Despite the fact our deck was covered with a heavy, 8-inch blanket of snow last weekend, my husband picked up a bag of charcoal, shoveled the deck and fired up the grill. The little trick Mother Nature played on us this weekend may have cost him his tee times at the course, but it would not stop him from throwing a couple of steaks on the grill. Cube steaks.
Last summer, inspired by the sun-yellow yolks of eggs from chickens raised by a local farmer, my husband and I decided to seek out beef from a local source. We were fortunate to find organic beef lovingly raised by a farmer about an hour away from our home. We cleared out space in our freezer to make room for a quarter of a cow.
As I arranged frozen packages of roast beef, steaks and ground beef on a shelf in our upright freezer, I came to some packages labeled Cube Steak. Wait a minute — cube steak? That meat my mom used to bake in some kind of tomato sauce that I never cared for? I pushed the packages onto the freezer rack, wondering how I would ever use cube steak.
Cube steak, often referred to as Minute Steak, is most often a tougher cut of beef that has been run through the tenderizer, forming tiny cube shapes on the meat. Because it is so thin, it cooks in just a minute or so. And, because it is tougher meat, less attractive to consumers, it is usually more cost effective.
My mom had the right idea when she baked the meat in a tomato sauce at low temperatures, producing a somewhat tender, yet chewy meat to serve over egg noodles.
I’ve come up with a marinade to soak the cube steaks in for a while before laying them on a hot grill. The trick is to use hot coals. And, don’t leave the steaks over the heat very long. The marinade breaks down some of the tough tissue in the meat while infusing wonderful flavor.
Put your cube steaks in large, zip-top plastic bag, mix up the marinade and pour it into the bag, seal it up and refrigerate for at least an hour. When you’re ready to eat, be sure the rest of your meal is close to being ready to serve before you put the cube steaks on the grill. The steaks will be cooked and ready to eat in no time — well, in just a minute or two.
Grilled Marinated Cube Steak
- 1/3 cup minced onion
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons local honey
- Juice from 1/2 of a lime
Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl or 2-cup glass measure. Pour over cube steaks in a zip-top plastic bag, seal and refrigerate for an hour or two.