Widely cited in recipes of all kinds, prepared meat is to be cut “against the grain.” While it may come natural to some, others may be robbing themselves of the perfect bite of meat by making an unfortunate error. The secret to cutting meat at home (…the right way!) is brought to you by the experts here at D’Arcy’s Meat Market. Read on for our explanation of: the grain!
What is it? “The grain” is the direction of the muscle fibers in a cut of meat. Not to be confused with grill lines or fatty cracks on the surface, the pattern of the grain becomes more evident as the protein cooks. If you are unsure of how to identify the grain, feel free to ask a friendly D’Arcy’s staff member for advice!
Why cut against it? When cutting perpendicular or “against the grain,” you are shortening the muscle fibres. This phenomena creates a more tender bite of meat! Remember to always use a sharp knife and line it up 90 degrees to the lines of the grain– even a slight angle can lessen the tenderizing effect.
What if I cut with the grain? If you did the opposite and cut parallel or “with the grain,” you will find the muscle fibers are long and stringy. This will cause your sliced meat to be chewy, no matter how carefully you tenderized the dish. Not convinced? Try slicing both ways on your next cut of meat and taste the difference for yourself!
Cutting against the grain is as simple as that– one easy step to follow before serving your next meat masterpiece. There really is no secret! And there is no substitute for experience, so practice carefully with a properly sharpened, appropriately-sized knife. Questions? Concerns? Ask us! No one has more experience than D’Arcy’s!