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