what is beef cubed steak

Also known as minute steak, cube steak is an inexpensive, flavorful cut of beef that’s pre-tenderized by a process of pounding and cutting. It comes from the top or bottom round, a tough portion near the rump of the cow usually used as stew meat.

You see both ground beef and cube steak in the meat department: What’s the difference and what one do you purchase? These two types of beef may look similar on the shelves, but they’re entirely different cuts. Cubed steak often doesn’t get the fame it deserves, so we want to give you a proper introduction to this interesting cut of beef and how to work with it.

What is Cube Steak

  • Cube steak is a cut of Top Round or Top Sirloin that’s been tenderized, (pounded with a textured mallet), which leaves small indentations on the meat. This helps break down the muscle fibers, which makes it less tough and more tender.

How to Make It

See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Tenderize the cube steaks until about 1/2 inch thick. Rub with seasoning mix and then with flour.

Sear the steaks in olive oil over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes per side.

Set the steaks aside on a plate. Melt butter in the skillet over medium heat and use a silicone spatula to “clean” the bottom of the pan with the fond. (The fond is what is leftover in the pan from searing the meat and adds good flavor to the gravy.)

Add onions to the butter and toss to coat. Sauté for 15-20 minutes, until reduced to desired size/texture. (I like mine to cook until almost caramelized.)

Add the remaining gravy ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.

Add the steaks back to the pan and spoon gravy over the top. Simmer, partially covered, for 5-7 minutes or until gravy is thick and meat is to your desired level of doneness. Serve with mashed potatoes and buttermilk biscuits.

  • Tenderize and season the steaks as outlined.
  • Sear for 2-3 minutes per side instead of 4-5 and set aside.
  • Prepare gravy as outlined, then transfer to the Slow Cooker along with the steaks.
  • PRO TIP: The above steps can be done the night before and cooked in the Slow Cooker the next day.
  • Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 3-4.
  • Tenderize, season, and sear the steaks as outlined. Set aside, and prepare the gravy as outlined.
  • Remove from heat and let the gravy cool.
  • Store the steaks and gravy together in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days, then reheat on the stove top.
  • Add a little beef broth or a splash of water if you need to thin the gravy out during the reheating process.
  • For best results, cook mushrooms separately to release some of the water, concentrate their flavor, and give them a nice golden color. Remove them and only add them back at the end when the gravy is finished. This lets them retain their color, texture, and flavor.
  • Otherwise, feel free to add them during the last 3-5 minutes of softening the onions and keep them in the pan for the remainder of the cooking process.
  • Aim for an internal temperature of 125° or so for tender results. It will increase an additional 5° or so after it’s removed from the heat.
  • The gravy recipe uses a combination of beef and chicken broth for depth of flavor, but all beef broth may be used.
  • Tenderizing the meat is key for melt-in-your-mouth texture. (Even though cube steak has already been tenderized, a second round at home makes a huge difference.)
  • Onions can be omitted if preferred, or mushrooms can be used instead.
  • A cast iron skillet will give your steaks a nice crusty sear.
  • Cornbread makes a great side dish with this meal!

Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

How to Cook Cube Steak

If you’ve never bought cube steak before, you are probably a bit lost with what to do with it. That’s okay – we’re here to help. Go pick up a package from the grocery store, or you can even make your own from our Premium Angus Top Sirloin (this video from Ted the Butcher shows you how to tenderize beef like a champ!) and get ready for some new tastes.

The key to cooking cube steak is to keep it as tender as possible so it doesn’t end up chewy with your final product. Although some people like to bake theirs, it’s not a method we recommend for this cut. Instead, try one of these other options that will lock juices in to give them a pleasant texture:

  • Sautéing: Give your steaks plenty of room away from each other in a pan with a little bit of oil to keep them tender as they cook. This is an excellent method for preparing cube steak in gravy, allowing the mixture to cook slowly and work its way into the meat.
  • Pan frying: When you’re making country fried steaks, this is the method to choose. Heat up some oil and, without crowding the pan, give your steaks a few minutes on each side to cook until the breading gets browned and crispy.
  • Braising: Braising is a slow-cooking method that starts with a good sear and ends with a slow cook that tenderizes meat, as you would do for a pot roast. If you plan to put your steaks in the slow cooker for an all-day cook with some gravy, this is the perfect method.

What can you do with cubed steaks? You have a number of options, but here are a few tried-and-true meals to create:

One of the most popular ways to eat this cut of beef is also the simplest: Topped with a yummy gravy does the trick for most people. With this method, the gravy ends up being the star, so you can experiment with your favorite types, like a simple brown mushroom gravy or a creamy, buttery, milk-based gravy that’s reminiscent of Southern comfort food. Braising or sautéing are both perfect cooking methods for this meal.

Cubed steak is a go-to for country fried steaks, which features yummy, crispy breading around the meat, usually topped with white gravy. The meal is simple to make, and you can pan fry your steaks in just a few minutes. Serve with some mashed potatoes topped with the same gravy and you’ll have a meal the whole family will love.

Although not a popular option for some burger enthusiasts, you can make burgers from cube steak instead of ground beef. Some people choose to use the already-formed patties as burgers, while others chop the meat up and add in their spices to create burgers from scratch (we prefer the latter method!). Cubed steak gives a much beefier flavor than most ground beef, but you just have to be careful not to overcook your meat. Top with Swiss cheese and caramelized mushrooms for a savory burger.

Also known as minute steak, cube steak is an inexpensive, flavorful cut of beef that’s pre-tenderized by a process of pounding and cutting. It comes from the top or bottom round, a tough portion near the rump of the cow usually used as stew meat.

FAQ

How do you cook cube steak so it’s not tough?

The best way to cook cube steak for tenderness is slowly and evenly, so a slow cooker can do the trick when you have ample time to spare. However, braising, pan-frying, and sauteing also work. Just be sure to cook with enough liquid to keep the steak moist.

What is cube steak called in the grocery store?

Cube steak, can be found in stores labeled as “cubed steak” or “minute steak.” It is an inexpensive cut of meat used in recipes for quick dinner ideas, soups and stews. You will also see it on restaurant menus or find recipes for country fried steak” or chicken-fried steak.

What kind of meat is used for cube steak?

Cube steak is a cut of Top Round or Top Sirloin that’s been tenderized, (pounded with a textured mallet), which leaves small indentations on the meat. This helps break down the muscle fibers, which makes it less tough and more tender.

Is cube steak the same as regular steak?

Cube Steak is a Round Steak that has been tenderized by a technique of pounding and rolling, which leaves little cube shaped marks on the meat. Our butchers have done the work for you by running these round steaks through our tenderizing machine, so they are ready to go!

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