Flank steak is a popular cut of beef that’s known for its bold flavor and tender texture. It’s a versatile cut of meat that can be cooked in a variety of ways, including grilling, broiling, and pan-frying.

However, one term that often comes up when discussing flank steak is “against the grain.” But what does this mean?

What Does Against the Grain Mean?

When we talk about cutting meat against the grain, we’re referring to the direction of the muscle fibers. In flank steak, these fibers run lengthwise through the meat.

Cutting against the grain means slicing perpendicular to these fibers. This results in shorter muscle fibers in each piece of meat, which makes it easier to chew and more tender overall.

Why Is Cutting Against the Grain Important?

If you were to slice flank steak with the grain, you’d end up with long pieces of muscle fiber in each bite. These longer fibers are tougher to chew and can make your steak feel stringy or rubbery.

On the other hand, cutting against the grain helps break up these long fibers into smaller pieces that are easier to chew. This results in a more enjoyable eating experience overall.

How Do You Cut Flank Steak Against the Grain?

Cutting flank steak against the grain is actually quite simple once you know what you’re looking for.

First, take a look at your steak and identify which direction the muscle fibers are running in. They should be fairly easy to spot – they’ll look like thin lines running down the length of your meat.

Once you’ve identified which way the fibers are running, position your knife perpendicular to them. This means slicing across them at a 90-degree angle.

Start by making shallow cuts across your meat at this angle until you’ve created a series of thin slices that run against (perpendicular) to the grain.

Other Tips for Cooking Flank Steak

In addition to cutting against the grain, there are a few other things to keep in mind when cooking flank steak.

– Marinate your meat: Flank steak can be a bit tough on its own, so marinating it beforehand can help break down some of the tougher muscle fibers and add flavor. Try a simple marinade of olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and herbs.

– Cook it quickly: Flank steak is best cooked quickly at high heat. This helps to sear the outside and create a flavorful crust while keeping the inside tender.

– Let it rest: After cooking your flank steak, let it rest for at least 5-10 minutes before slicing into it. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and ensures that each bite is juicy and flavorful.


Cutting flank steak against the grain is an important step in creating a tender, delicious meal. By slicing perpendicular to the muscle fibers, you’ll end up with shorter pieces of meat that are easier to chew and more enjoyable overall. So next time you’re prepping flank steak for a meal, be sure to take note of which way the fibers are running – your taste buds will thank you!