The Hack That Makes Slicing Meat Easy – No Fancy Machines Required

If you've ever wandered past the meat section of your local grocery store and felt a tinge of jealousy as you watched the butcher perfectly slice meat with ease, you're not alone. Just think of all the great dishes you've been missing out on not having such a tool. But there is a kitchen hack you can use to get evenly divided cuts at home, and it doesn't require a commercial slicer.

Before you ambitiously take a knife to that raw beef or pork, pat it dry and wrap it in a light layer of plastic film. Then, set your protein in the freezer for between 15 and 20 minutes. You aren't looking to freeze your meat completely; it should only be there long enough for it to become firm. While it's stiff and the moisture within the cut slightly crystalline, the meat won't wiggle about as much, allowing you to make clean, even cuts. This works for any meat you need to slice thin, broad pieces for Korean barbecue, chunkier strips for stir fry, or cubed steak or chicken for pot pies or soups. But there are other things to consider when utilizing this valuable cutting hack.

Using the right knife is critical

Even with the advantage of firm meat, you'll still want the right tool for the job when you go to cut it up. The type of knife you use to carve up your meat can be the difference between easily slicing through it and struggling to see it through. Avoid a serrated bread knife at all costs, as using one will leave you with rough, jagged cuts. When you want to divide up thin slices of meat, a resourceful chef's knife will do the trick. A chef's knife is the ideal utensil for several culinary tasks, including slicing meat, and it's one of the most common knives in homes today. 

A better knife to reach for is the classic butcher knife or (regardless of the name) a broad vegetable cleaver. They're less commonly found in the average household but are ideal for slicing small, consistently sized pieces. A butcher's knife has a long, curved blade that is very sharp and passes through meat smoothly, creating the ideal strips you want for that perfect beef bulgogi. A veggie cleaver is almost completely rectangular but offers great control, and its size (usually about the length of a chicken breast) lets you easily cut broad pieces.

Whichever knife you choose, the most important thing is that the knife is sharp. It goes without saying a sharp knife is also crucial when you're after thin cuts you're planning to velvet up, but just as basic and essential for this hack is a sturdy block beneath it. 

A stable surface will make this hack easier

After the freezer has provided you with a firm piece of meat and you have a sharp knife in hand, make sure the surface you're cutting it on remains motionless as you work. A stable cutting board will make this job easier, and a heavy wooden board will sit still while you're slicing your protein. If you don't possess a heavy chopping board, stick a damp kitchen towel underneath the cutting board you do have to keep it from sliding around while you work.

When this hack is done correctly, you will end up with thin, uniform pieces of your favorite meat that will cook evenly as you prepare your next culinary masterpiece. Having a machine to do the job has its advantages, but it's not a necessary tool if you know this trick. The next time you walk past the butcher effortlessly using a slicer you can smile, confident in the knowledge that you don't need anything that extravagant to get perfectly portioned meat with the freezer hack anytime you'd like.