Why Cutting Meat Against the Grain is Scientifically Superior

One way to ensure the very best in your home grilling? Cutting your meat against the grain.

The friendly people over at America’s Test Kitchen took to science to prove the superiority of this method with something called a CT3 Texture Analyzer from Brookfield Engineering.

They took a flank steak (which has wide muscle fibers) and a section of strip loin (which has thin muscle fibers) and cooked both to an internal temperature of 130 degrees. Then they used the “ultra sensitive” CT3 to test how much force is required to bite into each cut of meat when carved with and against the muscle fiber grain.

When cut against the grain, the flank took—on average—about 383 grams of force to bite 5 millimeters into the meat, versus 1729 grams when cut with the grain. Perhaps even more notably, the strip cut tested 590 grams with the grain vs. 329 grams against.

In other words, when sliced perpendicular to the muscle fibers, a cut of flank can be just as tender as a cut of expensive New York strip steak, and that fact could save you money next time you’re lingering over the refrigerated section at the grocery store and wondering whether it’s a day for splurging. Buy the flank and cut against the grain for the biggest pay off. Science wants you to.

As Cook’s Illustrated Senior Editor Dan Souza notes in the video, this rule applies with the raw and cooked cuts, and is most useful for meat with wide fibers, a high proportion of connective tissue, and clear longitudinal grain, like skirt, hanger, and flank.

Now go light the coals! Class is dismissed.

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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A Short, Sweet History of Candy Corn

Love it or hate it, candy corn is here to stay.
Love it or hate it, candy corn is here to stay.
Evan-Amos, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Depending on which survey you happen to be looking at, candy corn is either the best or the worst Halloween candy ever created. If that proves anything, it’s that the tricolor treat is extremely polarizing. But whether you consider candy corn a confectionery abomination or the sweetest part of the spooky season, you can’t deny that it’s an integral part of the holiday—and it’s been around for nearly 150 years.

On this episode of Food History, Mental Floss’s Justin Dodd is tracing candy corn’s long, storied existence all the way back to the 1880s, when confectioner George Renninger started molding buttercream into different shapes—including corn kernels, which he tossed at actual chickens to see if it would fool them. His white-, orange-, and yellow-striped snack eventually caught the attention of Goelitz Confectionery Company (now Jelly Belly), which started mass-producing what was then sometimes called “chicken feed” rather than “candy corn.”

But what exactly is candy corn? Why do we associate it with Halloween? And will it ever disappear? Find answers to these questions and more in the video below.

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