Let’s talk about something that can turn an ordinary backyard barbecue into an unforgettable feast – grilled cube steak.
I have been grilling cube steak for years and I have to say, my guests have never been disappointed.
However, one of the most common questions that comes up is around how long to grill cube steak.
Cube steak is typically thin and tenderized, making it a quick-cooking option on the grill. It generally takes about 4 to 6 minutes per side over direct medium-high heat for a total cooking time of 8 to 12 minutes.
However, please keep in mind that cooking times may vary depending on the thickness of the steak and desired level of doneness.
It’s important to monitor the internal temperature with a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) for medium-rare or 160°F (71°C) for medium.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know to perfectly grill a cube steak. So, without wasting any more time, let’s begin!
What is Cube Steak?
Alright, let’s dive right into the meat of the matter! What in the world is this cube steak we’ve been talking about?
To put it simply, cube steak is a cut of beef, typically from the top sirloin or top round, that’s been tenderized by a machine.
Honestly speaking, this machine is a blessing. It does all the work, pounding the steak with rows and rows of sharp little blades or heavy weights.
Sounds pretty brutal, right?
But trust me, it’s doing us all a big favor! This rough-and-tumble process leaves the steak with a bunch of small indentations that look like tiny little cubes all over the surface.
Hence the name – cube steak!
“But wait,” you might say, “why go through all that trouble? What’s so great about cube steak?” I’m glad you asked!
You see, top round and top sirloin cuts can be a bit on the tough side.
The process of tenderizing, or “cubing,” breaks down those tough muscle fibers and turns a potentially chewy steak into something wonderfully tender and easy to eat.
Plus, all those little nooks and crannies from the tenderizing process make excellent hideouts for marinades and rubs.
This means every bite of cube steak is bursting with whatever delicious flavors you’ve chosen to add. Talk about a taste sensation!
Now, onto the next question: what’s cube steak used for? I’m sure you’ve heard of chicken-fried steak? Well, cube steak is the star of that show!
The tenderizing process makes it perfect for quick-cooking methods like frying, which is why it’s a hit in that Southern classic.
But its fame doesn’t stop at the borders of the United States.
In Italy, it’s often used in a scrumptious dish called “Swiss steak” where it’s slow-cooked with tomatoes and onions until it’s melt-in-your-mouth tender.
And down in South America, you might find cube steak served up with rice, beans, and a fried egg in a hearty dish known as “Bistec a lo Pobre.”
Why Grill Cube Steak?
So now that we know what cube steak is and where it comes from, let’s get down to brass tacks: Why should we grill it?
Well, I’m thrilled you asked, because there are a couple of pretty nifty reasons!
First off, let’s talk health. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Health? But we’re talking about grilling steak!” Stick with me here.
Grilling, as it turns out, is a healthier cooking method compared to others like frying or sautéing. When you grill, the fat on the steak drips off and goes right into the fire.
Poof! Gone! So instead of your steak swimming around in its own fat like it does in a frying pan, it’s losing fat.
Less fat equals fewer calories, which is a plus in anyone’s book. So, in a roundabout way, grilling is a healthier way to enjoy your cube steak. Who knew, right?
Next up, let’s chat about flavor.
Grilling is like the fairy godmother of cooking methods – it takes a plain old piece of meat and transforms it into something downright magical.
Those high, direct flames caramelize the outside of the steak, creating a delightful crust that’s packed with flavor.
Plus, remember all those little cube-like dents we talked about earlier?
They catch and hold onto the smoky flavors from the grill, making every bite a tiny explosion of yumminess.
Grilling gives your cube steak a unique, smoky, and irresistible taste that you just can’t get from any other cooking method.
It’s like a flavor roller coaster ride for your tongue!
Preparing Your Cube Steak for Grilling
Okay, let’s say you’re on board with the whole grilling cube steak idea. Good for you! But hold on a minute, cowboy!
Before you slap that steak on the grill, there’s a few things we’ve got to talk about.
First thing’s first: selecting your cube steak. Now, you might think, “It’s just a piece of meat, how hard can it be?”
Well, just like picking out the perfect pet, you want to make sure you’re choosing the right one.
When it comes to cube steak, you want it to be a vibrant, cherry-red color, not too pale or too dark. And while a little bit of fat can add flavor, you don’t want too much of it.
Remember, you’re going to be grilling it, so a lot of that fat is going to melt away anyway. So keep your eyes peeled for a nice, lean cut.
Next up: prep work. Yes, even cube steak needs a little pampering before it hits the grill. You’ll want to pat your steak dry with a paper towel before anything else.
Why, you ask? Well, a dry steak gets a better sear on the grill. Then, you’ll want to season it with salt and pepper. Trust me, this simple seasoning goes a long way!
Now, if you’re feeling a little adventurous and want to kick the flavor up a notch, consider using a marinade or a rub.
These can range from a simple mix of olive oil, garlic, and herbs, to a more complex concoction of soy sauce, brown sugar, and ginger.
The choice is yours, but remember, the aim is to enhance the flavor of the steak, not overpower it.
As for timing, if you’re using a marinade, give it at least an hour to soak in. If it’s a rub, you can put it on right before you grill.
Alrighty then, it’s time to talk grilling gear. Just like a superhero needs their trusty utility belt, every grill master needs their essential grilling tools.
But first, let’s talk about the star of the show – the grill.
You’ve got a few options here. You could go old school with a classic charcoal grill, get fancy with a gas grill, or even try out a pellet grill if you’re feeling adventurous.
So which one’s the best? Well, it’s not that simple, my friend. Each has its own set of pros and cons.
A charcoal grill, for instance, is perfect if you’re after that smoky, charred flavor. It’s like the wild west of grills, giving you that raw, authentic grilling experience.
However, it can be a bit fiddly to start and control the temperature.
On the flip side, gas grills are quick to start, easy to control, and you won’t have to deal with any messy charcoal.
But the flavor might not be as smoky or intense as you’d get with a charcoal grill.
And then there’s the pellet grill, a high-tech option that uses wood pellets for fuel and gives you precise control over the temperature.
It’s a great choice if you want to experiment with different smoky flavors, but keep in mind, it’s usually more expensive and needs electricity to run.
Now, let’s talk tools. You’re gonna need a good pair of tongs to flip your steak, a grill brush to keep your grill grates clean, and a meat thermometer to check if your steak is cooked just right.
No guesswork here, we’re going for perfection!
Lastly, before you throw your steak on the grill, you’ve got to get your grill ready. If you’re using a charcoal grill, you’ll want to wait until the coals are covered with white ash.
With a gas grill, just preheat it on high for about 15 minutes. As for the grates, give them a good scrub with your grill brush, then wipe them with a piece of paper towel dipped in a bit of oil.
This helps prevent your steak from sticking.
Grilling Techniques: Mastering the Heat
Now that you’re all geared up, it’s time to get fired up about grilling techniques. You see, there’s more to grilling than just throwing a steak on the grates.
We’re gonna delve into the art of mastering the heat, talking about direct versus indirect grilling, finding the perfect temperature, and even how to tackle those pesky flare-ups.
Grilling can be a game of two halves, direct and indirect heat.
Now, you might be scratching your head thinking, “What’s the difference?” Don’t worry, I’ve got your back.
Direct heat grilling means your steak is right above the fire, getting all nice and caramelized. This method is great for our friend the cube steak, which loves a quick sear.
Indirect heat grilling, on the other hand, means your steak is off to the side, basking in the heat without being directly above the flames.
This method is great for larger or tougher cuts that need a bit more time to become tender. But since cube steak is already tender and thin, we’re gonna stick with direct heat for this adventure.
“But how hot should the grill be?” I hear you ask.
Well, cube steak doesn’t need a lot of cooking time, so you’ll want your grill to be quite hot.
Preheat your grill to a medium-high heat, around 400°F (204°C) if you’ve got a grill thermometer.
Don’t have one? No problem!
Just hold your hand about five inches above the grill grates. If you can keep it there for about five seconds before it gets too hot, you’re in the right zone.
Now, let’s talk flare-ups.
Those are the big, dramatic flames you sometimes see when grilling. They happen when fat drips onto the fire, and they can cause your steak to burn.
But don’t fret, flare-ups are actually pretty easy to control. If one pops up, just move your steak to another part of the grill until the flame dies down.
No water necessary, and definitely no panic!
The Grilling Process
Alright, get ready to rock and roll, ’cause now we’re getting to the real meat of the matter – the grilling process.
We’re going to walk through grilling cube steak step by step, talk about how long to cook it, and even throw in some expert tips for flipping and moving the steak around.
First thing’s first: once your grill is nice and hot, you’re going to lay your prepared cube steak directly over the heat.
Be sure to use your tongs, not a fork, to place the steak on the grill. Why? Well, poking the steak with a fork lets all those tasty juices escape, and we definitely don’t want that!
Next, let’s talk timing. How long should you grill your cube steak? For a medium-rare steak, which is slightly pink in the middle, you’re looking at about 4 minutes on each side.
If you prefer your steak medium, with just a hint of pink, aim for 5 minutes per side. And if you like your steak well done (no pink), you’ll need about 6 minutes on each side.
Remember, every grill is a bit different, so these times might vary a bit.
Now, here’s a golden nugget of grilling wisdom: resist the urge to flip your steak too often. You might think you’re helping it cook evenly, but you’re actually messing with the searing process.
The goal here is to flip the steak only once, halfway through the cooking time.
And whatever you do, don’t press down on the steak with your spatula – that’s a surefire way to lose those yummy juices!
Lastly, you might need to move your steak around on the grill a bit, especially if you’re dealing with flare-ups. Remember, if you see flames, don’t panic!
Just use your tongs to move the steak to a cooler part of the grill until the flames die down.
Resting and Serving the Cube Steak
Now that your cube steak has been grilled to perfection, we’re onto the final stretch – resting and serving. And yes, resting is as important as grilling, believe it or not.
Plus, we’re going to chat about how to make your cube steak look and taste even better when serving. Ready to go? Let’s dive in!
Let’s start with resting.
Just like us after a long day, your steak needs a break after being on the grill. But why? Well, it’s all about the juices.
When you grill a steak, the heat drives all its tasty juices to the center. If you cut into it straight away, all those juices will spill out, and you’ll be left with a dry steak. No thanks!
So, how long should you let your steak rest? A good rule of thumb is to let it rest for about half the time it spent on the grill.
For a cube steak, that’s around 3-5 minutes. Just place it on a cutting board or a plate, cover it loosely with aluminum foil to keep it warm, and wait. I know, it’s hard, but trust me, it’s worth it!
Now, onto the fun part – serving your cube steak. Presentation is key, my friend. Arrange your cube steak on a plate in a way that shows off its beautiful grill marks.
Maybe even slice it against the grain to reveal its tender, juicy inside.
And let’s not forget about sides. Cube steak is pretty versatile, so you can pair it with just about anything. Mashed potatoes, grilled veggies, coleslaw, or a fresh salad are all fantastic options.
You could also serve it with some barbeque sauce or a dollop of garlic butter for an extra flavor kick.
In the end, the way you serve your cube steak is up to you. The goal is to make it look appealing and taste amazing. After all, we eat with our eyes first!
Troubleshooting Common Issues
Next, we’re going to tackle common grilling issues that might sneak up on you, and then dive into how you can make sure your cube steak is juicy and flavorful every single time.
First off, let’s face it, we’ve all had grilling hiccups. Maybe your steak sticks to the grill, or perhaps it comes out tougher than a math problem.
But don’t worry, we’ve got this! If your steak is sticking, the fix is as simple as oiling your grates before you start grilling.
Just grab a pair of tongs, dip a paper towel in some cooking oil, and rub it over the grates.
Voila, no more sticky situations!
Now, if your steak turns out tough, don’t fret! Remember our friend the cube steak is tender because of those little holes all over it?
Make sure you’re not grilling it for too long. This steak likes a hot and fast grill, so sticking to the timing we talked about earlier should help you avoid the dreaded tough steak.
Now, let’s get to the good stuff – how to ensure your steak is juicy and packed with flavor every time. First, never skip the resting step.
It’s like a magic trick that keeps your steak juicy. Second, don’t be shy with your seasonings or marinades. They can turn a good steak into a great one.
And third, remember to grill at the right temperature. Too low, and your steak might dry out. Too high, and it could burn.
Also, remember how we talked about not pressing down on the steak or poking it while grilling?
Well, it’s worth repeating. Those actions let the juices escape, and we want to keep them right where they are – in the steak!
Alright, now that you’ve mastered the basics, are you ready to mix it up a bit?
In this section, we’re going to explore how to adapt your grilling time for different thicknesses of cube steak and play around with some flavor profiles and marinades.
It’s like taking a road trip on the grilling highway – you never know what exciting detour you might find!
First stop, different steak thicknesses. You might be wondering, “If I have a thicker or thinner cube steak, how do I adjust the grilling time?” Well, I’m glad you asked!
As a rule of thumb, for every extra 1/4 inch of thickness, add about a minute of grilling time on each side.
So, if your steak is 1 inch thick, you might grill it for about 6 minutes on each side for medium-rare.
On the flip side, if your steak is super thin, like 1/4 inch, it might only need a minute or two on each side. Just remember, always check your steak’s doneness to avoid over or under cooking.
Now, let’s hit the flavor highway. Just like your favorite songs, steaks can have different vibes depending on the marinade you use.
If you like things a bit spicy, why not try a chili-lime marinade? Or if you’re in the mood for something sweet and smoky, a honey-mustard marinade might be just the ticket.
The sky’s the limit, so feel free to experiment!
Remember, marinades aren’t just about flavor – they also help tenderize the meat.
So, don’t rush this step. Let your steak soak up the marinade for at least 30 minutes, but longer if you can.
And, don’t forget to save some marinade for basting the steak while it’s on the grill. It’ll add an extra layer of flavor that’s sure to wow your taste buds!
How Long To Grill Cube Steak (Final Thoughts)
And just like that, we’re at the end of our grilling adventure. Time sure flies when you’re having fun, doesn’t it?
Now that we’ve traveled the whole grilling journey, let’s take a moment to look back at the key points. Remember, every great grill master was once a beginner, so let’s make sure we’ve got these steps down pat.
First up, we learned all about cube steak, that magical, tenderized cut of beef that’s just begging to be grilled.
Then, we dove into the why and how of grilling cube steak – the health benefits, the fantastic flavor, and how grilling brings out the best in our steak.
Next, we prepped for our grill-out by selecting high-quality cube steak and getting it ready with yummy marinades or rubs.
We also took a look at our grilling gear, ensuring we’ve got the right tools for the job, and prepped our grill for the main event.
Once we hit the grill, we discussed how to manage the heat, the importance of temperature, and how to prevent those pesky flare-ups.
We walked step-by-step through grilling our cube steak to the perfect doneness and how to flip it like a pro.
After grilling, we learned about the magic of letting the steak rest and the art of presenting and pairing our grilled masterpiece.
We also tackled troubleshooting any potential issues to keep our grilling game strong.
And lastly, we explored ways to mix it up, adapting grilling times for different thicknesses and playing with different flavor profiles and marinades.
Whew! That’s quite a journey we’ve been on together! But the road to grilling greatness doesn’t end here.
Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to fire up that grill and try your hand at grilling cube steak.
Whether it’s for a summer BBQ, a family dinner, or just because you’ve got a hankering for a juicy steak, you’re now equipped with the knowledge to grill like a pro.
Thanks for reading this article on how long to grill cube steak. Here are some FAQs to wrap up for today!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can I grill cube steak without it becoming tough?
Great question! Cube steak can indeed become tough if it’s overcooked. Here are a few tips to keep it tender:
- Marinate: Before you grill your cube steak, marinate it for at least 30 minutes, and up to 24 hours. The marinade not only adds flavor, but it also tenderizes the meat.
- Hot and Fast: Cube steak is best when cooked quickly over high heat. Aim for about 4-6 minutes per side, depending on thickness and how done you like your steak.
- Rest: After you pull the steak off the grill, let it rest for about 5 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the steak, keeping it moist and tender.
Can I grill frozen cube steak, or should it be thawed first?
It’s best to thaw your cube steak before grilling. Grilling frozen steak can lead to uneven cooking – the outside can become overdone while the inside remains raw. To safely thaw cube steak, transfer it from the freezer to the fridge and allow it to thaw overnight.
How do I determine when the cube steak is done to my liking?
An instant-read thermometer is your best friend here. For medium-rare cube steak, aim for an internal temperature of about 130-135°F, for medium about 140-145°F, and for well-done 160°F or higher. Remember, the steak will continue to cook a bit after you take it off the grill, so it’s a good idea to remove it when it’s about 5°F below your target temperature.
What are some ideal side dishes for grilled cube steak?
Grilled cube steak is super versatile and pairs well with a variety of sides. Here are a few ideas:
- Grilled Vegetables: Grilled asparagus, bell peppers, zucchini, or corn on the cob are delicious and easy to prepare while your steak is resting.
- Potatoes: Mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, or even grilled potato wedges make a hearty complement to your steak.
- Salads: A fresh garden salad, Caesar salad, or even a tangy coleslaw can provide a refreshing contrast to your savory steak.
- Breads: A nice piece of garlic bread or a hunk of baguette would also pair well.