Cutting Pot Roast on the Diagonal

Beef pot roast
Pot roast is easy to cook and serve to your family. (Image: Mark Stout/iStock/Getty Images)

Pot roast is a traditional type of family meal that is easy to prepare in your oven or slow-cooker. Once your roast is fully cooked, you'll need to slice it prior to serving. Cutting the pot roast on the diagonal or bias means that you slice against the grain at an angle. Slicing your meat in this formation improves the texture and creates even slices.

Cuts of Beef

Pot roast comes from cuts of beef around the arms and shoulder of the cow. Because these areas have a lot of movement, they tend to be very tough. For this reason, it is important to cook a roast by braising. This cooking method requires you to cover about two-thirds of the protein in liquid to help tenderize the meat as it heats. You can use water or broth to braise your pot roast, as well as a combination of both liquids.

Preparing to Slice

Once your pot roast is fully cooked, you'll want to properly slice it. You will need a carving fork and a 12-inch or longer knife. Your knife should be freshly sharpened to help ease your slicing. Place the roast on a clean cutting board or large platter with the rib side facing toward you. Make sure the shorter side, if there is one, is on top. Place the carving fork in your nondominant hand and insert the fork into the center of the roast. Slice off the rib bone if it is still attached.

Slicing on the Diagonal

Place the knife in your dominant hand and start slicing on the right side if you are right-handed or just the opposite side if you are left-handed. Pot roasts are typically shorter on the top than on the bottom, requiring you to make your cuts diagonal as you slice downward. Gently slide your knife through the meat, slightly forcing your blade away from the roast. This diagonal motion ensures you get even slices on your roast. Make your cuts as thin or as thick as you like, but always cut against the grain.

Other Considerations

If you are not sure which side had the bone attached, place the roast squarely in front of you and look at the end you intend to slice. You will notice bundles of fibrous strands in the meat. You need to slice the long strands so they are shorter. Think of a neatly stacked bundle of straws bound together by a rubber band. If you were to cut the pile of straws against the grain, you would want to slice them so that you have a stack of mini straws, not stacks of long straws. Cutting your meat in this manner, against the grain, makes it more tender in your mouth. You won't have to chew as much to break apart the shorter strands of meat, allowing the pot roast to easily fall apart while chewing.

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