Standing at our local butcher recently (shout out to Gillispie Meats in Newton), I spotted a package of minute steaks and quickly grabbed it out of the case.
“I’m getting these,” I excitedly told Joey.
He just shrugged. He’s used to me getting worked up about random ingredients.
Seeing the steaks immediately took me back to my childhood, standing next to my mom while she patiently gave me yet another cooking lesson. I remember being completely appalled at how weird the minute steaks looked when they were dredged in flour, and she laughed at me for my overly dramatic reaction, reminding me that the final product would look very different.
When I was ready to cook these steaks, I gave her a call to confirm exactly what she used to do when she made them. I think she thought I was silly, but she talked me through the process, and I proudly sent her a photo when I was done. (And they were delicious.)
If you’re not familiar with minute steaks, they’re also sometimes referred to as cube or cubed steaks. The Food Network describes them as “an inexpensive, flavorful cut of beef that’s pre-tenderized. It’s taken from the top or bottom round—a tough portion near the rump of the cow.”
That description doesn’t make them sound delicious, but ours made for a darn good dinner.
There is no recipe for me to link back to this week, as this is a tried-and-true method from my mom’s kitchen. She gets all the credit this time.
- 2 to 4 minute steaks one per serving you’re preparing
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons canola oil or butter
- milk for pan gravy
- On a plate, combine the flour, garlic salt and pepper.
- Dredge the steaks in the flour mixture, making sure to get them evenly coated.
- In a large skillet with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the steaks and braise both sides for a few minutes—just until they are a light brown.
- Pour about 1/4 cup water into the pan and place the lid on top. Let the steaks steam until they are tender. This should take a few minutes. (Check them once the water boils off. Add more water and keep going if they’re still tough.)
- Remove the steaks from the pan and place on a plate. If there is still oil or butter in the pan, sprinkle some of the remaining flour from when you dredged the steaks into the pan, whisking until all of the oil is absorbed. If there isn’t any, add about a tablespoon and do the same thing. Whisk the flour for just about a minute to cook out the floury taste, and then carefully add some milk, whisking as you do to avoid lumps. (If you’re not used to making pan gravy, start with adding around 1/4 to 1/2 cup, and then add more, little by little, as it thickens until you get the consistency you want.) Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to get any bits of the steak that may still be there.
- Once your gravy reaches your desired consistency, serve the steaks, covered in gravy, with your favorite sides. (I always opt for mashed potatoes and green beans.)
These were just as good as I remembered them being. It’s nothing you’re going to win a culinary award for, but minute steaks are just a delicious, hearty dinner. Plus, the whole meal comes together super quickly, which is so nice for nights when you want to have a home-cooked meal but don’t have a lot of time.
If you wanted to get adventurous, you could always add some other seasonings into the flour—cayenne pepper, paprika, etc. Sometimes something really simple is the best meal for me, though.
And this time I didn’t get all grossed out about flour-dredged steaks. I knew what was going to end up on my plate, and as always, my mom was 100 percent right.
This piece first appeared in print on Feb. 16, 2023.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.