05 Dec The Subtle Art of Slicing
Cutting meat is an art, and one that’s probably been around longer than most. But lately it seems to be one consigned to late night reruns of iron chef and the kind of commercials where they cut a shoe in half but still manage a paper thin tomato slice right before the number to call pops up on-screen. Heck, we’ve all watched our dad’s hack away at a thanksgiving turkey enough times to consider it a lost art. With a lack of precision you tend to get ragged chunks and slices that cook unevenly and look even worse. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a few simple tips and tricks you can carve away with a precision that would sweat out anyone from a ginzu knife salesman to the grandpa that grabbed the carving set away from your dad every Thanksgiving.
A good sharp knife
This is as basic as it gets. It’s a well known fact that a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one, and that goes double for your cooking. If you’re working with a dull instrument you’re going to expend twice the energy getting half as much done, and end up with a cut of meat that’s more Friday the 13th than plate ready.
Partially frozen meat is a lot easier to cut than a fully thawed cut or a block of frozen meat. As the water in the tissue starts to melt it crystallizes, giving it a firmer structure that cuts more cleanly and more easily. Firm to the touch but not frozen is ideal, and will leave you with a clean countertop and a perfect cut every time.
You’ve probably heard a lot about cutting along the grain, but what does that mean exactly? Meat is muscle, and muscle is made of layers of muscle fibers stacked on top of each other. If you cut the meat along the lines of these fibers instead of across them, not only is it easier to cut but it will leave the meat far more tender than if you had shredded through them.
It’s three simple steps, but keeping them all in mind and working them into your kitchen routine will have you saving a lot of time and energy, and slicing and dicing like a pro.