipe! I have never had a mock filet…this looks so fun. I am thinking to wrap it up with a pastry. My husband will really love this.

  • I love the idea of a ‘poor man’ fillet dinner – especially since it looks better than a real fish fillet dinner 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  • What a genius idea. Never had these before but it does remind me of a hamburger patty my mom used to make. She would put cheese, bell pepper, onion and whatever she thought of between two hamburger patties. Haven’t thought of these in years so thx for the trip down memory lane.

  • They say necessity is the mother of invention…these look awesome, tender and flavorful.

  • During hardships people have to become very inventive to feed themselves and their families! Most of the times these meals are comfort, nutritious and tasty. Real, tried and true family meals like this one! I love it!

    • Eliot

      Thanks, Katrina. I think about all the canning my grandmother did during her lifetime and how a simple dessert of canned peaches with canned milk (of all things) thrilled my grandfather. I am sure that this tradition came from them both living through the Depression.

  • Great recipe! I remember eating something similar as a child, it looks delicious.
    The cactus bloom is beautiful.

  • This looks really good…anything with bacon is a winner in my book!! I have a lot of food memories growing up…I’m still determined to get my Mom to teach me how to make my Great Gramma’s bread and rolls…this year for SURE!

  • I don’t know, I think I would take your version of mock filets any day! Looks a lot better than my childhood memories 😉 – love the delicious, nutritious add-ins too… what a success!

  • I love this idea – looks delicious! What an easy, and economical, dinner!

  • Suzan

    I learned to make these with cheese and onion on the inside, wrapped in bacon. I call them glorified hamburgers.