Cube Steak vs Minute Steak

Are they the same thing? I remember my mom making “minute steak” for dinner. We now have “cube steak” for dinner and it seems to be a similar, if not the same, thing.

Cube steak is beef that’s been ran through a cuber (?) machine which pounds the steak flatter and more tender. I think minute steak was thinner and maybe even a different cut of meat. Am I remembering “minute steak” correctly?

i recall minute steaks as pounded and pierced thin steak that could cook quickly.

Minute steaks are very thin slices of steak, that cook in a minute or two. Cubed steak is a tough cut of beef steak (round steak is a favorite) that’s been run through a cuber…a device which makes shallow cuts, both ways, on both sides of the meat. This cuts the fibers and tenderizes the meat. The appearance of the steak’s surface is of tiny cubes of beef, which gives the steak its name.

I used to use a meat tenderizer (wooden mallet) on round steaks to make my chicken fried steak. Then I decided to try using cube steak. Much, much quicker and easier.

Growing up, what we called minute steaks were best exemplified by “Steak-umms.” These were chopped, formed and frozen beef items shaped to look as though they were thinly sliced steaks. In retrospect, sandwiches made from them were pretty dreadful but we enjoyed them at the time. When I moved to Philadelphia in the early '90s, I discovered that it was possible to buy frozen, thin slices of rib eye steak that made delicious sandwiches. I’ve never seen these sold as minute steaks however.

A quick check of the internet shows that the term “minute steak” seems to mean different things in different areas of North America. Sometimes it’s cube steak, sometimes it’s thinly sliced beef.

By the way, when I make chicken-fried steak, I first run a 1/2 to 1/4 inch round steak through my Jaccard meat tenderizer (I use the 48 blade model) four or five times then smash it with small saucepan to flatten it.

My mom used to fry cube steak when I was young. A fork-bending, gristly, greasy, gray slab of poached flesh that was so disgusting I used to hide bites in a napkin to throw out. Chew chew chew chew - YUCK!
Minute steaks were thin slices of beef perfect for sauteeing with onions and peppers for a sandwich. The difference between the two is Day and Night.

I absolutely agree with the above. To this day I refuse to have them in my home.
Minute steaks were completely different than cubed steaks, and oh, so much better.

Happily, I have repressed any memories of either of those samples of beef eating. I was in college before I had what I think of today as “steak” and that was after a long stretch of preferring Shoney’s “Half Pound of Ground Round” with baked potato and salad. The progression over the intervening half century has been: t-bone, sirloin, rib eye, filet mignon, with occasional experimentation with other cuts and preparations. Of those others, I prefer kebobs (kabobs, kebabs, you probably have yet another spelling).

My mother, for reasons never made clear to my brother and me, may have served us either minute or cube “steaks” but in some disguised form so that the appearance of a stand-alone piece of meat was never obvious. I do have vague memories of things like that served by other family members or friends’ parents. But as far as I knew, “steak” was fancy food that I just didn’t get to eat.

You didn’t ask, but I compared whatever beefy things we were served with liver. I have never hated any meaty substance any worse than liver. You can’t kill the taste of liver with anything I ever had with it. I feel even less thrilled with other “meat products” like kidneys, brains, guts, feet, ears, tongue, or other concoctions like that. (I do like Vienna sausage and potted meat, most likely due to the heavy spices content.)

I’ll eat almost any sausage as long as you don’t tell me all that went into it!

But if I never have to eat either minute steak or cube steak, I will be okay with that.

I’m no expert on cube steak, but I suspect that if it was THAT bad it was likely your mother’s improper cooking that was to blame. Yeah, cube steak ain’t going to be the greatest thing evar! But if you cook it right (ie, mostly by NOT overcooking it) and season it right it should at least be a passable if not mildly good piece of meat.

Cube steak is steak that has been run through a machine which pierces and/or scores the meat to physically tenderize it. But it is not a specific cut of meat. Cubed round steak will be very lean and tender, while cubed chuck will be tougher. As for Minute Steaks, as charmstr noted, this term has regional variances.

I know cube steak can be gussied up and disguised, and is OK when you cook it properly. To this day, I can’t bring myself to buy cube steak. I buy round steak and tenderize it myself with a metal mallet to prepare it for swiss steak, I’m so traumatized. My mom just fried it as it was, with unspeakable results, but I suppose she didn’t know any better, I don’t think there were crockpots around back then. The sad thing was, it just smelled so great when she cooked it.

Additionally, you don’t have to settle for one that is sitting in a package. Pick out a steak of your liking and hand it to the butcher and tell him to cube it. Even supermarkets will do this for you.

Any thin cut of meat is going to be tough (if overcooked). The rule is: either cook briefly (sear the outside, inside rare), or braise for hours (till the meat falls apart).