There are so many perspectives about cube steaks, how they are made and the methods used to achieve a tender texture. The methods you find online may work, but they are mostly too elaborate and require you to spend too much money. There are ways to get the perfect cube steaks without so much fuss. One of such cooking methods, which also happens to be my favourite, is pressure cooking. The pressure cooker already has a reputation for making the toughest meat tender after cooking for some time. It is a great product and easy to use. The pressure cooker is my choice when I need to cook foods quickly without losing flavor.
If it is specified in your recipe that you need to use tender meat, then the pressure cooker should be perfect.
What You Need To Know about Tenderizing Cube Steaks- Pressure Cooking
The cube steak has become so popular because of its delicious taste. It is called the minute steak in some places; many fans of the cube steak admit that it is their preference because of the tender meat. What seems so soft and juicy actually was a tough piece of meat before it was cooked. Cube steaks are made from cuts in the toughest parts of the cow. This tough meat goes through unique yet simple processing to become the cube steaks we love so much.
How it is commercially made
After cutting the tough meat from the cow, the butcher makes the meat tender by passing it through a tenderizer. This can be done once or multiple times to make the meat very tender. The tenderizer has been popularly tagged a cube steak machine because it is mostly used for this purpose. The cube steak machine is one of the fascinating inventions which became necessary in the 1940s to solve the problem of handling tough meat in the farms. The name cube steak machine was adopted because after processing the meat it has an imprint shaped like a cube on the meat’s surface.
The cube steak machine also made it easier to save more meat scraps which may have been discarded or added to livestock feed. Butchers are permitted in some areas to put pieces of meat into a cube steak machine; the meat scraps will be compressed into one whole piece. In the market, you may need to ask the seller how the steak was made because it may not be indicated if meat scraps had been used. However, it is better to buy cube steaks made from a whole cut round steak that has been passed through the cube steak machine. These are the high-grade cube meat steaks.
Here is a tip to help you get the high-grade cube steak if you are not sure about the pre-packaged meat displayed in the shop. You can buy a round steak first, and then find out if the butcher will be willing to process it with a cube steak machine for you. This will be done in your presence, and it is a great way of ensuring the value you get for your money. After processing, the cube steak will look thinner and bigger. This is good news. You have more meat to serve, and everyone can eat to their satisfaction during lunch or dinner. You might not have had this advantage if you bought the regular cube steak from the shelf at your local grocery.
Making your cube steak
What happens if your butcher’s cube steak machine is not available or faulty? If you have some free time, you can make your cube steak. In the past, before we had the cube steak machines, people made their meat tender by using mallets in the kitchen. The mallets have a flat surface that was used to beat the meat to make it thinner, and the other side of kitchen mallets have waffle patterns to make the meat tender. No worries about buying thick meat if it is all that’s in your grocery shop at that time. An alternative to the mallet is a rolling pin. I am sure you will have a rolling pin lying around somewhere if there is no mallet.
The rolling pin can be used to achieve the same purpose, to flatten the meat and make it tender. You will be surprised to know some of the things that have been used to beat the meat before the invention of the cube steak machine. All the people then had to do was find a heavy object with a broad flat surface. With some effort, they achieved their goals.
Using the mallet is easy, after removing the packaging, place the meat on a hard and balanced surface, I use a cutting board. Cut the round steak into equal slices and put the pieces in between a plastic wrap or the packaging material it came with from the grocery. This is necessary to prevent the surface of your mallet from coming into direct contact with the meat.
The essence of creating a barrier between the mallet and meat surface is this; some microscopic residue from your meat may remain on the mallet. In a short while you may observe some growth on the wood, this can condemn the tool. It is also necessary to wrap the pieces of meat to hold the meat tissues in a compact form while beating it with the mallet.
Place the wrapped meat on the hard surface (you could use a cutting board) and beat the meat into a thin rectangular shape with the flat side of the mallet. When you have beaten the meat to about 1/8 inch in thickness, it is time to make the meat tender. Use the part of your mallet that has a waffle pattern to beat the meat further to make it very tender.
You can continue with this process until you get the thickness you want. That is how to make your cube steaks, and it is not as complex as the online bloggers make it seem. If you are lucky, you can find a butcher nearby who will be happy to process your meat with their cube steak machine every time, so you don’t have to worry about physically using the mallet.
Don’t hesitate to use the tips in this post and try out more recipes with cube steaks.