The 3 Steps You Need To Follow For Meltingly Tender Cube Steak

Cube steak, also known as minute steak, is a cheap and flavorful cut of meat, but it has one fatal flaw in that it can be a tough cut to cook. Taken from the round or top sirloin, cube steak is often pre-tenderized, making it look almost like ground beef on the surface. Even with this tenderization, cube steak can come out jaw-achingly chewy if not cooked the right way. Country chefs have long given it the chicken fried steak treatment, dipping it in batter before flash frying it like a chicken tender. However, there's another foolproof step in getting the best texture out of your tasty cube steak: smother it.  

Much like preparing smothered pork chops, smothered cube steak is hammered out with a meat mallet (further tenderizing it), dredged in flour and quickly seared, then covered in a decadent and thick gravy. Each step of this process aids in creating tenderness. The mallet helps to break down stringy connective tissue and tough fiber, the flour locks in the moisture before the quick searing protects the meat from drying out, and the final dose of gravy adds an extra juicy touch of brilliance.

Smothered cube steaks for the win

To give your cube steaks the smothered treatment, begin with a tenderizing session for your raw steaks. A meat mallet, with its pointy-toothed end, is ideal here but a rolling pin can work in a pinch. You'll hammer out the toughest and thickest parts of the steak until it's of an even thickness, being careful not to tear holes through the meat. Next, you'll coat your cube steak in a seasoned blend of flour. You could keep it simple with a mix of just salt and pepper, or add in a bit of garlic powder and a pinch of cayenne for a bit of heat. For searing, make sure you have a properly hot and well-oiled pan before adding the floured steaks. You'll sear just until the exterior turns a deep golden color, about two to three minutes per side. From there, you'll transfer your perfectly cooked steaks to a plate while you prepare your gravy.

At this point, you have the option to get creative with what kind of gravy you want to make. An onion-rich beef broth gravy or tomato-based gravy would both work wonders here. Even the creamy gravy often used for chicken fried steak would be nice. Just make sure to properly douse your steaks with whatever type you make to give them the juiciest finish possible.