Cube Steak vs. Minute Steak: What’s the Difference?

Cube steak and minute steak are trendy cuts of steaks. Both are inexpensive, made from less-desirable cuts, and easy to cook. But what’s the difference? Which one do you need to choose for your meal?

One of the differences between cube steak vs minute steak is that cube steak is mechanically tenderized, while minute steak refers to the cut and is not necessarily tenderized. 

What about the other differences? And how to prepare them? Let’s find out!

cube steak
Cube steak. Credit: Canva

What is Cube Steak?

What kind of meat is cube steak?

Cube steak or cubed steak is the bottom round of beef that has been pounded flat with a meat ­tenderizer before cooking. It’s named after the shape of the indentation left by that process. This is the most common cut of meat used for the American dish chicken fried steak.

Cube steak is inexpensive cuts of steak. Traditionally, cube steak is taken either from the beef round primal or beef chuck steak. Both cuts are pretty tough. But it can be made using any tough cut of beef.

Is cube steak tender?

The cube steak is tender; you don’t even need a knife to cut into it. The texture of cube steak is very different from ground beef.

You don’t need any additional ingredients for the gravy. Just use the onion soup mix.

Cube Steak vs. Minute Steak: What's the Difference?
Minute steak. Credit: Canva

What is Minute Steak?

Minute steak is a thin (usually one-quarter inch thick) piece of beef, usually from the sirloin.

A minute steak is a thin slice of meat that can be cooked quickly. It can come from several different muscles, including the sirloin, rump, or flank, but must not be thicker than 1 cm. Hence the name.

The main advantage of minute steak is the quick cooking time that makes it ideal for the busy cook (or family) who needs something fast. They’re lower in cost than most other cuts of beef, so they’re suitable for people who want to eat red meat but don’t want to spend a lot of money.

Are minute steaks tough?

Minute steaks are thin and lean and can be tough if overcooked. The key is to quickly cook them over high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, depending on their thickness.

What is a minute steak good for?

Minute steak is a versatile cut that works well for grilling, frying, braising, and much more. It is a leaner cut of beef with lower amounts of fat and cholesterol than other types of beef.

Cube Steak vs. Minute Steak: What’s the Difference?

Cubed steak is often referred to as a minute steak in Ireland, Canada, the UK, Australia, and some US states. It is because it can be cooked quickly.

However, they are two different items.

Some of the differences are:

  • Cube steak is mechanically tenderized, giving it the cubed distinction. In comparison, minute steaks refer to the cut, which is not necessarily tenderized. Minute steaks are most often top sirloin sliced thin. Minute steaks also lack the defining indentations of cube steak.
  • Minutes steaks are also thinner than cube steak, which is approximately 1/4-inch thick. So, it does not need tenderizing.
  • Minute steak is cut from sirloin, rump, flank, or round. In comparison, cube steak cut is from beef round primal cut, which is quite tough, or any tough cut of meat.
  • They’re also cooked differently. Cube steak tends to be used in casseroles or fried. The steak in a chicken-fried steak is usually cube steak. Minute steak is usually for tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, or burritos.

How to Cook Cube Steak?

How to prepare cube steak?

Cubed steak refers to a cut that has been run through an industrial meat tenderizer 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.

You can also pound a less tender cut of meat to produce cube-shaped indentations using a tenderizing mallet.

What is the best way to cook a cube steak?

Cube steaks can be braised, pan-fried, or sauteed. You can even bake it in a casserole dish or cook it up slowly in a slow cooker. The perfect method depends on the circumstance. 

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

You don’t want to dry out your cube steak, so put it in gravy dishes, casseroles, and the like. You can use your imagination when cooking your cube steak.

But for the most part, you want to cook it either very quickly or combined with other ingredients, such onions, mushrooms, and tomato, and simmered slow­ly.\

Cube Steak vs. Minute Steak: What's the Difference?
Chicken fried steak.Credit: Canva

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 been extra 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, 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 sufficiently hot.
  5. Cook the meat, 3 pieces at a time, until the edges start to 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, 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 Minute Steak?

How to Prepare Minute Steak?

Minute steak is usually prepared either by the butcher (who cuts the meat) or at home by slicing the meat into one-quarter inch thick. After that, the beef is damped and pounded with a kitchen mallet.

You can pound the meat very quickly by placing it between two pieces of plastic wrap and then hitting it with a mallet at an angle so that the mallets slide off to the side of the meat.

This method will quickly tenderize the meat and reduce the thickness by approximately half.

What is the best way to cook a minute steak?

The best cooking methods for minute steak are usually pan-frying, grilling, or stir-frying.

Pan-frying or basic skillet-cooked steak is the most common way to cook this steak cut. It’s usually done in a skillet over medium-high heat. Many cooks season it lightly with salt and pepper, but it can also be marinated in various juices or sauces for extra flavor.

One way to ensure even heat distribution is to preheat the skillet. The steak usually only needs a few minutes on each side.

This cut can also be cooked by baking or broiling, but these preparations usually result in more challenging, chewier meats. The shorter the cooking times, the better the results in most cases.

Minute Steak with Gravy Recipe

This classic recipe is for Minute Steak with gravy made with garlic salt, kosher salt, black pepper, old bay seasoning, beef minute steak, self-rising flour.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 pound beef minute steaks
  • 1/3 cup self-rising flour
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 cup warm water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix the garlic salt, salt (or sea salt), pepper, and Old Bay Seasoning. Sprinkle the seasoners evenly over both sides of each steak. Let stand for 20 minutes.
  3. Flour the steaks. Heat the butter in a large pan over medium-high heat until melted. Add the steak and brown lightly on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Put it in a single layer into a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish. Put the onions on top of the meat.
  4. Add any remaining flour to the skillet that the meat has been cooked in. Make sure the flour is completely absorbed. After adding the water, bring the mixture to a boil. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for one minute. Stir up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan and continue cooking until the sauce has thickened.
  5. To spice things up, add in 1 can of condensed French onion soup for extra flavor and juice.
  6. Pour the gravy over the steaks. Cover and bake for 35 minutes or until the meat are tender.

See also:

FAQs

What cut of meat is used for minute steak?

The minute steak comes from the chuck section of the cow. This cut is often referred to as “pink” because of its color.

What is another name for minute steaks?

Minute steaks are sometimes called flap steaks. They’re similar to flank steak, except they have more fat than flank steak. Flank steak is usually sold as skirt steak.

What does minute steak mean?

Minute steak refers to a cut of meat about 1 inch thick and can be cooked quickly. It’s often found in grocery stores and butcher shops.

What are minute steaks good for?

Minute steakhouses serve them as an appetizer or main course. They’re typically filled with horseradish cream, sour cream, and potato salad.