Salt & Pepper Cube Steaks

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Cube steaks are nothing more than a fancy name for tenderized round steaks, which come from the “round” (posterior) of the animal and are known for being a bit tougher than the rib and loin cuts.  The “cubing” process loosens up the fibers and makes them seem much more tender, especially if cooked correctly.  Arguably, to get a “true” cube steak rather than a pulpy mass of mashed meat, you’ll want to use a blade tenderizer of some kind or a tenderizer machine rather than the cheap-o meat mallet with anemic little bumps on it.  Once you’ve got the steaks cubed, the rest of the preparation is pretty easy.

There are some tricks that help ensure you end up with perfect, tender steaks once they are cooked.  First is to make sure that they are allowed to come up to room temperature before putting them on the grill (or tossing them in the pan if you are frying them).  This ensures that the inside can come up to proper temperature without the outside having to spend too much time exposed to heat, which would cause the meat to turn tough and chewy despite all the efforts to tenderize.  And that leads to the second trick – cook them hot and fast.

Gather Up:

  • 2 to 3 lbs of cube steaks (we’ve got some elk cube steaks here – you can see the slicing from the cubing machine on them)
  • 1-1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp coarse black pepper

Remove the fully thawed (so yes, you need to plan ahead) steaks from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you plan to grill to let them come to room temperature.  Sprinkle both sides with the salt and then the pepper.  Get the grill warming up to HIGH heat (500+ degrees) while you wait.

When the grill has reached temperature, and the steaks are also up to room temperature, place them on the grill.  If you have an indirect-style grill like my pellet grill, cook for about 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium rare.  For direct heat over wood, charcoal, or gas, you should expect no more than 2 to 3 minutes per side.  Do NOT overcook them!

Immediately remove from the heat and let them rest for a couple of minutes.  Slice across and serve warm just like they are – you can really enjoy the flavors of the meat and the grill when served like this.  A little carrot beet slaw and a salad on the side goes great.  Dig in!


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