If you are a meat enthusiast or someone who loves to cook, you might have come across the term “grain” while preparing a flank steak. Knowing the grain of the meat is essential for cooking it perfectly. In this article, we will discuss what is meant by the grain of a flank steak and how to identify it.

What is Grain in Meat?

The grain in meat refers to the direction of muscle fibers in the cut. It is important to identify the grain of meat before cooking as it can affect its texture and tenderness. Cutting against the grain means slicing perpendicular to the direction of muscle fibers, while cutting with the grain means slicing parallel to it.

Flank steak is a lean and flavorful cut that has long muscle fibers running through it. It is best cooked by grilling, broiling, or pan-frying and should be sliced against the grain for maximum tenderness.

How to Identify Grain in Flank Steak

Identifying the grain in flank steak might seem tricky at first, but with a little practice, you can do it quickly. Follow these simple steps to identify the grain:

1. Look for visible lines: Examine your flank steak closely and look for visible lines running across its surface; these lines indicate muscle fibers’ direction.

2. Use your fingers: Using your fingers, run them over one end of the steak. You will feel resistance when you run your fingers against muscle fibers’ direction compared to when you run them along with them.

3. Cut a piece: If you’re still unsure about which way the grain runs, make a small cut on one end of the steak and examine its cross-section carefully. The long striations running through will indicate which way its fibers run.

Why Slicing Against Grain is Important?

Slicing against grain might seem like an insignificant detail; however, it can make a substantial difference in the tenderness of the steak. When you slice against the grain, you cut through muscle fibers, making them shorter and easier to chew. If you cut with the grain, you leave long muscle fibers intact, which makes them harder to chew and results in a tough and Chewy steak.


Grain is an essential factor when it comes to cooking flank steak. Identifying the grain and slicing against it can make a significant difference in the tenderness of this flavorful cut.

Remember to look for visible lines, use your fingers, or make a small cut on one end to identify grain direction correctly. With these tips in mind, you can cook a perfect flank steak every time!