How to Slice Corned Beef Against the Grain

It might not seem to matter too much how you slice your meat, but it can actually make the difference between an enjoyable meal and one that is just plain hard to chew. Corned beef, which is a good source of protein, iron and zinc, is made from the muscle of a cow, and that muscle is formed with a variety of fibers that attach together. When you slice against the grain, you're shortening these fibers, which makes the meat more tender and easier to chew.

Step 1

Place your cooked piece of corned beef on a large cutting board. Make a small incision along one end of the corned beef. Pull the meat apart, using a fork if necessary, to see which way the grain fibers of the meat run.

Step 2

Arrange the piece of corned beef on the cutting board so the fibers of the meat are situated diagonally to your body.

Step 3

Use a sharp knife to trim away the fat around the edges of the corned beef. You don't want to eat the fat because it's unhealthy, and too much fat contributes to an increased risk of heart disease. Removing the fat before slicing the meat is easier than trying to cut it off of each individual slice of corned beef.

Step 4

Slice the corned beef by cutting the meat at right angles to the direction of the grain, according to the well-known cooking book "The Illustrated Cook's Book of Ingredients." Cut the meat into thin slices as another way to shorten the muscle fibers and to help make the meat more tender than you would get with thicker slices.

Things You'll Need

  • Large cutting board

  • Sharp knife

  • Fork


A sharp knife makes it easier to slice your corned beef, which makes the meat more tender. Don't use a serrated knife because it will tear the meat and make it unattractive and less tender.

Cook your corned beef in a slow cooker. This also helps tenderize the meat. You should still slice the slow-cooked corned beef against the grain, however, to retain that tender texture.

Use thin slices of corned beef to make sandwiches or smother the meat with low-fat gravy and serve it with steamed carrots and cabbage, which add fiber and vitamin A to your corned beef meal.


If you notice that you're cutting with the grain, reposition the corned beef and try again. This way you won't ruin the entire piece of meat.

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