Cube Steak vs Ground Beef: What’s the Difference?

When choosing between cube steak and ground beef, there are a few things you need to consider. Both have their pros and cons, and the best choice for you will depend on your specific needs.

One of the main differences between cube steak vs. ground beef is that cube steak is made from a thin cut of meat that has been pounded flat with a meat tenderizer. In comparison, ground beef is made from meat that has been ground up into small pieces.

In this blog post, we will discuss the differences between cube steak and ground beef so that you can make an informed decision when it comes time to buy!

What is Cube Steak?

cube steak
Raw cube steak. Source: canva

What kind of meat is cube steak?

Cube steak or cubed steak is the bottom round of beef pounded flat with a meat tenderizer before cooking. It’s named after the shape of the indentation formed by the process.

Cubed steak refers to a cut that has been run through an industrial tenderizing machine called a meat cuber or Swiss machine. The resulting steak is known as a cube steak, or Swiss steak, because of the indentations made by the meat tenderizer.

It is also called minute steak in some places because it is a thin cut that cooks quickly. 

What part of the cow is cube steak?

Cube steak is a type of inexpensive steak. Cube steak comes from the round or chuck beef steaks. Both cuts are pretty tough. However, any tough cuts of beef can be used to prepare cube steak.

Is cube steak lean?

Yes, cube steak is a lean cut of beef. Because it is a lean cut, cube steak doesn’t include much fat or marbling. So cube steak won’t contain a lot of fat by itself. 

Is cube steak tender?

The cube steak is tender; you don’t even need a knife to cut into it. The pounding process breaks down the beef fibers, making them more tender.

What is Ground Beef?

Cube Steak vs Ground Beef: What's the Difference?
Raw ground beef. Credit: canva

What kind of meat is ground beef?

Ground beef is minced meat that comes from any part of the cow. The quality of the ground beef will depend on what part of the cow it came from.

What part of the cow is ground beef?

Ground beef can come from any part of the cow. It’s usually labeled according to the cow part from which it was prepared. Chuck, sirloin, round, and brisket are some of the most popular cuts.

Is ground beef lean?

The percentage of fat in ground beef can vary depending on the cut of beef used. However, most ground beef contains about 15-20 percent fat.

Is ground beef tender?

Ground beef is not as tender as cube steak because it has not been pounded flat. However, you can tender cube steak if you cook it properly.

Ground sirloin is the most delicate of all ground beef varieties. It is not tough unless overcooked.

Cube Steak vs. Ground Beef: What’s the Difference?

There are pros and cons when it comes to ground beef vs. cube steak. In this blog post, we will look at both options and help you decide which is better for you. 

The Differences

What are the differences between cube steak and ground beef?

Here are several of the most apparent differences based on appearances:

  • Cube steak is made from a thin cut of meat that has been pounded flat with a meat tenderizer. While ground beef is made from meat that has been ground up into small pieces.
  • In terms of fat content, cube steak is leaner than ground beef. Most ground beef contains about 15-20% fat, while cube steak is leaner with less fat content.
  • The texture of cube steak is more tender than ground beef because it has been pounded flat. This process breaks down the beef fibers, making them more tender.
  • Ground beef can come from any part of the cow. While cube steak usually comes from the bottom round or chuck beef steaks or any tough cuts.

The Uses

What is cube steak usually used for?

One of the most popular uses for cube steak is chicken fried steak. This dish is made by coating the beef in a seasoned flour mixture and then frying it until it’s golden brown and crispy.

Some examples of cube steak include dishes like Stroganoff, Salisbury steak, or grilled or pan-fried as a regular steak.

Cube steak recipes also include chicken-fried and Swiss steaks, cheese steaks (cheesesteaks), and other quick-cooked Chinese beef recipes.

What is ground beef usually used for?

Ground beef is most commonly used in burgers, meatloaf, tacos, meatballs, and chili dishes.

It can also be used in Stroganoff, Hamburg steak (Hamburger steak), shepherd’s pie, and other casseroles.

Can I use cube steak as ground beef?

Yes, in some cases, you can use cube steak as ground beef.

You can make burgers from cube steak rather than ground beef, although it is not a popular option for burger enthusiasts. Cubed steak gives a much beefier flavor than most ground beef.

Both cube steak and ground beef can be used for making Stroganoff. The only difference is that cube steak will take a little longer to cook since it is a tougher cut of meat.

Cube steak can even be baked in a casserole or cooked up long and slow in a slow cooker. 

If you are looking for a leaner option, cube steak is a good choice.

Remember that cube steak is not as tender as regular ground beef.

Which one is for you?

So, which should you choose? It depends on your needs.

If you’re for a leaner option with less fat content, then cube steak is the way to go. If you’re for a more tender option, then cube steak is also the better choice.

However, if you’re looking for a cheaper option that’s more versatile and can be used in various dishes, then ground beef is your best bet.

Ultimately, it all comes down to your personal preference!

How to Cook Cube Steak?

Cube Steak vs Ground Beef: What's the Difference?
Chicken fried steak. Credit: canva

What is the best way to cook a cube steak?

There are a few different cooking methods for your cube steak, such as pan-frying, grilling, or broiling.

If you choose to pan-fry your steak, use cooking oil with a high smoke point, such as canola oil or vegetable oil.

You will also want to make sure that your steak is not too thick or will take a long time to cook through.

Thicker steaks are better suited for grilling or broiling.

Whichever method you choose, be sure to cook your steak until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy Recipe

This recipe is a top-rated recipe, courtesy of Ree Drummond.

  • Prep time: 25 mins
  • Cook time: 35 mins
  • Serve: 6

Ingredients:

Chicken fried steak:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 pounds cube steak (tenderized round steak that’s bthat’stra tenderized)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Gravy:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 to 4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Mashed potatoes, for serving

 Directions:

For the steak:

  1. Begin with setting up an assembly line of dishes. Mix the milk with the eggs in one; the flour mixed with the seasoned salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, paprika, and cayenne in another; and the meat in a third. Then have one clean plate at the end to receive the breaded meat.
  2. Work with one piece of meat at a time. Sprinkle both sides with kosher salt and black pepper, then place it in the flour mixture. Turn to coat. Place the meat into the milk/egg mixture, turning to coat. Finally, please put it back in the flour and coat (dry mixture/wet mixture/dry mixture).
  3. Place the breaded meat on the clean plate and repeat the remaining beef.
  4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter. Drop in a few sprinkles of flour to make sure it’s sufit’sently hot.
  5. Cook the meat, 3 pieces at a time, until the edges look golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side.
  6. Remove the meat to a paper towel-lined plate and keep them warm by covering lightly with another plate or a sheet of foil. Repeat until all the meat is cooked.
  7. After all the meat is fried, pour the grease into a heatproof bowl.
  8. Without cleaning the skillet, please return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Add 1/4 cup of the grease back to the skillet and allow it to heat up.

For the gravy:

  1. When the grease is hot, sprinkle the flour evenly over the grease.
  2. Mix the flour with the grease using a whisk, creating a golden-brown paste. Keep cooking until the roux reaches a deep golden brown color. Add more flour if it looks overly greasy; add a little more grease if it becomes too pasty/clumpy.
  3. Pour in the milk, whisking constantly. Add the seasoned salt and black pepper to taste and cook, whisking until the gravy is smooth and thick, 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Be prepared to add more milk if it becomes overly thick. Be sure to taste to make sure gravy is sufficiently seasoned.
  5. Serve the meat next to a big side of mashed potatoes. Pour gravy over the whole meal!

How to Cook Ground Beef?

Cube Steak vs Ground Beef: What's the Difference?
Hamburger steak with mashed potatoes and vegetables. Credit: canva

What is the best way to cook ground beef?

The best way to cook ground beef is to brown it in a pan over medium-high heat.

Make sure to break up the beef into small pieces as it cooks so that it browns evenly.

You will know that the beef is cooked when it is no longer pink in the center.

If you are using ground beef for a recipe that requires it to be cooked through, such as a casserole or meatloaf, you will want to cook it until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hamburger Steak with Onion Gravy Recipe

This Hamburger steak recipe is the perfect easy dinner when you have some ground beef, but you want something fancier than a burger yet more casual than a steak. 

  • Prep time: 10 mins
  • Cook time: 30 mins
  • Serve: 4

Ingredients:

Hamburger Steaks

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ lb. ground beef, 85% lean
  • 4 Tablespoons frozen butter
  • ½ cup yellow onion, very finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 3 teaspoons Worcestershire
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt/Pepper

Gravy

  • 2 yellow onions, sliced into ¾ inch strings
  • 3 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, separated
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 Tsp onion powder
  • ½ Tsp garlic powder
  • 1 ½Tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup cold water + 3 tablespoons corn starch

Directions:

Prepare the Steaks

  • Combine the minced onions, butter, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and meat in a mixing dish. Don’t overcook the meat, or it will be tough.
  • Make evenly shaped oval steaks from the meat mixtures. Allow refrigerating for 15 minutes. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
  • In a large skillet, heat some olive oil over medium-high heat. (Use cast iron pan for the best result)
  • Add the beef patties to the pan and sear on each side for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

Make the Gravy

  • Reduce the heat to medium-low. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a large saucepan and add the onions. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the onions are soft and caramelize.
  • Add the chicken broth, beef broth, onion powder, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce. To release any meat fragments from the bottom of the pan, use a silicone spatula to draw a path along the surface, giving the extra gravy flavor.
  • Mix cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl until everything is combined.
  • Bring the gravy to a boil and whisk in the cornstarch mixture.
  • Continue to whisk while lowering the heat to medium.

Assemble

  • Return the steaks to the pan and cover for 10 minutes until cooked through. The internal temperature should be 160°F.
  • Swirl in the remaining 1 Tbsp cold butter at the end.
  • Spoon the sauce on top of the steak. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.
  • Serve with mashed potatoes and roasted carrots!

See also:

FAQs

What can I substitute for cube steak?

If you don’t have cube steak on hand, you can use ground beef in most recipes. You can also use a tender cut of meat, such as sirloin or ribeye, but it will not be as tough.

Is cubed steak good meat?

Yes, cube steak is a good option for those looking for leaner meat. It is also a good choice for a more tender steak.

What’s the difference between cubed steak and regular steak?

The difference between cube steak and regular steak is that cube steak is a tougher cut of meat. It is also less expensive than a traditional steak.

Is cube steak the same as hamburger steak?

No, cube steak is not the same as hamburger steak. Cube steak is a tougher cut of meat, while hamburger steak is ground beef formed into a patty, served with onion and bread crumbs.