It's all in how you slice it:
How good are you with using a knife? Well, the good news is that you don't have to be all that good, ... as long as you can follow some simple directions and be consistent.
What is the Number One Rule of knives? Sure, you know, keep it sharp! You can do a lot of things with a knife but if it is not sharp, you will have tough sledding to get it right.
Here are some of your more common suggestions for slicing meats:
If you have a tough cut of meat, such as skirt steak, flank steak, brisket, etc., cut across the grain. It will allow the meat to separate easily. We would also cut at a diagonal to the surface (not straight down) thus creating wider cuts. This give you more surface and an added measure of tenderness.
If you have brisket, cut it, as stated above, across the grain. Additionally, if your brisket is over cooked, make the slices thicker or they will simply shred and fall apart, If it is a little under cooked, then make the slices a little thinner so they can break apart easier. If you have cooked the most magnificent brisket ever, then slice it in between these two cuts and enjoy your meal!
If you are cooking chicken breasts, we like to slice it across the grain and at an angle for a wider slice of meat. This goes great for sandwiches and overall presentation. The white meat with the darker edges make for a perfect presentation for all meals. A little out of the ordinary and you will really enjoy the meal.
If you are cooking a pork butt or shoulder, DON'T SLICE IT AT ALL! Why you ask? Pork is meant to be shredded, not sliced. When pork is shredded, it separates along natural lines which encase the natural moisture of the meat. We use Bear Paws because they are so easy to use for shredding. When you slice it you are cutting across those lines and all the moisture escapes. That is why pulled pork is so popular!