All meat lovers know there’s nothing so wonderful as a freshly browned, juicy steak hot off the grill. However, there’s one more important detail -- how you cut your meat for serving. Cutting the steak with the grain vs against the grain, and straight down or at an angle, can make the difference between melt in your mouth texture and a disappointing almost gristly chew. After the Cinder Grill has turned out a beautifully cooked steak for you, make the most of it by cutting it properly.
The Eye of the Beholder
To start with, what is the ‘grain’ of the meat? This is the visible pattern formed by the arrangement of muscle fibers in the meat. It’s analogous to the grain of wood, which is caused by cellulose and lignin fibers, and even somewhat resembles that grain when examined closely.
Different cuts of meat have differences in how visible their grain patterns are. Very tender cuts, such as tenderloin and ribeye, have very fine grains which reflect how small their muscle fibers are. However, many hardworking and therefore flavorful cuts, such as skirt steak and hangar steak, have much more prominent grains, and it’s worth looking for the grain before slicing the steak.
For Maximum Tenderness
This is because how the steak is sliced determines the length of the muscle fibers in the pieces, which is a major factor in tenderness. Cutting “with” the grain separates the meat into slices composed of long muscle fibers, which are chewy and tough. Cutting “against” the grain (cutting across it) severs those long muscle fibers into short sections, which are far more tender and easy to chew. So for the best tenderness, steak should be sliced across the grain.
A New Angle
However, depending on the shape of the steak, slices across the grain may look short and small. Cooking from home with the Cinder Grill should provide all the benefits of going out, including beautiful presentation. The best way to manage this is to slice the steak at an angle. Simply tilt your slicing knife at 30 to 45 degrees off of perpendicular, and slice with long even strokes. This produces broader slices that show off the rosy inside to perfection.
Whichever piece of meat you’re cooking from home, be it a Grass-fed beef shoulder, a flavorful skirt steak, or even a tender and savory New York Strip, take care to slice it against the grain. This small detail is the final step in guaranteeing a steak that’s every meat lover’s dream, and in maximizing your already high return from your Cinder Grill.