If you have ever wondered what it means to cut meat “against the
grain,” here is your answer.
Some cuts of meat have distinct fibers in them, which make the meat
difficult to chew. Flank steak (typically used to make London broil),
skirt steak, and brisket
are good examples. Cutting through the fibers or grain in the meat
makes it tender and easier to chew.
The picture above shows the lines of the steak running
from right to left down the length of the steak. If you slice this
steak in the same direction as those lines, you’ll
have to chew through the fibers. Whereas if you cut across the lines or
the grain, the knife will have already done that work before a bite
reaches your mouth.
When slicing this type of meat, it is often recommended to slice thinly
at a 45-degree angle, as shown.