After you have finished cooking a steak, you might notice that the meat is tougher to chew than you would like.
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When you’re cooking meat, it’s important to cut it against the grain. This means cutting perpendicular to the muscle fibers, rather than parallel to them. Cutting against the grain results in meat that is more tender and easier to chew. It’s a simple technique that makes a big difference in the quality of your finished dish.
What is the grain of meat?
The grain of meat is the direction of the muscle fibers. When you look at a piece of raw meat, you can see the long muscle fibers running parallel to each other. These fibers are called the grain.
When you cut meat against the grain, you are cutting perpendicular to the muscle fibers. This results in shorter, more tender pieces of meat. Foods that are high in collagen, such as brisket and pork shoulder, benefit from being cut against the grain because it helps to break down the tough collagen fibers.
Cutting with the grain (parallel to the muscle fibers) results in longer pieces of meat that are tougher to chew because you are essentially fighting against the grain. This is why it’s important to know which direction the grain is running before you start cutting.
There are a few different ways to determine which way the grain is running:
-Look at the meat before you start cooking it. The grain will be running parallel to the longer side of the meat.
-If you have already cooked the meat, look for the direction of the muscle fibers. They will be more pronounced after cooking and will be running parallel to each other.
-If you’re still not sure, curl your fingers into a claw and drag them along the surface of the meat. The grain will resistance against your fingers and will go in one direction only.
Why cut meat against the grain?
There are a couple of reasons why you’d want to cut meat against the grain. The first is for tenderness. When you cut with the grain, you’re essentially slicing along the muscle fibers, which can make the meat tough. If you cut against the grain, you’re cutting across those fibers, making the meat more tender.
The second reason is for appearance. When you cut with the grain, the muscle fibers tend to run in long strands, which can make the meat look stringy. If you cut against the grain, those same muscle fibers are shorter, resulting in a more attractive piece of meat.
So how do you do it? It’s actually pretty simple. Just look at your piece of meat and find which direction the muscle fibers are running. Then, holding your knife at a slight angle, slice across those fibers. It really is that easy!
How to cut meat against the grain
Most people are familiar with the basic method of cutting meat against the grain: Simply slice the meat in the opposite direction of the muscle fibers. However, there is a more effective way to cut meat against the grain that results in more tender slices.
Here’s how to do it:
1. First, identify the direction of the muscle fibers. You can usually see them running parallel to each other.
2. Next, angle your knife so that it is perpendicular to the muscle fibers.
3. Finally, cut thin slices against the grain, angling your knife as needed to get through the meat.
By following these steps, you will be able to cut through the muscle fibers more easily, resulting in more tender slices of meat.
There you have it! Our guide on how to cut meat against the grain. We hope you found this helpful and that you’ll be able to put this technique into practice the next time you cook meat. As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.