close mobile menu

Expert Tips

HOW TO CARVE STEAKS AND ROASTS

How to Carve a Steak

When it comes to carving meat, you may have heard the terms "cutting against the grain" or "across the grain." That's because every cut of meat from Filet Mignon to Top Sirloin Steak is made up of bundles of muscular fibers that run parallel to one another; the direction those fibers run in is called the "grain." Those bundles of fibers are quite strong and can be very tough. Some cuts of steak are more fibrous than others, like flank steak and skirt steak.

But don't worry! When you know how to properly carve a steak, you can make every bite melt-in-your-mouth tender, no matter what cut it is. Follow these tips and refer to the illustrations below and soon you'll be carving steak like a pro.

Carve A Steak - Step 1
  • 1

    After your steak is cooked, let it rest for 5 minutes. This lets the meat re-absorb its juices and makes it more flavorful.

    Make sure your knife is sharp (See our Expert Tips for How to Sharpen a Knife).

Carve A Steak - Step 2
  • 2

    If you are carving a bone-in steak, cut along the bone and pull the meat away from it.

    Take a good look at your steak and note which direction the fibers are running. Slide your knife back and forth across those fibers - across the grain - cutting your steak into slices. Keep each slice no more than 1/4" thick.

Carve A Steak - Step 3
  • 3

    To make each bite extra tender, hold your knife blade at a 45° angle; this is called "cutting on the bias." Cutting against the grain this way exposes more surface area in each fiber and keeps the fibers from being stacked directly on top of each other in each slice of meat, further weakening the bonds that hold them together.

How to Carve a Bone-In Prime Rib Roast


A Bone-In Prime Rib Roast is sure to be the crown jewel of any event. Don't be intimidated by the prospect of carving this beautiful roast for your guests – it's actually quite easy.

As with steak, it's important to understand the idea of "cutting against the grain" or "across the grain." That's because every cut of meat is made up of bundles of muscular fibers that run parallel to one another; the direction those fibers run in is called the "grain." Those bundles of fibers are quite strong and can be very tough. When you cut "against" (also called "across") those fibers, you cut them into very short – and most importantly – tender lengths.

Now, just follow these carving tips to make sure every bite of this impressive roast is tender, bold and deliciously unforgettable.

  • After your roast is cooked, let it rest for 20 minutes. This lets the meat re-absorb its juices and makes it more flavorful.
  • Make sure your carving knife is sharp (See our Expert Tips for How to Steel a Knife). A long, thin blade works best.
  • It is simplest to remove the bones in a slab, leaving the roast whole and easy to carve. Stand your roast with the bones upright. Hold the bones with your free hand to keep the roast steady. With long firm strokes, cut between the bones and the meat, following the edge of the bones as closely as you can. Cut all the way to the bottom of the roast and remove the rib bones completely.
  • To carve your roast, determine which direction the grain runs (typically parallel to the line of bones). Hold the roast steady with your free hand or a large fork. Using steady, long strokes, cut against the grain, slicing the roast into thin, even slices.
  • Only carve as many slices as you need at a time. This will keep the remaining roast warm for as long as possible and make leftovers easier to store.

How to Carve a Boneless Roast

No matter the cut, a properly prepared roast is the ultimate comfort food, perfect for Sunday dinner and special occasions alike.

Again, it's important to understand the idea of "cutting against the grain" or "across the grain." Every cut of meat is made up of bundles of muscular fibers that run parallel to one another; the direction those fibers run in is called the "grain." Those bundles of fibers are quite strong and can be very tough. When you cut "against" (also called "across") those fibers, you cut them into very short, no-longer-tough lengths.

Follow these carving tips and every bite will be a tender bit of happiness.

  • After your roast is cooked, let it rest for 20 minutes. This lets the meat re-absorb its juices and makes it more flavorful.
  • Make sure your knife is sharp (See our Expert Tips for How to Sharpen a Knife).
  • Look carefully at your roast to determine which direction the grain of the meat runs. Hold the roast steady with your free hand or a large fork. Using steady, long strokes, cut against the grain, slicing the roast into thin, even slices.
  • Only carve as many slices as you need at a time to keep the remaining roast warm for as long as possible and make leftovers easier to store.

Related

How to
Cook Bone-in Steak
How to
Cook Boneless Steak
How to
Roast Prime Rib