Though one of the most popular uses for cube steak is chicken fried steak, there are ways to cook cube steak without frying. Grilled cube steak is an alternative. It's a healthier way to prepare the meat and gets a meal on the table fast.
What is Cube Steak?
According to Purdue University, cube steak is not a specific cut of beef. Instead, it refers to any cut of beef that has been mechanically tenderized. Usually, it refers to top round or top sirloin. Some chefs insist that traditional tenderizing mallets mash the meat too much to produce a proper cube steak. As such, they either use a set of rods to pierce the meat in all directions or use a specialized machine.
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Cube steak is generally made from tougher cuts of beef. The tenderizing helps cut the fibers that make it difficult to chew the meat. No matter which method you choose to cook your cube steak, you want to cook it fast so it helps to tenderize the meat without drying it out.
Cube steak is recommended for moist heat methods. Utah State University says moist cooking methods are boiling, steaming, simmering and poaching. That's not to say you can't use a dry heat method like grilling.
Grilled Cube Steak
To make a grilled cube steak, preheat your grill to 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If using a charcoal grill, heat it until you can comfortably hold your hand 3 inches above the grate for no more than five seconds. Lightly coat the grill with oil.
Season the steaks on both sides the steak with salt, pepper and any other spices you wish. Place the steaks on the grill. Grill for three minutes. Flip the steaks. Grill another three minutes. Most of the time, you have thin steaks because cubed steak isn't thick cut.
Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the cube steak. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the steaks need to reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit for medium rare.
Once the grilled steak has reached the appropriate internal temperature, remove it from the grill and place on a serving platter or cutting board. Allow the steak to rest for at least three minutes before cutting and serving.
If you want other ways to cook cube steak without frying it, you can bake it, too. Season the steak and place it in a shallow dish with a bit of water. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes.
Cube Steak Nutrition
While eating red meat does have some health benefits, it's important to keep it moderate in your diet. Too much red meat may increase your risk of heart disease, according to the American Heart Association. It's the saturated fat in red meat that creates the health issue when there's too much of it in your diet.
According to the USDA, a 3-ounce serving of cube steak contains 196 calories, 28 grams of protein and 9 grams of fat. Of that fat, less than half a gram of it is polyunsaturated fat. Most of the fat is saturated.
This doesn't account for any additional fat that may be added if you choose to bread and fry the steak in a chicken fried steak or country fried steak recipe. It also doesn't include any fat that may come from any gravy you choose to add to your meal.
- Purdue University: "Know Your Beef: Value Cuts"
- Utah State University: "Moist Cooking"
- Department of Health and Human Services: "Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures Charts"
- American Heart Association: "Meat, Poultry, and Fish: Picking Healthy Proteins"
- USDA: "Beef, Round, Bottom Round, Steak, Separable Lean and Fat, Trimmed to 0''Fat, Choice, Cooked, Braised"