How to Cut Corned Beef: 10 Steps (with Pictures)

St. Patrick’s Day is quickly approaching, so why not enjoy the traditional Irish-American dish of corned beef and cabbage? If you’re making corned beef for the first time or a seasoned cook curious about how others make it, take a look at the list of five mistakes to avoid and what to do instead to ensure corned beef perfection.

Look for the Fibers

Place the corned beef that has been cooked on a sizable cutting board. Make a tiny cut along the corned beef’s one end. Then, separate the meat, if necessary using a fork, to determine the direction in which the grain fibers run.

What Is Against The Grain On Corned Beef?

What Is Against The Grain On Corned Beef?

What Is Against The Grain On Corned Beef?

Position the Meat

Place the piece of corned beef on the cutting board with the meat fibers positioned perpendicular to your body.

Trim Away the Fat

Use a sharp knife to trim away the fat around the edges of the corned beef. You dont want to eat the fat because it contains a lot of saturated fat — and too much can contribute to an increased risk of heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.

It is simpler to remove the fat before slicing the meat than to attempt to do so for each individual slice of corned beef.

Your corned beef will be easier to slice with a sharp knife, which results in more tender meat. Using a serrated knife could cause the meat to be torn, making the corned beef stringy and less tender.

Slice Against the Grain

Cut the meat at a right angle to the grain to help prevent stringy corned beef. Another method to help shorten the muscle fibers and make the meat more tender than it would be with thicker slices is to cut the meat into thin slices.

What Is Against The Grain On Corned Beef?

What Is Against The Grain On Corned Beef?

What Is Against The Grain On Corned Beef?

Reposition the corned beef and try again if you notice you’re cutting against the grain to prevent ruining the entire piece of meat.

Tips for a Corned Beef Meal

Try slow-cooking your corned beef — the slow cooker helps to tenderize the meat, according to PennState Extension. You should still slice slow-cooked corned beef against the grain, though, to retain that tender texture.

Add vegetables to your dish for a one-pot meal. Place veggies, such as potatoes and carrots, on the bottom of the slow cooker. These take longer to cook and need to be closer to the heat source, according to the University of Minnesota Extension.

Use thin slices of corned beef to make sandwiches or smother the meat in low-sodium gravy. Refrigerate any leftovers within two hours for another tasty meal. You can eat cooked corned beef within three to four days, or freeze it for two to three months, as advised by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.

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Cutting Against The Grain — Why & How?


Do you slice corned beef with or against the grain?

Instead: Treat corned beef just like steak. The “grain” of the meat can be found by looking for the lines of clearly visible muscle fibers on the surface. Always cut corned beef across the grain rather than with it. Each piece is easier to chew after the muscle fibers are cut, which also shortens them.

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