How To Cut Thin Meat Slices For Super-Quick Meals
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For 98% of Americans, home-cooked meals are preferable. However, the majority cannot do so because of tight daily schedules and other factors. Therefore, some resort to fast food and takeouts at least four times a week.
Meanwhile, people prefer to prepare meals that don’t take too long to get onto the plate. This is where things like thin meat cuts come into the picture. They cook easier and within a short time, and it is why T-bone steak and pan fried pork chops are popular as thin cuts. But how do you get those perfectly thin slices? Here are some tips.
Freeze the meat first
The main purpose of freezing the meat is to slightly firm it up. Raw meat is slippery and can be pretty tricky to deal with in that state. The combination of fat (no matter how less), water, and soft muscle make it almost impossible to keep the lump of meat stable during the freezing process.
Therefore, culinary experts recommend placing it on a rimmed baking sheet before sticking it into the freezer. Do not cover the meat, and depending on the freezing power of your kitchen appliance, 20 to 30 minutes can be enough.
Remember, the objective is to make it firm and not get the meat icy frozen since you may not be able to slice it with an ordinary kitchen knife in that state. So what happens to meat when it’s in the freezer.
According to chef-inspired cookery articles, the water and fat within the meat form semi-crystals when exposed to freezing conditions for up to 30 minutes. The formation of semi-crystals allows the meat to solidify enough to make thin slices possible.
Attend to other meal prepping during the freezing period
While waiting for your meat to firm up in the freezer, your meal prepping can begin.
Cut vegetables, get your seasoning ready, or pre-heat the oven if you bake or grill those slices. In effect, anything else related to the cooking process can be done in those 20 to 30 minutes.
It saves time and ensures that very little is done after taking the meat out of the freezer. Additionally, the cooking science behind this is to ensure that the meat can be seasoned immediately after cutting it into slices.
If you wait too long after taking it out of the freezer, it gets too sloppy again and may break apart during the frying or grilling process. If it’s semi-frozen, ensure that it cooks through thoroughly.
Cutting the meat against the grain
After taking the meat out of the freezer, it’s best to cut against the meat grain. This requires paying attention to the direction of the meat fibers, whether vertical or horizontal lines. Therefore, cutting against the natural direction ends in shorter fibers that cook quicker.
More importantly, they are easier to chew. However, the success of your thin slices will depend on the sharpness of your kitchen knife. Your cutting tool should run through the semi-frozen meat in a gentle sawing motion without much difficulty. Carving knives are best used for these types of cuts. At the same time, you must ensure that the slice is even and completely cut from top to bottom.
*This article is based on personal suggestions and/or experiences and is for informational purposes only. This should not be used as professional advice. Please consult a professional where applicable.