Why this is the ONLY way you should ever slice your steak

Steak Basics 101

It's date night. You've cooked your steaks to perfection: thoroughly pink inside, with an exceptionally brown crust exterior. Your lady takes the first bite and dishes out the tough, chewy truth... what went wrong?

It's been said time and time again that you should slice your meat against the grain, but the question that always resurfaces is: does it really make a difference in the flavor?

Let's start with a little informal Steak 101. The grain of the steak is the most important characteristic of the meat. It is the direction in which its muscle fibers are aligned. Not to be confused with the steak's natural faults and grill marks, properly identifying the steak's grain can make the difference between a tough or tender protein.

America's Test Kitchen conducted an experiment to find out why slicing against the grain is the way to go when it comes to cutting steak for optimal flavor.

The test kitchen cooked a flank steak in a temperature-controlled water bath of 130 degrees, then cut thick steak slices with and against the grain.They repeated the experiment three times and averaged the results.

The results were all-around in favor of slicing against the grain.

The steak sliced against the grain required a "bite" with 383 grams of force, while the piece carved in the same direction required a "bite" with 1,729 grams of force. If you do the math, that's more than four times more force than you would need to exert chewing.

This video explains it further:

All in all, slicing against the grain effects the quality of meat so much, steak flanks may very well be up against premium steak cuts. Definitely something to keep in mind for the next date night...

Now, here's how to properly grill steak:
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Why this is the ONLY way you should ever slice your steak

Choosing the Meat

For grilling, pick a steak that's at least 1 1/2-inches thick with marbling in the meat. The fat adds flavor and makes it tender and juicy. This is a New York strip steak.

Trim the Meat

Cut off excess fat, but leave some for flavor.

Temperature Matters

Bring the meat to room temperature and preheat the grill.

Get the Grill Ready

Set up the grill for direct and indirect grilling at least 30 minutes before you cook. Get to know the hot and cool spots by carefully placing your hand 6 inches above the grill.

Oil the Grill

Use tongs and a folded paper towel dipped in oil. Let the oil heat until it's smoking, and then it's time to cook.

Get Grilling

Pat the meat dry, season with salt and pepper on each side and then place the steaks on the hot part of the grill. Let them sear until they release without sticking.

Grill Marks

When the steak lifts easily from the grill, reposition it about 90 degrees to get professional-looking grill marks.

Turn and Repeat

Flip the steaks, let them cook and then give them another quarter turn.

Check the Temperature

Insert the thermometer lengthwise for the best reading. A temperature of 130 to 145 degrees F is the range between medium-rare and medium. For a well-done steak, move it to the cooler part of the grill and let it cook longer.

Let It Rest

Let the steaks rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing to let the juices settle. Then slice and serve.

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