If you’re someone who enjoys grilling or cooking meat, you’ve likely come across flank steak at some point. Flank steak is a popular cut of meat known for its strong flavor and versatility. However, when it comes to cutting this particular cut of meat, there’s often confusion about whether to cut with or against the grain.

So, do you cut flank steak with or against the grain? The answer lies in the texture of the meat.

What is grain?

Before we dive into the specifics of cutting flank steak, it’s important to understand what “grain” means in this context. In simple terms, the grain refers to the direction in which muscle fibers run through a piece of meat. These muscle fibers are visible as long lines on the surface of the meat.

Cutting Against The Grain

When you cut against the grain, you’re essentially slicing through these muscle fibers perpendicularly. This method of cutting results in shorter muscle fibers which makes for more tender and easier-to-chew pieces of meat.

To identify which way the grain runs through your flank steak, look for the lines that run parallel to each other along its surface. Once you’ve identified these lines, use a sharp knife to make thin slices perpendicular to them. This will result in pieces that are easier to chew and have a more pleasant texture overall.

Cutting With The Grain

On the other hand, cutting with the grain means slicing your flank steak parallel to its muscle fibers. This method tends to produce longer muscle fibers which can make for tougher and chewier pieces of meat.

While cutting with the grain isn’t ideal for most dishes that require flank steak, there are some exceptions where it can come in handy. For example, if you’re making beef jerky or other dried meats, cutting with the grain can actually be beneficial as it helps keep these types of meats from falling apart.


To sum it up, when it comes to cutting flank steak, it’s generally best to cut against the grain for the most tender and enjoyable texture. However, there are some cases where cutting with the grain can be beneficial.

The next time you’re preparing a flank steak dish, take a moment to identify the direction of the grain and choose your cutting method accordingly. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to serve up perfectly sliced flank steak every time.