When browsing cube steak recipes, the oven doesn't often come up as a preferred cooking method. That's because cube steak gets chewy if cooked too long or without extra moisture. This doesn't mean that you can't bake cube steak, but the key to keeping it tender is adding a little liquid to the mix.
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If you're looking for other ways to cook cube steak without frying, you can also braise, sauté or slow cook it, instead of using the oven, to keep it moist. Just make sure you're cooking the steak to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, per the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
What Is Cube Steak?
Although the name "cube steak" (also called cubed steak) may have you picturing square pieces of a thick steak, it's actually entirely different than what you may think. Cube steak is a tough cut of meat that comes from the round (or butt, in layman's terms) of the cow. Because it's generally tougher than other cuts of meat, cube steak is tenderized, ether manually or with a tenderizing machine.
This tenderizing process not only makes the meat more palatable, it also makes it look similar to ground beef because it creates little puncture holes in the top. The texture of cube steak isn't the same as ground beef, though. It's tougher and a bit more unforgiving when you cook it.
How to Bake Cube Steak
While the oven isn't the method of choice for cube steak, you can successfully bake your cube steak by adding a little water or beef broth to the pan so that it doesn't dry out. Braising, which, according to the Mayo Clinic, involves browning the steak in a pan and then slowly cooking it in a small amount of liquid, is probably your best bet.
To braise cube steak, heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add some high-heat oil, like avocado oil, to the pan. Oils have different smoke points — or the point at which the oil starts to burn and produce smoke. According to the Cleveland Clinic, when the oil smokes it creates toxic fumes and free radicals that can damage your health. When cooking at high heat, choose oils with high smoke points, like avocado oil or refined olive oil.
Read more: How to Cook Steak on a Baking Sheet
Season the cube steak to your liking and then cook it for one minute on each side, or until you get a nice brown outer crust. Transfer the cube steak to a glass dish and pour about one-fourth cup of water or beef broth into the dish. Cook the cube steak in an oven that's been preheated to 350 F for 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145 F, as recommended by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.
After the steak is done cooking, let it rest for three to five minutes before cutting into it. This will help keep the juices locked inside so the steak doesn't dry out. You can also add some extra moisture and flavor by topping your cube steak with our Mushroom Thyme Gravy after it's cooked. Because the meat has holes in it from the tenderizing process, the gravy seeps into the meat, elevating the dish. This is also what makes cube steak the go-to cut for country-fried steak.