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Preparing raw steaks - cutting against the grain ????

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Ok so I dont have a 3D brain.  I'm trying to wrap my head about this.


If I buy a top sirloin at Costo, and I want to prepare steaks (for biltong and grilling), then at least in my mind, cutting the raw steaks with the grain results in the smallest muscle fiber length on the final cut on your plate with your knife (i.e the length of the muscle fiber will be the depth of your final slice en route to your mouth).

 

However, I watched this guy's vid, and he prepares steaks against the grain (see 2:24):

 

 

If I play this scenario out, then the final slice en route to your mouth will have muscle fibers the width of your final cut, which is normally much bigger than the depth of your final slice.  Does this make sense?

 

So how come then this guy cuts raw steaks against the grain?

 

 

 


Edited by mummel - 12/15/15 at 2:10pm
post #2 of 19
Thread Starter 

Actually, the way he cuts his, wont it turn out like the pic below?

 

post #3 of 19

Across the grain in Sliced meat, like a roast, makes for more tender bites. The grain is 1/4" by the width of the slice. In large muscles the fibers run the length or the muscle so it is just easier to cut across the grain for multiple uniform sized steaks and slices. Think what Rib Steaks would look like cut WITH the grain...Not available on the Bone, large slabs some all Rib eye, some mostly the Spinalis muscle, cap over the eye on the Chuck end. Some with a huge strip of silver skin down the middle, some with a big Fat Cap or fat internally. All muscles cut with the grain would comprise two worthless outer steaks that were covered in Fat and a sheet of Connective Tissue. Look at the steak below to see what I mean. Picture this cut top to bottom...JJ

 

Rib-steak-raw-MCB.jpg 

post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mummel View Post

Actually, the way he cuts his, wont it turn out like the pic below?




Yes.... That's how they will turn out... All steaks are cut like that... usually about 3/4" thick... so you aren't chewing a long hunk of muscle fiber.... Thicker steaks are cut from tender cuts of meat so you can chew them...
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveOmak View Post


Yes.... That's how they will turn out... All steaks are cut like that... usually about 3/4" thick... so you aren't chewing a long hunk of muscle fiber.... Thicker steaks are cut from tender cuts of meat so you can chew them...

 

But I guess what I'm saying is that isnt it better to slice the raw steak with the grain, then cook it, and the final cut of the steak on your plate will then be against the grain.  Wouldnt that be the best way to get the shortest muscle fibers?

 

Draw it on a piece of paper to see what I mean.

post #6 of 19
Try it and judge the results...
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

But look, prepping a raw steak against the grain results in the top pic right?

 

 

post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 

Here's another example.  Prepping raw steaks against the grain results in the fibers running in the direction youre going to slice with your knife on your plate once it's cooked.  This doesnt make sense.

 

 

 

post #9 of 19
You can talk this to death... try it...
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mummel View Post

But look, prepping a raw steak against the grain results in the top pic right?





The top pic is with the grain...
post #11 of 19

Oh we all know how this is going to turn out if he cuts it with the grain.

 

Think of the muscle as a rubber band.  Meat shrinks when cooked/smoked/roasted/grilled/fried, etc.  If you cut it with the grain prior to cooking you have a 3-5" rubber band that is going to shrink most in one direction, usually 30-50%, increasing the density and toughness of the meat.  If you cut it against the grain 1/4" thick, you have a 1/4" inch rubber band.  You still get shrinkage but the intact fibers are MUCH easier to bite through. 

 

Try it both ways on one cut and see for yourself. 

post #12 of 19

@mummel  I have to laugh because these are the kinds of things I wonder about all the time.  My wife thinks I am crazy.  I often buy large cuts at restaurant depot and always stress about this.

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by worktogthr View Post
 

@mummel  I have to laugh because these are the kinds of things I wonder about all the time.  My wife thinks I am crazy.  I often buy large cuts at restaurant depot and always stress about this.

 

HAHA!  I just want to get it right on my next cut.  Im slicing up a whole top sirloin tomorrow.

 

But seriously guys, look at the pic.  If I want to get my slice looking like the one marked the "RIGHT" way, then the only way I can do that is if my raw steak is cut with the grain.  If I cut my raw steak against the grain, then its going to look like the top pic.

 

I dont get it.  WHAT AM I MISSING?????

 

 

post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 

post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 

post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 

3:34 - "makes it kind of chewy":

 

post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 

Whats even more confusing is that biltong is 100% cut with the grain so that the final cut is against the grain, to get the softest possible chew.

 

I'm so confused. 

 

http://www.ejozi.co.za/view/printview-15.html

 

The meat must be cut with the grain. This is because when you come to eat the final product you will cut the biltong across the grain (and tough tissue), in order to get the most tender pieces.

post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
A quick update. I cut up a whole top sirloin into biltong strips and cut them with the grain. I decided to grill one of the strips to test it. It was delicious (Montreal Steaks) but it was tougher that it should have been.

Someone commented that the meat tenses up (i.e the fibers contract) if the steaks are cut with the grain. I concur.

The reason it works with biltong Is because the fibers don't contract because no heat is used. It makes sense to cut the strips with the grain to get the shortest possible muscle fibers that end up in your mouth.

But when cooking, heat causes the fibers to contact and cutting the steaks against the grain OUTWEIGHS the benefits of cutting with the grain and having smaller fibers.

Fun discussion. TY.
post #19 of 19
Excellent test...... icon14.gif
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