Whether you’re preparing Bulgogi-style chicken, a salad topped with beef tenderloin, or a sirloin steak stir-fry, slicing meat correctly can be the difference between a delicious dish and a forgettable one. Even with a reliable chef’s knife (like the Mac Professional, the Food & Wine pick for the best chef’s knife on the market right now), it can still be tricky to achieve that perfect slice. Luckily, Justin Chapple is back with another installment of Mad Genius Tips, to show you a simple trick you may never have thought of but definitely need to try.
All you have to do is take your thawed cut of meat and dry it off with a paper towel. Then, place the meat in the freezer for 30 minutes (meaning, if you plan to use this technique next time you make dinner, give yourself plenty of preparation time), or until the meat is “just firm.”
Once it’s slightly frozen, as Chapple demonstrates, the meat will become hard enough for your knife to cut through smoothly. Rather than cutting ragged pieces, or pieces that are too thick, frozen meat gives you the leverage that you need to cut those thin slices. When Chapple cuts the steak, for instance, he’s able to shave small, thin slices right off without any strain.
This technique works for just about any cut of meat, from pork tenderloin to rib eye steak, to boneless, skinless chicken breast, and you don’t need any special tools, except a freezer and a knife.
If you need help deciding what cut of meat to buy, you might want to check out our guide to uncommon cuts of meat. Once you actually get around to cooking all those expensive steaks you just bought, read this butcher’s foolproof tips for cooking high-quality meat. As for that knife that you’re using, you should know that most people mistreat their knives. Here’s how to keep them sharp and in good shape.