How To Cut Steak Against The Grain?

  • By: Brendan

Did you know that there is a right way and a wrong way to cut steak?

I’m sure you didn’t know that. It’s not something that many people know. Most people simply grab a steak and start cutting without any regard for what they’re doing.

how to cut steak against the grain

Unfortunately, that results in a less than ideal steak. And that’s where this article will help. I will cover everything that you need to know about slicing steak and answer some common questions about steak.

How To Cut Steak Against The Grain – Step-by-step Guide

Slicing steak is not hard once you know how to do it. This section will guide you through the exact process of slicing a steak against the grain.

Step 1: Find the grain of the meat.

beef grain

This might be the most crucial step of slicing steak against the grain. Thankfully, finding the grain is not that difficult. Simply look at the meat and look for striations in the muscle fiber. That is the grain.

Step 2: Use the right knife.

You should cut steak with the sharpest knife available. It makes the cutting easier, and you’re much less likely to injure yourself. I recommend an 8-10 inch chef’s knife. You shouldn’t cut steak with a serrated knife.

Step 3: Place the steak in the freezer.

You should put the steak in the freezer for ~15 minutes before you try cutting it. Doing this firms up the meat, which makes it much easier to cut. You should avoid cutting meat that is room temperature since it will result in tearing.

Step 4: Put the steak on a cutting board.

Place the steak on a cutting board. Some home cooks like to cut steak on a plate, which is a terrible idea. The plate isn’t stable, and you can easily cut yourself while cutting the steak. Just use a cutting board. You can use a wood cutting board or plastic cutting board – it doesn’t matter. Just don’t use a plate.

Step 5: Remove the bone.

This step is optional, but it makes things much easier. Simply remove the bone by cutting as close as possible to it. Try to remove any tendons and fat when you’re pulling it away, too.

Step 6: Cut against the grain.

“Against the grain” means cutting perpendicular to it. This shortens the muscle fibers, which makes the meat much more tender.

Step 7: Gently cut the meat.

Gently cut the meat with a simple back and forth movement of your knife. You really don’t need to apply much pressure. Let the knife do the work – this is why you need a sharp knife.

Step 8: Cut the steak into equal sized slices.

If you’re cutting raw steak, then you should always cut it into equal sized slices. This makes cooking them much easier. If you’re cutting cooked steak, then having equal sized slices doesn’t really matter much, but it does look better.

Step 9: Bag the steak (optional)

If you don’t plan on immediately cooking the slices, then you should bag them. This is cleaner, and you won’t lose track of the steak. Some people like to place the steak in a bowl, but a bowl is much easier to tip. And that creates a mess.

Cutting Steak – Frequently Asked Questions

Do you cut steak against the grain or with the grain?

You should always cut steak against the grain. I can’t think of a reason why you would cut steak with the grain rather than against it. If you know a reason, then please let me know.

Why should you cut steak against the grain?

Cutting steak against the grain is preferable because it results in a much more tender piece of meat. Think about it, cutting with the grain means you have to chew through longer muscle fibers, and those muscle fibers are tough!

If you cut against the grain, then your slice of meat will have much shorter muscle fibers. And that makes it so much easier to chew.

Can I cut cooked steak against the grain?

Yes. You can, and should, cut cooked steak and raw steak against the grain.

How to determine which direction the grain runs on steak?

To determine the direction the grain runs on a steak just look for the direction the “lines” on the meat run. Those lines are actually muscle fibers, which are commonly referred to as the grain.

How to not shred steak when cutting against the grain?

The easiest to not shred steak when cutting it is to place it in the freezer 15 minutes before you need to slice it. This firms up the meat, which makes it less likely to shred. Using a sharp knife, a smooth blade, and not applying much downward pressure will also prevent shredding.

What happens if I cut steak with the grain?

Cutting steak with the grain results in a much chewier cut of steak. Most people don’t like chewy steak, so that’s why it’s bad practice to cut steak against the grain.

Can I cut steak diagonally against the grain?

Yes. You can cut steak diagonally against the grain. I recommend cutting diagonally if you don’t like very tender steak. Cutting diagonally actually provides a pretty good mix between tender and chewy, which makes it great for little kids.

Should I cut steak before or after searing it?

You should cut steak before searing it for a few reasons. First, the steak will taste better if cut first because cut steak will absorb more flavor when seared. This is because it has much more surface area than an uncut steak.

Another great reason for cutting before searing is that you save fuel. Think about it, smaller pieces of meat cook much faster than a single big piece of meat. Now, you won’t save much fuel, but it is worth mentioning.

Can I cut tenderized steak?

No, you really shouldn’t cut steak that you have hit with a meat tenderizer. The slices will be very messy, and it won’t cook well.

You should cook tenderized steak, and then cut it against the grain.

What is the most tender steak?

The most tender cut of steak is the tenderloin. If you are cutting a tenderloin, then you don’t have to cut it against the grain. Some people actually prefer cutting it with the grain to make it chewier. I find that a little over the top, but some people like it.

What is the least tender steak?

Ribeye steak is the least tender steak you will find. However, this varies on the quality of the meat and how well you cook it. With that in mind, you definitely want to cut a ribeye steak against the grain.

What makes a steak tender?

A tender steak is one that is easier to chew. It will seemingly melt in your mouth, and it should taste great. Tender steaks tend to have less fat and more muscle. This is why sirloin, especially filet mignon, is so tender.

Should I season the steak before or after cutting it?

I recommend seasoning after cutting the steak because that allows the seasoning to completely cover the steak. Some chefs recommend seasoning the cutting board rather than the steak, which is perfectly fine.

How to make steak more tender?

You can make your steak more tender by using a meat tenderizer. For those that don’t know, a meat tenderizer is basically a hammer with small spikes on it. This will weaken the muscle fibers, which should make the meat easier to chew.

I don’t like using a meat tenderizer. Instead, I prefer to slow cook tougher cuts of beef, but some people love tenderizing beef.

How to remove the bone from steak?

Removing the bone from steak is easy. Just cut the meat around the bone (as close as possible) and remove the bone. Pull out the tendons and extra fat.

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