Carving Beef Against (Across) the Grain: unlocking the mystery

Carving beef against (across) the grain is important. IT IS KEY to making meat tender  — what we all want!


Raw Skirt  Steak


Cooked Skirt Steak Carved Against the Grain

How you cut your meat matters – at the butcher level and at home too. Once you know how to do it, you can get a great eating experience out of even the less tender cuts of beef. By cooking and carving it right, you can broaden out the type of steaks and roasts you can enjoy. Cuts like Skirt Steak, Flank, Inside or Outside Round – just about any Marinating Steak or lean Oven Roast will really benefit if you carve across the grain.
Carving across the grain, means that you are cutting across the long muscle fibres. The longer the meat fibre, the harder it is to chew. So if you shorten the meat fibres by cutting across them, it is easier to chew. Meat fibres run parallel to each other, in one direction – much like the grain in wood. Hence the term: Carving against (across) the grain.

1. Start by taking a look at the meat — look for the ‘parallel stripes’ and determine which way they are lined up (or ‘running’) in the meat. You can see them in both raw or cooked meat. In some cuts it is easier to see than in others.

2. With a sharp carving knife, cut across the parallel stripes (grain) of the meat. There – you just made your meat more tender!

Raw Flank Steak

Raw Flank Steak

Cooked Flank Steak Carved Against the Grain

Cooked Flank Steak Carved Against the Grain


  • always let cooked meat rest at least 5 minutes before you cut into it
  • thinner slices are better than thick slices to maximize tenderness
  • Some cuts can be tricky and the meat grain direction can change within the cut — Tri Tip is one of those. Change your direction of carving in order to continue cutting across the grain. Tri Tip video link here: come and get it!


2 replies
    • Joyce
      Joyce says:

      For those of you who have never heard of Shell Bone roast before, it is the short loin section, like the T-bone or porterhouse — both with contain tenderloin and strip loin sections. Oven Roasting is the best way to cook it. Thanks for your enlightening comment Marlene. I learned something new about beef today! Joyce

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply