How to Butterfly a Steak?

Butterflying a steak is the fastest way to get a juice, perfectly cooked, thick piece of beef. If you’ve invested in some quality steak cuts but don’t have the time to do them justice, you can always save the day by butterflying them.

This brings us to the ultimate question: how do you butterfly a steak? Well, for starters, you need a sharp knife. Read on for the next steps, plus the best type of knife for butterflying a steak.

Butterflying a Steak: What Does it Mean?

Butterflying a steak means cutting the steak horizontally, so it opens like a butterfly. Some thick steak cuts require the butterflying technique, as it is the only way to cook them on a grill.

Butterflying also allows you to pan-fry steaks that are too thick for the stovetop. With this cutting method, you can cut cooking times in half without changing the cooking temperature.

How to Butterfly a Steak in 3 Steps

Step 1: Place the Steak on a Cutting Board

Before you place the steak on the board, make sure to remove the bone using a sharp knife. Once you do, put the beef on the board with the thickest side upward. If there is no thick side, you can place the steak however you like.

Step 2: The Butterfly Cut

Always hold the knife firmly and horizontally. Then, make a line in the middle where you want to cut it. Next, keep the knife in one hand and place the palm of your non-knife hand on the steak’s top. By doing so, you will ensure the steak is in place and won’t move when you cut it.

Place the knife on the line you’ve previously marked. Then, start cutting it using smooth strokes. If there is fat, make sure to cut it a bit deeper. Ideally, you want to make your cut in one motion, but if the meat is too thick, you may have to start and stop to achieve an even cut. 

Stop cutting when the blade is ¼ inch from the back steak’s edge, so there is enough meat to act as a hinge.

Step 3: Open the Steak

Finally, open the steak to check the cut. If you can’t open it evenly, you might need to make an additional small cut. After doing so, unfold the steak and use a rolling pin or meat mallet to achieve the perfect form.

The Best Type of Knife to Use When Butterflying a Steak

It is best to use a very sharp knife with a narrow blade when butterflying a steak. If you don’t have one, you can also use a knife with a wide blade. Sharpness is more important than the shape of the blade.

It also helps if the steak is a bit frozen, allowing you to make a neat cut. Place the meat in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes before you start cutting it for the perfect butterfly.

Pros and Cons of Butterflying a Steak

Before you put the knife in the steak, it is worth knowing the pros and cons of the butterflying method. The benefits include a faster cooking time, double the surface to sear, more savor, and rich flavor. On the other hand, the more you cut, the thinner your beef will be and the more difficult it is to get a deeply seared exterior, especially if you want to keep the inside medium-rare or rare.

This might not be a problem for those who prefer their steaks medium-well or well-done. However, if you are a rare steak fan, you might be disappointed by the result.

A Final Word

If you decide to butterfly your steak, you can add various fillings to make it even more delicious. For example, you can stuff the steak with onions, mushrooms, spinach, and seasonings to spice up the taste.

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Written by: Adam Wojtow

Adam Wojtow, the founder of Steak Revolution, is a true steak enthusiast. His primary goal is to help others perfect their steak-cooking skills.