Flank steak is a popular cut of beef that is known for its rich flavor and tenderness. It’s a versatile cut that can be used in a variety of dishes, from tacos to stir-fries.

However, when it comes to cooking flank steak, one question that often arises is whether to cut with or against the grain. In this article, we’ll explore the answer to this question and why it matters.

What is the grain?

Before we dive into the cutting technique, let’s first define what the grain is. The grain refers to the direction of the muscle fibers in the meat. In flank steak, these fibers run parallel to each other and are visible as lines on the surface of the meat.

Cutting against the grain

When you cut against the grain, you’re cutting perpendicular to these muscle fibers. This means that you’re essentially breaking up the fibers into shorter pieces. This has several benefits when it comes to cooking flank steak.

Firstly, cutting against the grain makes for a more tender bite. Since you’re cutting through shorter pieces of muscle fiber, there’s less resistance when you bite into it. This can make a big difference in how enjoyable your meal is.

Secondly, cutting against the grain can help make your flank steak more flavorful. By breaking up those muscle fibers, you’re also exposing more surface area of the meat to your marinade or seasoning. This means that each bite will be packed with flavor.

How to cut against the grain

To cut against the grain, first identify which direction the muscle fibers are running by looking at the lines on top of your flank steak. Then, turn your knife perpendicular to these lines and slice across them.

Cutting with the grain

On the other hand, cutting with the grain means slicing parallel to these muscle fibers. This can result in a tougher, chewier bite since you’re not breaking up those muscle fibers.

However, there are some situations where cutting with the grain may be desirable. For example, if you’re slicing flank steak for a stir-fry or fajitas, cutting with the grain can help keep the meat from falling apart and becoming too shredded.

How to cut with the grain

To cut with the grain, simply slice parallel to the lines on top of your flank steak.

In conclusion

So, do you cut with or against the grain for flank steak? The answer depends on what you’re using it for and what kind of texture you want.

If tenderness is your priority, then cutting against the grain is the way to go. However, if you’re looking for a more stable and intact piece of meat, cutting with the grain may be preferable. Regardless of which method you choose, it’s important to always slice flank steak against a bias angle for optimal results.