You might have thought that slicing the beef cuts is a piece of cake for any of us. Surely could be the case, at least, after recalling the reasoning behind cutting the meat against its grain. Nevertheless, we took into account making you even more conscious of how you need to slice any steak cut. Afterward, the cutting manner will speak up a lot about the magic of all your cooking efforts. And when we say magic, we visualize steak’s tenderness and its juicy delicious texture.
Cutting against the grain it’s mandatory but not enough
Well… let’s not forget that the juiciness and tenderness of your beef cut do not solely depend and how to slice steak. Cutting against the grain it’s absolutely necessary but not sufficient because there are other aspects that contribute to the meat’s tenderness. And here we could mention a few of them:
- The beef’s age counts pretty much, therefore people tend to choose a younger animal whose muscles were not used for a longer period.
- The part of the animal’s body from which the beef cut was taken is another detail that influences the tenderness of your steak. Everything comes down to the body part that the beef uses less or more. The more a body part is used, the more collagen it contains and the less fat it has. For example, the leg primal tends to be tougher because of the working muscles from that area. The ribs, loin sections have supporting muscles as well as more fats keeping the meat moist and thus making these parts to be really tender.
- The way one cooks the beef cut affects the juiciness of the meat thus the more liquid the meat loses the tougher it gets. So cooking methods such as braising and stewing are great for tenderizing collagen-rich sections.
We are going to describe the beef slicing backward-looking starting with the “why” to answer further to your “how”. The reason for doing this is given by the fact that anyone needs to understand why we should slice any steak in a specific way without getting confused by some grill marks from barbecuing, or some nicks from the meat packaging. This should be more than enough for answering to your how-to slice any steak.
Understanding why cutting against the grain
The meat’s grain shows the direction of the muscle fibers. Whether we are talking about working or supporting muscles spotting the grain is a must. One can see the direction of the lines on both cooked and raw beef cuts, they resemble long streaks.
You will encounter various beef cuts and the grain won’t be the same, depending on the butchering way. That’s why tracking and understanding the fiber lines is essential. Whether it’s a Porterhouse, hanger, skirt, or anything else, cutting against the grain remains valid. It’s not about connecting a beef cut with a specific way of slicing, although there are some cuts that have the same grain direction every time. It’s about to simply examine your steak before you cut it because, for example, if you take more hangers, you could observe a different grain with each hanger.
Here one can find awesome tips and great reasoning on cutting against the grain:
How to slice steak correctly
Once you’ve spotted the direction of the grains you are ready to go and slice against or perpendicular to that direction.
However, remember that you always need to start slicing with a rested cooked steak (this keeps the steak’s juiciness) because it is ready to carve and you see pretty obviously the lines of the grain going down the meat forming a kind of diagonal line.
Try to tackle or understand how the grain is going along the piece of meat you have. There is no art here but what’s so important is to cut the steak perpendicular to the grain’s lines or cut against the grain as others would say. In this way, you will have short fibers that are going to be super soft, tender melting into your mouth instead of long fibers that will make you forget about the delicious taste and chew that piece for a longer time.
That’s all about slicing your beef meat correctly. Let us know if there was a moment when this logic didn’t work that well for you and describe it briefly because we are curious about it.
Happy slicing !