Cube steak slow-cooked in a Crock Pot develops rich flavors and a tender texture. Let it simmer on low heat for several hours until the steak is melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
The steak turns out so tender that it’s easily shredded with a fork. Serve with mashed potatoes or rice for an easy weeknight meal.
What is Cube Steak?
Cube steak, also called minute steak, is a cut of beef that has been tenderized by pounding with a meat tenderizer or run through a mechanical tenderizer. This process creates small indentations or cubes on the surface of the meat, hence the name “cube steak.”
It is typically taken from the top or bottom round or the chuck region of the cow. Cube steak is known to be one of the cheaper cuts of beef and is versatile, often used in dishes such as chicken fried steak, Swiss steak, or slow-cooked in stews or Crock Pot recipes.
It has a slightly chewy texture and is best when cooked low and slow to tenderize the meat further.
Should I sear cube steak before putting it in the Crock Pot?
Searing cubed steaks in a large skillet before putting them in the slow cooker is optional, but it can add extra flavor and texture to the dish. Searing the steak helps to caramelize the surface, enhancing its taste.
However, if you’re looking to save time or prefer a simpler preparation, you can skip the searing step and still achieve delicious results in the Crock Pot.
Adding vegetables not only enhances the flavor but also creates a complete meal in one pot.
You can add vegetables like potatoes, carrots, onions, and bell peppers alongside the cube steak. Just ensure that the vegetables are cut into similar-sized pieces so they cook evenly with the steak.
For cooking cubed steak in a Crock Pot, it’s typically best to set the temperature to low. Cooking on low heat allows the steak to slowly tenderize and develop rich flavors without becoming overcooked or tough.
This low-and-slow method is ideal for achieving a melt-in-your-mouth texture with cube steak. Depending on the specific recipe and the thickness of the steak, cooking on low for 6-8 hours is a common guideline for achieving optimal results.
However, if you need to speed things up and get dinner cooked faster, cooking on high heat for 4-6 hours can also achieve tender cube steak.
How do I prevent cube steak from becoming tough in the Crock Pot?
Because cube steak can be a tough cut of meat, it’s usually tenderized in a meat tenderizer before purchasing, however, after cooking it can toughen up.
To prevent this in the Crock Pot, there are several tips you can follow:
- Choose the right cooking method: Opt for a slow cooking process in the Crock Pot with low heat to ensure the steak has enough time to tenderize without becoming tough. Low and slow is the way to go!
- Use the right cut: Cube steak is already processed through a meat tenderizer, but choosing a higher quality cut or marbled steak can further prevent toughness.
- Don’t overcook: Avoid cooking the steak for too long, as this can lead to it becoming dry and tough. Follow the recommended cooking times for your specific recipe.
- Add moisture: Ensure there is enough liquid in the Crock Pot to keep the steak moist during cooking. This can be in the form of broth, sauce, or even diced tomatoes.
- Don’t overcrowd the Crock Pot: Give the steak enough space in the Crock Pot to cook evenly. Overcrowding can result in uneven cooking and tougher texture.
- Consider adding acidic ingredients: Adding ingredients like apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or wine can help to break down the muscle fibers in the steak, resulting in a more tender texture.
- Slice against the grain: When serving the cooked steak, be sure to slice it against the grain. This helps to further break down the muscle fibers and ensure a tender bite to make cube steak tender. However, I’ve never had to with my Crock Pot cube steak recipe. It’s always been fork-tender!
Can I use frozen cube steak in the Crock Pot?
It’s generally not recommended to use frozen cube steak directly in the Crock Pot because frozen meat can result in uneven cooking.
This would prolong the time it takes for the steak to reach a safe internal temperature and get really tender.
To ensure safe and even cooking, it’s best to thaw the cube steak completely in the refrigerator before adding it to the Crock Pot.
Alternatively, you can thaw the steak using the defrost setting on your microwave or by placing it in a bowl of cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes until thawed.
What sides go well with Crock Pot cube steak?
- Mashed potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes complement the tender cube steak and soak up any gravy or sauce from the dish.
- Rice or quinoa: Serve the cube steak over a bed of fluffy rice or nutty quinoa for a satisfying meal.
- Roasted vegetables: Roasted carrots, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts add color, flavor, and nutrients to the plate.
- Fresh green beans: Lightly seasoned steamed green beans provide a fresh and crunchy contrast to the rich flavors of the steak.
- 10-Minute Broccolini: Sautéed broccoli adds a brightness and lighter side to go with cube steak, which tends to be on the heavier side.
- Dinner rolls or bread: Warm dinner rolls or crusty bread are perfect for soaking up any leftover juices or gravy.
- Salad: A simple side salad with fresh greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a light vinaigrette adds freshness and balance to the meal.
Store leftover cube steaks in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.
Freezing leftover cube steak with gravy can last up to 2-3 months. Here are the instructions:
- Allow the cooked cube steak and gravy to cool completely to room temperature.
- Transfer the steak and gravy to airtight freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.
- If using bags, squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing to prevent freezer burn.
- Place the containers or bags in the freezer and store them flat to save space.
- When ready to use, thaw the frozen cube steak and gravy in the refrigerator overnight.
- Reheat the thawed steak and gravy on the stove over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.