Cube Steak FTW?

by Kate Steadman

I’m reading this NYT piece on the renewed popularity of cube steak but straining to recall ever eating it as a child, like the author:

I took them home, patted them with some seasoned flour and slipped them into a hot skillet. Six minutes later I was right back at my childhood dinner table, when cube steaks on a Tuesday night meant life was safe, steady and predictable.

For me that’s Kraft mac & cheese. Maybe it’s a generational thing.

So, what’s this about cube steak? Should I get some or is it only good for nostalgia?

Update: Do we think it’s a coincidence that this month’s Cooks Country ($) and today’s Times both had recipes for chicken fried steak, which uses cube steak?  Good lord I’ve got a craving now.  Where’s the best place in DC to satisfy that?


16 responses to “Cube Steak FTW?

  1. verplanck colvin

    someone please chime in, when I’m at the supermarket I look at this cut and am mystified at it. What is it? Just looks like pressed out ground beef to me…

  2. Maybe it’s a regional thing? I grew up with Cube Steak once a week. While I have no fond memories of it, I do recall watching a Good Eats at some point where he did something tasty looking with it.

  3. @verplanck colvin, yeah I literally had to look up if it was different than ground beef or not.

    @tom in az, here’s the Good Eats link

  4. Several years ago my dad saw this in the store and picked up a package. We had it pan fried with fried eggs for breakfast, pretty tasty and cheap. That is the only time I remember having it, but it was a pretty common thing for him growing up (he’s now in his late 50’s). Give it a try, a pack is quite cheap if you need a beef fix and do not want ground beef.

    @verplanck colvin: It is just a rough cut of beef that has been run through a mechanical tenderiser, leaving a “cube” or square texture on the surface of the meat.

  5. We used to eat this growing up, and I still use it as a base for hamburger steak. It’s pretty cheap and tasty.

  6. We had cube steak regularly when I was growing up in Arkansas (90s). Usually it was with egg noodles and gravy. I actually thought cube steak was pretty tasty, although it needs flavor added and it’s kind of tough. Have only made it once since moving out on my own.

  7. We ate it regularly, coated in flour and panfried. Usually with mashed potatoes and gravy made from the pan drippings.

  8. I’ve made the recipes for the Swiss steak and the CFS from Good Eats. They both work well, but the Swiss steak is the one that I have often repeated. I even have the awesome 32 blade meat tenderizer. It works very well, even if it does occasionally stick.

  9. I saw the article in the Time and headed up to Main Street in Laurel, MD, where I work, to the Meat Market for Cube Steaks. I think you can also get them easily at Sniders in Silver Spring, where I live.

  10. Ooops, forgot to say. I’ve made Gillian Clark’s recipe before and it is apparently the closest thing to what my Grandmother used to do with them.

  11. I don’t think it’s a generational thing, because I’m not THAT much older than you, and cubed steak was a common dinner when I was growing up–at one point, I embarrassed my mother terribly by telling someone it was my favorite dinner (the reason you eat cube steak is because you’re trying to economize on meat, hence my mother’s embarrassment, and probably also the reason your folks didn’t feed it to you growing up). Cubed steak is also what you use to make “Swiss Steak,” which I also remember from my childhood, and which I think is probably more your style than ordinary cube steak.

  12. I’m going to agree it might be a regional. Cleveland native, we had it all the time, pan fried with ketchup or hot sauce. Was never a fan.

  13. Ha, and we also did the Swiss Steak thing.

  14. had a great recipe for braised Swiss steak , which turned out like a quick pot roast, and was a hit at our place:

  15. I ate this as a kid. We actually had it last week @$1.99 a pound. Floured, freid and then simmered with onion, carrots, celery and beef stock for an hour. Served with mashed pots…. good weekday dinner in about 75 min. A litttle long on time for after work, but the price???

  16. I didn’t have it often as a kid but my hubby did and we both grew up in Central California. I have a good recipe (IMHO) and it is both super easy and cheap. It is also not tough if you cook it right, if you fry it in a skillet you are taking a decent risk of it being tough.

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