The Proper Way to Cut Steak—Explained!

There’s no denying it, America is a nation of big beef eaters.

We’re known around the world for our love of steak. And for a good reason too. The average American eats over 100kgs of red meat (and poultry) each year.

You can’t blame us, though. After all, there’s nothing better than getting stuck into a tender slab of steak. It gets our mouths watering just thinking about it.

Surprisingly, though, given the amount that gets eaten, few people know how to cut steak properly.

Just as the way you cook the steak makes a difference, so too does the way you cut it. Everything from the flavor to the texture can be affected by the wrong technique.

Are you looking for the best steak-eating experience possible?

Well, keep reading to discover six key steps to cutting steak the right way.

1. Let It Rest for a While

This part of the steak cutting process is by far the hardest. Leave it to rest.

We know- you want to tuck right in as soon as it’s finished cooking. You’re hungry, your mouth’s watering, and you want that meat in your mouth. It’s tempting to chow down straight away.

Try hard to resist! The steak-eating experience will be far more enjoyable if you let it rest a while beforehand.

For one thing, it improves the flavor. Those delicious steak juices sit on the top throughout the cooking process. Leave it a few minutes, though, and they’ll disperse through the meat.

This helps with the cutting process, as well. Steaks tend to be soft and syrupy when they’re straight off the grill. But the texture firms up over the 5 minutes or so that you let it rest. You’ll find it far easier to slice as a result.

2. Use High-Quality Steak Knives

The next step is all about your steaking-cutting tools.

Let’s face it, no matter how perfectly they’re cooked, some cuts of steak can be a bit tough. There’s nothing worse than hacking away at such a steak with a blunt knife.

Having a sharp knife will make your life ten times easier.

Of course, you don’t need a tough steak to benefit from sharp knives. They’re essential items regardless of the meat’s quality/cut.

A classic rookie mistake is to use a bread knife for this purpose. Don’t do it! You’re looking at a one-way ticket to shredded steak. You need actual steak knives for the job.

3. Get Rid of the Fat

Step 3 isn’t necessarily essential.

It’s all about fat, and whether you want it on there or not. Some people love it and will happily chew through this part of the steak too. And, fair enough, the fat is undoubtedly full of flavor.

But some people are put off by its texture. Unlike pork fat, it remains soft, stringy, and gelatinous. Even if you don’t find it unappetizing, chewing through it can be a struggle!

Ultimately, it depends on who you are and how you like your steak.

One option is to serve it with the fat on and let people decide for themselves. If you know people at your dinner table dislike it, though, consider trimming the fat beforehand.

Only trim the fact once your steak is cooked, though! As we said, it’s full of flavor. Keeping the fat on throughout the cooking process will infuse extra taste into the meat.

4. Identify the Grain

The next step is identifying the grain of your steak.

Think about chopped wood. Recall how it has a particular grain that reveals the orientation of wood fibers throughout the material?

Well, steak has it too. This time, though, it’s about the alignment of muscle fibers. You’ll see a series of thin lines traversing the meat in a particular direction. This is the connective tissue, and it’s vital that you take note of it before you start cutting.

More on this next.

5. Go Against the Grain

Back to the wood analogy.

You know how you chop wood in line with the grain to make it easier to split?

Well, you take the opposite approach with steak. Having identified the direction of the grain, you need to cut perpendicular to it. This slices through those muscle fibers, which makes the meat far easier to chew.

Cut parallel with the grain, and you’ll end up with a tough hunk of meat on your hands. The muscle-fibers remain intact, which will make every bite a challenge to chew through!

6. Cut At an Angle

You’ve got your steak knife, identified the grain, and have let the meat rest a while.

You’re nearly ready to make your first cut!

First, though, we need to point out the importance of cutting at an angle. You want to avoid slicing vertically towards the chopping board when cutting up the meat. Why?

Two reasons.

Firstly, you end up losing a lot of the delicious juices you’ve been looking forward to eating! The meat holds onto its juices far better when you cut at an angle instead.

Secondly, it looks far more appetizing too!

There’s nothing like an angled slice of freshly cooked steak to get your own juices flowing. It might sound trivial, but aesthetics seem to have a direct impact on flavor. The better something looks, the more likely you are to enjoy it.

Now You Know How to Cut Steak Properly

Now that you know the proper method think twice before you slice into that next steak!

Skip all the rookie mistakes we covered in this article, and you’re guaranteed a delicious and tender meal from start to finish. And, if you follow only one of these tips, it should be purchasing a high-quality set of steak knives.

If you enjoyed this article, check out the rest of our blog posts for tons of helpful tips and advice on all things food.

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