What You Will Need
You only need two simple tools for the perfect butterfly cut; a sharp chef’s knife and a sturdy cutting board. A good chopping board is resistant to bacterial contamination and it will not dull your knife.
How to Perform the Cut
Step 1 – Remove the Bone
Consider removing the bone first if you are working with a wing steak, rib steak, or any type of steak with a bone. Separate the bone from the meat by holding the steak on the cutting board and run the knife along the bone as neatly as possible. You can throw it on the grill and cook it alongside steak if you did not cut it as neatly as you intended.
Step 2 – Mark the Point Where You’ll Cut
Lay the steak on the chopping board, and turn the rim of fat to face your knife-hand. Either side is fine if there is no fat cap. Next, hold the knife horizontally and mark the point of cut by gently scoring a line at the midpoint of the steak. Place one hand flat on the steak surface and grasp the knife using the other hand. This helps hold the steak in place when moving the knife through the flesh.
Step 3 – Lightly Cut Through the Fat Cap
The next step is to place the knife on the marked line along the edge of the steak. If your steak has a fat cap, you need to cut through it by making a long stroke with your knife. Be cautious enough to stop once you have reached the meat. If you use a lot of force to cut through the fat cap and it sinks a few inches inside the meat then you will not end up with a clean cut.
Step 4 – Perform a Long, Smooth Stroke
Hold the knife horizontally with the blade held firmly against the steak’s edge along the marked line. Using a little force, cut into the steak with a long, smooth stroke but stop when your blade is approximately ¼ or ¾ inch from the steak’s back edge. Professional chefs know that it is quite difficult to make the neatest possible cut with one motion. This is attributed to the fact that a butterflied steak needs to have a sort of a hinge that holds the two thin slices of the meat when placed on a grill.
Step 5 – Evaluate your Cut
Evaluate your cut by opening up the steak. To open up the middle evenly, you may have to make another smaller cut. Unfold the sliced steak like a book so that the cut surface faces the top or towards your direction. It might not always stay open as per your expectations when placed this way. Use the flat of your knife to press it down. Alternatively, you can cover it with a heavy plastic bag then gently pummel it with a meat mallet.
The most important tools to consider when butterflying a steak is to have a sharp knife and a good cutting board. Preparing steak using this method allows it to cook quickly because you will have doubled its surface area. Not only does it provide rich, savory flavors but also provides twice as much surface to sear. How you prepare the steak once you have made the butterfly cut will vary based on your cooking method and individual preferences.