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How to Carve and Serve Beef


It may seem needless to direct one how to carve a sirloin steak, but it sometimes appears to require more skill than to carve poultry, as those who have been so unfortunate as to receive only the flank can testify.

I believe most strongly, as a matter of economy, in removing the bone, and any tough membrane or gristle that will not be eaten, before cooking the steak. If there be a large portion of the flank, cook that in some other way. With a small, sharp knife cut close to the rib on each side, round the backbone, and remove the tough white membrane on the edge of the tenderloin. Leave the fat on the upper edge, and the kidney fat also, or a part of it, if it be very thick. There need be no waste or escape of juices if the cutting be done quickly, neatly, and just before cooking. Press the tenderloin—that is, the small portion on the under side of the bone—close to the upper part, that the shape may not be changed.

In serving place it on the dish with the tenderloin next to the carver. Cut in long narrow strips from the fat edge down through the tenderloin. Give each person a bit of tenderloin, upper part, and fat. If the bone be not removed before cooking, remove the tenderloin first by cutting close to the bone, and divide it into narrow pieces; then remove the meat from the upper side of the bone and cut in the same manner. A long, narrow strip about as wide as the steak is thick is much more easily managed on one's plate than a square piece. Serve small portions, and then, if more be desired, help again.

In carving large rump steaks or round steaks, cut always across the grain, in narrow strips. Carving-knives are always sharper than table-knives, and should do the work of cutting the fibres of the meat; then the short fibres may easily be separated by one's own knife. There is a choice in the several muscles of a large rump steak, and it is quite an art to serve it equally.


The backbone or thickest end should be at the right end of the dish.

Carve a sirloin roast by cutting several thin slices parallel with the ribs. Then cut down across the ribs near the backbone, and also at the flank end, and separate the slices.

The slices should be as thin as possible and yet remain slices, not shavings. Turn the meat over and cut out the tenderloin and slice it in the same manner across the grain; or turn the meat over and remove the tenderloin first. Many prefer to leave the tenderloin to be served cold. Cut slices of the crisp fat on the flank in the same way, and serve to those who wish it. This is a part which many dislike, but some persons consider it very choice. Always offer it unless you know the tastes of those whom you are serving.


A roast from the back of the rump, if cooked without removing the bone, should be placed on the platter with the backbone on the farther side. Cut first underneath to loosen the meat from the bone. Then, if the family be large and all the meat is to be used, the slices may be cut lengthwise; but should only a small quantity be needed, cut crosswise and only from the small end. It is then in better shape for the second day.

It is more economical to serve the poorer parts the first day, as they are never better than when hot and freshly cooked. Reserve the more tender meat to be served cold.


Before cooking, remove all the fat, and every fibre of the tough white membrane. Press it into shape again and lard it, or cover it with its own fat. If this fibre be not removed, the sharpest knife will fail to cut through it. Place it on the platter with the larger end at the right; or if two short fillets be used, place the thickest ends in the middle. Carve from the thickest part, in thin, uniform slices.


Place round of beef on the platter, flesh side up, and carve in horizontal slices, care being taken to carve evenly, so that the portion remaining may be in good shape. As the whole of the browned outside comes off with the first slices, divide this into small pieces, to be served if desired with the rare, juicy, inside slices.

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Helpful Tips
A very important matter is the condition of the carving knife. It should have a handle easy to grasp, a long, thin, sharp, pointed blade, and be of a size adapted to the article to be carved and to the person using it.

Be as particular to have the knife sharp as to have it bright and clean; and always sharpen it before start of the the dinner. It is very annoying for a person to be obliged to wait and sharpen the knife, or to turn the meat round to get it into the right position.

Never allow a carving-knife to be used to cut bread, or for any other than its carving purpose.

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