If you want to impress your family and friends with an easy yet delicious meal, then learning how to cook cube steak is a must! Cube steak, also known as minute steak, is a popular cut of beef that is tenderized and easy to cook. The key to making a perfect cube steak is in the method and seasoning. In this article, we will guide you through the process of cooking a mouth-watering cube steak that will have everyone coming back for seconds.
What is Cube Steak?
If you’re looking for an economical and flavorful cut of meat, look no further than cube steak. This tenderized cut of beef is made from round steak or top sirloin that has been run through a mechanical tenderizer, creating small indentations on both sides of the meat. These indentations, or “cubing,” give the steak its name and tenderize the meat, making it an excellent choice for pan-frying or braising.
The Characteristics of Cube Steak
One of the defining characteristics of cube steak is its thinness. The meat is usually pounded flat to a thickness of no more than 1/4 inch, which makes it cook quickly and evenly. Another characteristic is the small indentations on the surface of the meat. These indentations can affect the texture of the meat, making it thinner and more tender.
Cube steak is also a versatile cut of meat that can be used in a wide variety of dishes, from chicken-fried steak to stroganoff. Its mild flavor profile makes it a great canvas for different seasonings and marinades, and its tenderness makes it easy to cook to perfection every time.
How to Select the Best Cube Steak
Cube steak may not be the most glamorous cut of meat, but it sure is flavorful and versatile. It’s also relatively affordable and easy to find in most grocery stores. Here’s what you need to know when selecting the best cube steak:
The Different Types of Cube Steak
Cube steak is simply a cut of beef that has been run through a mechanical tenderizer, or a meat mallet, to break up the muscle fibers and make it more tender. Here are the different types of cube steak:
- Top Round Cube Steak: This cut comes from the top of the round primal cut, which is located on the back of the cow’s leg. It’s lean and flavorful but can be tough if overcooked.
- Bottom Round Cube Steak: This cut comes from the bottom of the round primal cut, which is located on the back of the cow’s leg. It’s lean but has less flavor than top round cube steak.
- Sirloin Tip Steak: This cut comes from the sirloin tip primal cut, which is located next to the round primal cut. It’s lean and tender but has less flavor than the round cuts.
What to Look for When Choosing a Cut
When choosing cube steak, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Color: Look for cube steak that is bright red in color. Avoid any that look gray or brown.
- Marbling: Look for cube steak that has some marbling – small veins of fat running through it. This will help keep the meat moist and add flavor.
- Thickness: Choose cube steak that is at least 1/2 inch thick so that it doesn’t dry out when cooking. Thicker cuts are also easier to cook to the desired doneness.
How to Ensure the Meat is Fresh
Here are a few tips to ensure that the cube steak you’re buying is fresh:
- Check the expiration date: Make sure that the cube steak is within its expiration date.
- Smell the meat: If the cube steak smells sour, rancid or has an ammonia-like smell, it’s past its prime and should be avoided.
- Feel the meat: If the cube steak feels slimy or sticky to the touch, it’s no longer fresh.
By following these tips, you’re sure to select the best cube steak when grocery shopping for your next delicious meal.
Preparation Techniques for Cube Steak
Cube steak is a versatile and budget-friendly cut of beef that can be prepared in many different ways. To ensure that your cube steak is tender and full of flavor, it’s important to consider various preparation techniques. Here are some tips for preparing cube steak:
Marinating is an excellent way to infuse flavor and tenderize the steak. To create a marinade, you can combine various liquids and spices according to your taste. Some popular marinade ingredients for steak include soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, onion, and herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and oregano.
- To marinate, place the cube steak in a plastic bag or a dish and pour the marinade over it, making sure it’s fully coated.
- Let it marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.
- When you’re ready to cook the steak, remove it from the marinade and pat it dry with a paper towel.
Cube steak can be tough due to its nature. Therefore, tenderizing the meat is the key to a juicy and delicious result. There are different ways to tenderize the meat, such as using a meat mallet or a tenderizing machine.
- To tenderize the meat with a mallet, place the steak between two sheets of plastic wrap to prevent it from making a mess and beat it with a meat mallet until it’s about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
- You can use a tenderizing machine to break up the connective tissues in the meat strands.
- Ensure even tenderizing by poking small holes in the meat’s surface with a fork, ensuring that the tenderizer penetrates deeper.
A good seasoning can turn a plain meat cut into a delicious and flavorful meal. Use salt and pepper as a base for all seasonings and explore other herbs and spices to further enhance the meat.
- Add garlic powder and paprika for a bolder flavor.
- Use cumin and chili powder for a southwest-style seasoning.
- Add rosemary, thyme, and sage for a classic and aromatic seasoning.
Remember, it’s important to experiment with different techniques and discover what works best for you and your taste buds. The key is to keep it simple and trust your instincts when it comes to seasoning and timing.
Cooking Methods for Cube Steak
When it comes to cooking cube steak, there are various methods you can use to achieve the perfect result. Depending on your preference and the equipment you have at home, the following cooking methods will surely help you cook a delicious cube steak:
Grilling is one of the most popular cooking methods when it comes to cooking steak. With its smokey flavor and charred exterior, it’s no wonder why it’s a crowd favorite. To grill your cube steak, preheat your grill to high heat. Lightly brush both sides of the meat with oil and season it with salt and pepper. Place the steak on the grill and cook each side for 2-3 minutes or until you reach the desired doneness. Use a meat thermometer to make sure it’s cooked to your liking. Let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
Pan-frying is a quick and easy way to cook cube steak. In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt some butter or oil. Season the steak with salt and pepper and place it in the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until you reach the desired doneness. Use a meat thermometer to make sure it’s cooked to your liking. Remove from the pan and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
Broiling is a great option if you don’t feel like grilling or if you don’t have a grill. Turn on your broiler and place the steak on a broiling pan. Lightly brush both sides of the meat with oil and season it with salt and pepper. Broil the steak for 5-6 minutes on each side or until you reach the desired doneness. Use a meat thermometer to make sure it’s cooked to your liking. Let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
Baking is the easiest method of all, and it’s perfect if you want to cook steak in bulk for meal prep. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly brush both sides of the steak with oil and season it with salt and pepper. Place the steak on a baking pan and bake for 8-12 minutes or until it reaches the desired doneness. Use a meat thermometer to make sure it’s cooked to your liking. Let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
Pairing Cube Steak with Side Dishes
Cube steak is a perfect protein choice for any meal, and there are many side dishes that are perfect for pairing with cube steak. These side dishes are delicious, easy to make and will add more taste to the meal. Here are some perfect side dishes to pair with cube steak:
1. Roasted Vegetables
Roasting vegetables add an extra delicious flavor you’ll love. They complement the cube steak’s delicious taste perfectly. You can use carrots, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower and other vegetables to bring more variety to your plate. Combine a variety of roasted veggies and create your delicious side dish that will bring taste to your meal.
2. Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are a staple side dish to any beef meal, and cube steak is no exception. The soft and creamy texture of mashed potatoes will complement the steak’s savory taste perfectly. You can prepare mashed potatoes using various recipes to match your preference. However, keep in mind to avoid overpowering the steak’s taste.
3. Grilled Corn
Grilling corn brings out its natural sweetness, which delights your taste buds with every bite. The crispy crust on the corn adds extra texture to the meal. You can also experiment with other vegetables, such as green beans or zucchini, as they add more taste and texture to the plate.
Green salads are the perfect side dishes for a steak meal because they bring in freshness and are nutritious. Adding various vegetables, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, radish, and lettuce, and a salad dressing, will make the salad perfect for any beef meal. The healthy salad’s refreshing taste will complement the steak’s savory taste as well.
5. Garlic Bread
Garlic bread is perfect for any beef dish, and especially for cube steak as it is easy to make and will add flavor to the meal with every bite. You can make garlic bread by adding minced garlic, butter, and herbs on the bread and baking it. The crunchy texture in every bite complements the steak’s velvety texture.
Tips to Enhance Your Cube Steak Cooking Skills
If you’re someone who loves to savor a beautifully grilled steak, you would surely appreciate a well-cooked cube steak. With the right know-how and techniques, cooking cube steak can be both easy and delicious. Here are some tips and tricks to enhance your cube steak cooking skills:
1. Choose the right meat
When it comes to cooking cube steak, using the right kind of meat is key. Opt for cube steak that is about half an inch thick, ideally taken from the top round or top sirloin part of a cow. This kind of cut is tender and flavorful, making it a great choice for grilling or pan-searing.
2. Season it well
Seasoning is crucial when it comes to cooking meat, and cube steak is no exception. Before grilling or pan-searing, generously season both sides of the meat with salt and pepper. You can also add other herbs or spices to suit your preference. Let the meat sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes to allow the seasoning to penetrate the meat.
3. Know when it’s done
Knowing when your cube steak is done is important to ensure that it is cooked evenly and not overdone. A good way to check is to use an instant-read meat thermometer, which should read 145Â°F for medium-rare, 160Â°F for medium, and 170Â°F for well-done cube steak. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can also check the steak’s doneness by slicing the meat to see if it is pinkish or brownish in the middle.
4. Rest the meat
After cooking your cube steak, it’s important to let it rest for a few minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. Place the steak on a chopping board and cover it with a foil. Let it rest for about five minutes before slicing and serving.
5. Create beautiful grill marks
One way to make your cube steak look more appetizing is to create beautiful grill marks. To do this, preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, brush the grill grates with oil to prevent the steak from sticking. Place the steak on the grill diagonally and let it cook for about two to three minutes before turning it 90 degrees to form grill marks. Cook for another two to three minutes before flipping the steak over and repeating the process on the other side.
6. Add some sauce or seasoning
To make your cube steak more flavorful, you can add some sauce or seasoning to it. Some popular choices include chimichurri sauce, garlic butter, or steak seasoning. Experiment with different flavors to find the perfect match for your taste buds.
Cooking is always fun, especially when you get to try different recipes and create your own methods. With this perfect guide on how to cook cube steak, you can now easily prepare delicious and juicy cube steaks right at home. Follow the steps mentioned above, and youâ€™ll be able to cook your steak to perfection. So put on your apron and get cooking!