Cutting steak into handsome, eye-catching bites isn’t something only professional chefs can handle. It’s something that any steak enthusiast can – and should – learn how to do because the way you cut your steak could be affecting its flavor and texture, not just its visual appeal.
Whether you want the most appetizing look for your steak to use in food photography (we have a guide on that, too!) or you want to make sure you don’t lose that tenderness you love about your Chicago Steak ribeye, your knowledge about slicing steak the right way can help. Here’s everything you need to know:
Before You Cut…
Before you even think about slicing into that steak and taking a bit, there is something important you need to do first: Give it a rest! The term “resting” refers to the process of allowing your cooked steak to sit on a cutting board or plate (away from heat) for about 10 to 15 minutes before you slice it.
The reason behind resting is that steak needs a few minutes after cooking to let its juices run back through it. If you slice it immediately, you’ll lose all those juices on your plate, leaving the steak dryer and chewier than it would be if you let it rest for a few minutes. Resting also brings flavor back through the steak from its juices.
The Grain of Steak: What You Need to Know
You’ve let your steak rest, and you’re about to dive in – but how should you do it? When it comes to slicing most meats, you’ll want to go against the grain. No, we aren’t talking about the same kind of grain you find in bread or rice. The grain of meat refers to the direction of the muscle fibers.
Look closely at your cooked steak. In any cut of steak, you’ll see lines throughout the meat. They aren’t perfectly straight, but they’re all going in the same direction. Some steak cuts have a grain that’s very easy to spot, while others may require a closer look, but there’s always a grain.
It might seem logical to follow the grain when you cut because it would be easier to cut the way the fibers run. But with most meats, cutting with the grain might leave you with a chewier result. The key is to help break up those muscle fibers with your knife so that your teeth don’t have to do all the hard work.
The result is a more tender piece of beef that, if cooked correctly, will almost fall apart in your mouth, allowing you to enjoy its flavor even more.
How to Slice Steak
The way you cut steak is only one piece of the puzzle. You also need to use the right steak knives to do the job. A dull knife is likely going to leave you with a hacked-up pile of dried-out meat instead of giving you those crisp, clean lines that leave steak juices intact.
First, locate the grain. Some grains run vertically while others run horizontally; it just depends on who sliced the beef slab and what type of cut it is. If your steak has a bone in it, the fibers usually will run the same way as the bone, so you should cut the opposite way the bone runs.
Take your sharpened knife and place it perpendicular to the grain on the smaller end of the steak. Gently slide your knife blade across the steak a few times until it slices through. Check the inner part of the piece you cut to ensure that you’ve cut against the grain.
Got it? Great! You can continue cutting the meat in small bites or strips, about ½ to ¾-inch thick.
Slicing Your Way to the Best Steak Texture
Sometimes, “going against the grain” in life results in something positive. It’s the same when we talk about steak. Cutting against steak’s muscle fibers gives you the texture and flavor you were expecting when you bought that T-bone for dinner.
We have some of the best steaks your money can buy right here on our website. Chicago Steak Company’s selection of dry-aged, wet-aged, USDA Prime beef always results in an amazing steak meal. Order online and take advantage of our Steakalicious Rewards program that gives you reward points for every order you make!