What’s The Grain? Why It Matters in Preparing Meat

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What's The Grain? Why It Matters in Preparing Meat

Culinary students can learn how to prepare meat so that it can be tasty and tender. Do you know how to cook the perfect steak? A big part of the process has to do with the grain of the meat and how you slice it so that your perfect steak can be thoroughly enjoyed after you cook it.

Among the many food preparations, terms and techniques you can learn in culinary school will be to “cut against the grain” when cooking meat recipes. What is the grain? In meat, the grain is simply the muscle fibers or sinews. These can be fine and hardly noticeable or they can be large and tough, depending on the cut of meat.

Muscle fibers are designed to be strong and are therefore often difficult to chew. Cutting the meat properly will help to ensure that the meat’s texture is tender and enjoyable to eat. When learning how to prepare meat in culinary school, instructors would advise cutting against the grain. By doing so, you are cutting through the tough muscle fibers that might otherwise be too tough for your dining guests to chew.

What does it matter if you slice with the grain?

Even with the sharpest knife, it takes much more effort to slice along the lines of the muscle fiber. Imagine how much more difficult it will be to eat the piece of steak with the muscle fiber remaining intact. Slicing across the grain breaks up that tough fiber, creating a more tender piece of meat.

Different kinds of meat have different types of grain. Tenderloin is a lean cut, so the muscle fibers are thin and may be difficult to spot. However, there are other types of steak, such as skirt steak, hanger steak, or flank, where the muscle fiber bundles are thicker and the meat has a more clearly defined grain.

Some of the meat’s tenderness has to do with basic methods of food preparation. For example, how you season the steak can make a difference not only to taste but also its toughness. Cutting against the grain of a properly cooked and seasoned steak will almost guarantee that it will be tasty and tender. So in addition to learning the best way to cook steak in culinary school, you will be taught the best way to cut and serve it!

Want to learn how to cook the perfect steak? Dorsey Culinary Academy can help!

What's The Grain? Why It Matters in Preparing Meat

At the Dorsey Culinary Academy in Michigan, we expose our students to these tips and more, to help them become more successful in their chosen careers. Our students can learn by doing, with hands-on activities. Our facilities model real-world occupational settings with industry-current equipment. Dorsey’s culinary students will have the opportunity to learn why it’s important to cut against the grain and so more, to prepare for possible careers in restaurants, hotels, resorts, hospitals, and schools.

Learn more about the Dorsey Culinary Academy, then contact us to get started on your culinary training!

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For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who have completed the program, and other important information, please click here.

Reviewed and edited 12/6/17

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