Thinly sliced pork or beef is the key ingredient in many popular Japanese recipes. Here‘s my technique for how to slice meat thinly at home for delicious Japanese dishes like sukiyaki, okonomiyaki, and gyudon.
For Japanese recipes that include pork or beef, the majority will list “thinly sliced meat” on the ingredients list. Very thin slices – about 1/8 inch or even thinner. You can find packages of thinly-sliced meat at Japanese grocery stores like the ones pictured below.
If you don’t live near a Japanese grocery store, or you just prefer to slice the meat yourself, follow these simple instructions.
Watch How to Slice Meat Thinly
Recipes with Thinly Sliced Meat
Thinly Sliced Beef
- Baby Carrot Beef Roll
- Beef Udon
- Japchae (Korean Stir-Fried Noodles)
- Nikujaga (Beef and Potato Stew)
- Shabu Shabu
- Teriyaki Steak Rolls
Thinly Sliced Pork Loin
- Crispy Tonkatsu Donburi
- Ginger Pork (Shogayaki)
- Hot Pot for One
- Miso Ginger Pork
- Potato Salad Pork Roll
- Soy Milk Hot Pot
Thinly Sliced Pork Belly
- BBQ Pork Belly
- Goya Champuru
- Honey Pork Belly
- Mille-Feuille Nabe
- Miso Soup with Yuzu Kosho
- Pressure Cooker Pork Belly (Kakuni)
- Tonjiru (Pork Miso Soup)
- Yaki Udon
- Yakisoba (Japanese Stir Fried Noodles)
How to Slice Meat Thinly
- premium-quality meat (beef or pork tenderloin, top sirloin, strip loin, rib eye, pork loin, or any cut of meat that is slightly more lean and a bit more firm; my pieces here are 1 lb each)
- Put the premium-quality meat in a single layer in a large freezer bag.
- Remove the air from bag and close tightly.
- Put on a metal tray (so the heat transfers faster) and freeze the meat for 1½ to 2 hours, depending on the size of the piece of meat and how fatty it is.
To Slice the Meat
- Take out the meat from the freezer. Each piece shown here is 1 pound and I froze them for 1½ hours.
- The meat is ready if the knife goes through smoothly and just firm enough for you to slice thinly. If you have trouble slicing because the meat is still too soft, put it back into the freezer until it‘s firmer.
- Slice against the grain using a gentle sawing motion. When you look at the meat, you will see the fibers of the meat are going in one direction. You need to cut across this grain in the other direction to ensure tenderness.
- Here is the thinly-sliced meat, ready to use in your recipe.
- You can wrap the meat in plastic wrap, put in a freezer bag, and store in the freezer for future use.
- A very sharp knife (A dull knife will not slice nicely)
- A metal tray
- A large freezer bag
Editor’s Note: The post was originally published on September 21, 2013. The post has been updated with video and new images.