The Truth About Cube Steaks - Pressure Cooker Knowledge

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As a pressure cooker user, we don't need to be very concerned about tenderizing meat prior to cooking. The pressure cooker can take even the toughest cut of meat and deliver a tender, flavorful main course in just minutes. When a recipe calls for a tenderized cut of meat like the cube steak, it can be easily cooked in the pressure cooker, but do your homework first and you may find you can pay less for the same result.

In some parts of the country, a cube steak may be called a minute steak. The cube steak is popular because many people believe it is tender, but often it is made up of tough, stingy, meat scraps that couldn't otherwise be sold. What most people don't know is that a cube steak started out as a tough round steak, a cut of meat that comes from the South bound part of a North bound cow.

To make a cube steak, the butcher generally takes an ordinary, flavorful but tough round steak cut from the top or bottom round ,and runs it through a butcher's tenderizer once or twice, turning it almost into hamburger meat. This machine is sometimes called a cube steak machine, it was invented in 1941, and leaves cube-shaped imprints on the surface of the meat, thus the name "cube steak".

In some areas butchers are allowed by law to piece together meat scraps and push them through the cube steak machine, making them into one piece of meat. Unfortunately the package label doesn't tell you if your cube steak was made from a single relatively high-grade cut of round steak, or unidentifiable scraps of meat that have been 'knitted' together in the cube steak machine.

This is a Cube Steak Machine

Read he following text from the manufacturer's advertisment and decide if you want to buy prepackaged cube steaks.

"MEAT TENDERIZING - KNlTTlNG MACHINE - Two passes are all you need to create value-added product from less expensive, hard to merchandise meat cuts. Improve your product mix and gross profit by knitting smaller pieces of hard to merchandise meat into one value-added product."

Cost Per Pound

Cube steaks are priced higher than the round steak they are originally came from. For example; in a local California supermarket I found these prices:

cube steaks

$2.39 per lb.

round steaks

$1.89 per lb.

TIP: Buy the round steak and save

50 per lb.

To be sure you are getting the most for your grocery dollar, you can buy a round steak and then ask the butcher to run it through the cube steak machine. One of the first things you will notice is that after your round steak comes out of the machine, it is noticeably larger and thinner than that was before. This can be a real budget stretcher because it will increase the number of servings you can put on the table from that single piece of round steak.

Do It Yourself

If the butcher does not have a cube steak machine, or won't do what you ask, then you can do the same work at home with just a little effort. Before the cube steak machine was invented, cooks used a meat mallet to tenderize or reduce the thickness of cuts of meat. A meat mallet is a small block of wood or metal attached to a handle. The best types of mallet have a flat side for beating and a waffle pattern side for tenderizing.

If you don't have a meat mallet, a rolling pin can be used to flatten the meat. In place of a meat mallet you can substitute a regular construction hammer (give it a good scrubbing before and after, and your husband will never know), or do what our grandmother's did and use the edge of a heavy saucer for tenderizing. There are other types of meat tenderizers to choose from and most are quite economical. Whichever kind you use, they are a useful item to have in your kitchen utensil drawer.

If you use a wood mallet, be sure to place some covering over the meat first. This will make the mallet easier to clean and prevent bacteria from growing in the wood. To began, cut the piece of round steak in equal sized portions. Place a piece of meat between two sheets of baking parchment, plastic wrap, waxed paper, or even the white butcher's wrap the meat came in. this will keep the meat fibers from getting packed into the waffle pattern of the mallet. Lay the covered meat on a cutting board and use the flat side of the meat mallet to beat the meat out thinly and evenly until it's about 1/8 inch thick and roughly rectangular in shape. Now turn the meat mallet over and use the waffle pattern side to tenderize both sides of the meat.

That's all there is do it, now you're ready to use the cube steaks in your favorite recipe.





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