A lot of supermarkets and grocery stores offer good discounts on beef cube steaks, however many consumers don’t know exactly what they are, or have never cooked it before.
In this article we’ll look at the different cuts of beef, how to prepare them, and how to cook them. We’ll even give you some tips on where to buy them cheaply at the supermarket.
So What Is A Beef Cube Steak?
A beef cubed steak is often a tougher piece of beef that has been mechanically tenderized by the butcher to make them less tough and more desirable to eat.
These pieces of beef are often seasoned with flour and used to make the traditional American dish ‘chicken fried steak’.
If you’ve ever had beef steaks, you’ll know that it’s quite delicious. Let’s look at beef cube steaks in a bit more detail.
What Beef Cut Is Used?
Cube steaks are very popular because they are easy to cook and serve, and they tend to taste much like ground beef. You can buy cubes of beef online or in stores and even find them frozen.
The most common type of beef used for cube steaks is eye round. It is often sold pre-cut into 3/4 inch thick pieces called ribeye steaks.
These steaks are perfect for making cube steaks since they are fairly uniform thickness and size.
Other good cuts to use for cube steaks include sirloin tip, strip loin, flank steak, chuck eye roll, short ribs, brisket, and shank.
If you don’t have access to those particular cuts, just look for the ones that are labeled “cube steak.”
You can also purchase whole muscles, which are sometimes cheaper than buying individual steaks. When purchasing whole muscle cuts, ask your butcher what part of the animal they came from.
Some parts of the cow are easier to pound thin than others, so you might end up getting a piece that isn’t quite as tender as you’d like.
Choosing And Preparing The Beef
To make the best possible cube steak, you must start with the highest quality beef.
You want to buy beef that is well marbled, meaning there is fat throughout the muscles of the animal. If you don’t find high quality beef, you can always ask your butcher to grind up some good beef for you.
The next step is to trim off excess fat and connective tissue. Once you have trimmed away the excess fat, you can slice the meat into cubes.
Depending on how much beef you need you can choose either a thicker or thinner cut of beef.
Once you have sliced the meat, you can put it in a freezer bag and freeze it overnight. When you take the meat out of the freezer, let it come to room temperature and then place it in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
After that, you can grill the meat over medium heat.
Making Them At Home
If you want to make beef cube steak yourself without spending $100+ on a meat tenderizer, it’s possible. Here are some tips to help you out. First, buy high quality beef.
You’ll want to look for cuts that have been cut into cubes, rather than slices.
Next, you’ll want to marinate the beef overnight in a mixture of salt, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, black pepper, and olive oil. Then cook the beef over medium heat in a skillet coated with cooking spray or butter.
Cook each side for about 4 minutes per side. Remove the steak from the pan and let rest while you finish up the remaining sides of the steak. When ready to serve, slice the cubes into strips and serve.
Tips From A Butcher
If you don’t already know it, there are many ways to tenderize beef without having to buy one of those expensive meat tenderizers.
Here are three easy ways to do it yourself:
1. Freeze The Steak Overnight
This method works best for steaks that aren’t too thick. Just freeze the steak overnight, and let it thaw out in the fridge the next day.
If you’re cooking the steak right away, just wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer. Let it sit there for about 30 minutes, and then unwrap it and throw it into the microwave.
Microwaving the frozen steak takes longer than microwaving regular meat, but it still gets you tender results.
2. Rub The Steak With Salt And Pepper
Salt helps draw moisture out of the meat, while pepper adds flavor. You’ll want to use a lot of both.
Put the steak on a cutting board and rub it with the salt and pepper. Then place a weight (like a heavy skillet or cast iron pan) on top of the steak and let it sit like that for 20 minutes.
Remove the weight and repeat the process again. After doing this twice, you’ll notice that the meat will become much easier to cut and chew.
3. Use A Mallet
A mallet is basically a wooden hammer used to hit things. But it’s also great for pounding down the tough parts of meat. Take the steak off the grill, and pound it down with a mallet. Do this several times. When you’ve finished, slice the steak up and enjoy!
There are many variations of meat tenderizers on the market today, and can be wood, plastic or metal and cost less than $10. Some come with a sharpened edge while others do not.
But what makes a good meat tenderizer?
When choosing a meat tenderizer, I personally would buy a dual head model with a flat faced and cubed face option.
This will allow you to make beef cube steaks using the flat face, and also allows me to use the cubed face to pound chicken breast, pork steaks or even veal when making escalope style cuts.
You also want to ensure it has a comfortable grip and is quite heavy and solid.
A hand press tenderizer consists of a cartridge that holds many small needles within its body. They are designed to penetrate the muscle fibers to loosen up tough cuts of beef.
This allows you to easily slice the meat without having to use a knife.
You simply put the tenderizer on top of the meat and then press it down onto the table. The needles poke out of the bottom of the unit and go straight into the meat.
You continue pressing the needles around the entire piece of meat and then flip it over and repeat the process on the opposite side.
These are much easier to use than a hammer because they don’t smash the meat, just make tiny holes in it. They can be used on any type of meat including chicken, lamb, pork, turkey, fish, etc.
Manual Steak Maker
The Manual Cube Steaker is a small machine that makes cube steaks out of beef chuck roast. This is a great way to save money and time while still providing quality meat for cooking.
You don’t have to spend hours pounding meat with a hammer or spending lots of money on a commercial cube steak cutter.
This device uses a hand cranked mechanism to cut the cubes into strips. The blade rotates around the chuck roast, slicing it into even pieces. The slices are placed in bags for freezing or use in recipes.
A lot of people don’t know how to cook beef cube steaks properly. They are usually cooked too fast, too long or undercooked. This causes dryness and tough meat.
To avoid these problems, we recommend following these steps:
- Cut the cubes into 2 inch pieces.
- Season the cubes with salt and pepper.
- Heat up a large frying pan or skillet on medium heat. Add about half a tablespoon of oil to the pan.
- Place the cubes in the hot pan and sear each side for 3 minutes.
- Turn off the burner and place the cubes in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes.
- Remove the cubes from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Then cut and serve.
If you want to make Chicken Fried Steak, just follow the above instructions and add one teaspoon of paprika to the seasoning rub.
Cube steak refers to the pattern on the meat left behind after it has been tenderized.
This happens because the muscle fibers run horizontally across the cut of meat and when we tenderize it, we break down the connective tissue surrounding each muscle fiber. This makes the meat look like cubes.
You are free to make cube steak using any meat of your choosing and following the same process.
Ensure that the cuts of meat used are solid lean pieces and if you are using softer meats such as chicken, then don’t tenderize it as much or it might start falling apart or turning soft.
Cube steak is an easy and inexpensive cut of beef that’s perfect for making quick meals like tacos, burgers, fajitas, stir fry, salads, sandwiches, soups, stews, casseroles, etc. It’s versatile, delicious and nutritious.
There are lots of ways of tenderizing meat at home that are inexpensive and simple.
We hope this article helps you learn more about cube steak and how to prepare them.