Country Style Steak

Using cube steak.

The process for creating cube steak first shows up in 1930s patents, although the name shows up in ads from the late 1920s. The concept is simple: meat is passed through a machine that makes lines of slashes into (but not through) the flesh and presses down on it. When the steak passes through the other side, the meat stretches along the cuts a bit, giving the appearance of a checkerboard surface, or “cubes.”

Cube steak’s reputation as not being worthy of culinary notice comes from the early days of the use of cubing machines, which would be used to press smaller cuts of meat together into one larger “steak” (these days, those pieces tend to end up in the hamburger or meatloaf mix). In reality, it’s usually pretty delicious–it takes tough but flavorful pieces of meat (like the bottom round, for example) and turns them into tender, flavorful pieces of meat. I’ll take a good cube steak over most preparations of tenderloin any day.

One oddity about the recipe on this card is that cube steak is precisely the kind of cut of meat you don’t have to braise slowly in the oven. So personally, I’d reduce the oven cooking time to maybe 20 minutes. But your results may vary.

Here’s a version from the April 17, 1968 edition of the Winnipeg Free Press:

Country Style Steak

2 lbs. boneless round or chuck steak, cut 1 inch thick
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons beef drippings or shortening
14 oz. can tomatoes
1 beef bouillon cube
3/4 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon sugar

Wipe meat with damp paper towel. Cut into six equal portions. Mix flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and mustard; use to dredge meat. Heat drippings in skillet. Brown meat on both sides. Transfer meat to casserole.

Preheat oven to 325 deg. F. Pour tomatoes over meat. Mix bouillon cube and boiling water. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt and sugar over tomatoes. Pour in water. Cover casserole; bake 1-1/2 hours or until meat tender.

Yield: six servings.

From the box of L.R. from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Country Style Steak

4 large cube steaks
3 Tbsp. shortening
1/4 cup of chopped celery and onion
1/2 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. mustard (prepared type)
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1 can tomato soup

Dredge in seasoned flour (salt and pepper added). Melt shortening in dutch oven and lightly brown onion, celery, and garlic. Push to side.

Brown steaks. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over steaks–simmer (or bake in 325 deg. oven) for 2 hours or until tender.

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