Raw flank steak with a fork
You Should Keep An Eye On Muscle Fibers Before Cooking A Cut Of Beef
When picking out a steak for dinner, assessing the thickness of the muscle fibers in a cut of beef will clue you into just how much jaw power you will need to chew on it.
The muscle fibers in beef are directly related to how much exercise that area of the cow's body gets. Muscles that are used a lot will have less fat and more fibers.
Checking a cut’s muscle fibers will not only clue you in on the cut’s toughness but also how it should be cooked. Beef cuts with thicker muscle fibers are best cooked low and slow.
Cuts with thick fibers include chuck roast, rib cuts, rump roast, shank, and brisket. Flank, hanger, and skirt steaks are also tough, but they do well with a quick sear.
Cuts with thinner muscle fibers do well with dry-heat cooking methods such as grilling. These cuts come from the loin of the cow and include tenderloin, filet mignon, and strip.
You can decipher the toughness of a cut just by looking at it. If you are able to see bundles of the fibers, they're considered thick, and low and slow is the way to go.
If you cannot make out the fibers and the meat is generally soft upon touch, it's a tender cut that will fare well with dry and quick cooking.