How To Cut Wagyu Beef Against The Grain
The best way to cut Wagyu beef is with a clean, sharp knife perpendicular to the grain’s direction.
Find out more with A5 Meats about how and why we cut meat against the grain.
Why cut beef against the grain?
You may find yourself asking why we do this. After all, Wagyu is the most succulent meat in the world, with a texture, flavor, and succulence light years ahead of anything else.
What benefit could cutting against the grain possibly bring?
Well, muscles have to be hard to break, and for this reason, they consist of thousands of tiny strands. Think of the strands in a rope – individual strands are easy to damage but put them all together, and suddenly you have made something far more robust than before.
To make the flesh the best eating texture that it can be, we cut ‘against the grain.’ Slicing thinly and against the grain keeps the individual muscle fibers shorter. Those long fibers get broken up, meaning there is much more space for the beautiful, rich fats to thoroughly absorb into the meat during the cooking and resting process.
It also means it is far easier to cut through and chew, enhancing the culinary experience.
How to cut Wagyu Beef
Cutting against the grain is one of those early preparation tasks that is so easy to get right but makes such a big difference at the end. That said, there is a technique to it, and you don’t want to get it wrong.
First of all, lay the meat on a clean cutting surface in good light and take a close look (otherwise known as ‘reading the meat’). Notice which way the grain runs – similar to the grain in wood, you can see which way the grain lies in meat by the tiny parallel lines on the surface. Sometimes it can be a little tricky to spot, especially if you have an exceptionally marbled example, which is often the case with Wagyu beef. If that happens, look a little closer and try to ignore the fat marbling, as it can sometimes be misleading.
Once you’ve figured out the grain direction, you may find it easier to turn the meat (or cutting surface, whichever is more convenient or comfortable for you) if you’re a beginner. The grain should run horizontally in front of you (so, east to west or left to right direction). You can then pick up your knife and carefully cut it at right angles, slicing straight across the grain.
Remember to let your knife do the work – you should never have to find yourself ‘dragging’ and tearing through the meat. If your knife is the right tool for the task (after all, a butter knife won’t do the job!) and is sharp enough, you shouldn’t run into any difficulties.
If you find areas of the grain that run in different directions, you should turn the meat until it’s back at that ‘left to right stance’ and carry on. You can rotate as many times as you like until the task is complete.
At A5 Meats, we have lots of great information and advice about Wagyu beef on our website. You will also find the star of the show – our fantastic range of Wagyu, hand selected and ready for speedy temperature controlled delivery, fresh to your door.