Appalachia Appalachian Food

Pam’s Cubed Steak

best recipe for cubed steak

I didn’t used to be a fan of cooking cubed steak. I always fried it like Granny did and like Granny’s, sometimes it turned out good and sometimes it was so tough you could barely chew it.

A few years back my friend Pam shared her secret for cooking cubed steak with me and I’ve been cooking it that way ever since.

There isn’t a firm recipe, but I’ve found it to be a practically fool proof process.

easy way to cook cubed steak

First flour and season your cubed steak as you normally would to fry it.

Pour olive oil or whatever oil you like to cook with in a frying pan and heat.

Place floured seasoned cubed steaks in hot pan and brown on each side, but don’t worry about cooking it through.

Once both sides are browned place cubed steaks in a crock pot.

Add a tablespoon or two of flour to the frying pan like you were going to make gravy from the drippings. Cook and stir flour for a few minutes and then pour in chicken stock. Continue to cook and stir while gently scraping the cooked pieces off the bottom of the pan. After a few minutes of cooking, pour chicken stock over the cubed steak in the crock pot and cook on low for a several hours or until done.

I aim for having enough chicken stock to almost cover the cubed steak in the crockpot. The last time I used about 4 cups of stock for about 3 lbs of cubed steak.

The meat turns out super tender and the broth makes a gravy that is perfect for putting over mashed potatoes or rice.

The first time Pap ate Pam’s Cubed Steak at my house he loved it. He said it reminded him of the cubed steak and rice he used to eat at the truck stops when he trucked up the eastern seaboard. And The Deer Hunter loves it too, actually we all do!


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  • Reply
    Kathryn Baer
    March 11, 2022 at 3:02 pm


    I made this the other day and it was excellent and fool proof. I added some onion, but it really didn’t need them. Made the nicest gravy.

    Thank you very much for the easy and delicious recipe.


  • Reply
    October 16, 2021 at 12:08 pm

    I made this recipe and added a sliced up sweet onion to put on top of the cube steak before adding the gravy into the pot. It turned out delicious and very tender! I fixed peas, mashed potatoes and buttermilk biscuits and after eating it my husband said “It’s just like Mama used to make!”

  • Reply
    September 28, 2021 at 6:55 pm

    Having been a meat cutter for Safeway stores many years ago I can tell you that this statement, “The meat turns out super tender” is not true. Cooking meat actually makes it more tough. What you did not do was explain what “Cube Steak” is. In the old days, the person cooking would take a handful of knives and and hammer the meat with the tips of the blades. Rounded butter knife blades work the best for this. What happens is that the sinu is broken up when the tips of the knives strike the mean dozens of time.
    In modern meat departments Cube Steak is run through a multiple blade mechanism multiple times essentially making burger out of it but left with enough sinu to hold it all together. That way they can take tough meat and make it more palatable and easy to chew.

    • Reply
      November 21, 2021 at 6:15 am

      Most markets don’t even have a cuber anymore. I’ve asked around.

  • Reply
    Debbie Nixon
    July 24, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    I love cube steaks and am surely going to give this a try. My mom would always make cube steaks, mashed potatoes with gravy on most of my birthdays. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Reply
    February 21, 2017 at 5:40 am

    I’m also a Fan. You can’t beat a good cube steak and gravy, cream potatoes and green beans, now that’s a good meal..

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    February 20, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    As is often the case these days, I’m way behind on reviewing. As b’rer Jim noted, he, Susan and I can all attest to Pam’s/Tipper’s cube steak being delicious and tender. In fact, I’ve already been instructed by my better half to be on the lookout for cubed steak on sale at IGA.
    I don’t remember when I’ve laughed as hard as I did when Pap told the story about the spider which, according to Chitter, “charged” her. Pap told it with just the slightest bit of a grin; I can still see the look on his face.
    It is, as they say, a precious memory.

  • Reply
    Craig Lawhorne
    February 20, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    My great-aunt Felda who raised me, and I called “Mama Faye”, used to make delicious cube steak and gravy in a really large pan with a lid. She put a can of either cream of mushroom, or cream of onion soup (I don’t remember which) in hers, and it was fantastic! I used to tear up slices of bread and smother them with gravy and eat that alongside the steak. I liked the bread with gravy more than mashed potatoes with gravy.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    February 20, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Hey Tipper: Wonderful posts! I especially enjoyed Ann Applegarth’s post. I had never head her expression! ALSO Her last name is very interesting and I would like to know the origin of that APPLEGARTH name. Maybe – if you ask her – she will have time to ‘mull’ over my request!
    Cheers, Eva Nell Mull, PhD

  • Reply
    February 20, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    I love Cube Stake and Gravy and your pictured one looks great. As Ed said tho, you’ve got to have biscuits to top it off. Mine is usually tough as shoeleather, maybe the store didn’t pound it enough. My dog don’t mind tho, he always waits for his slab and can chew it without any problem.
    My brother in Kernersville called me last night. He just had to tell me about watching Hee Haw. Apparently Tennessee Ernie asked Archie Campbell if he knew anyone with a Ceder Chest. Archie looked at him and said “no, but I had an Uncle with a wooden leg!” …Ken

  • Reply
    February 20, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    I love my crock pots – everything gets more tender by slow cooking.
    I”m sorry you’ve moved your music from here – I always made time to listen to a song or two while reading my email. Now I’ll not be reading as much of the other mail I get, because listening to the sweet voices on your page while reading the boring other stuff made it tolerable.
    Now to go pick up some “little beat up steaks” as my Mama call ’em . . .

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    February 20, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    b Ruth. That’s the way I fix cube steak and the burgers are good that way too.
    Anita Griffith

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    February 20, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    b Ruth. That’s the way I fix cube steak and the burgers are good that way too.
    Anita Griffith

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    February 20, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    b Ruth. That’s the way I fix cube steak and the burgers are good that way too.
    Anita Griffith

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    February 20, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    b Ruth. That’s the way I fix cube steak and the burgers are good that way too.
    Anita Griffith

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 20, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Every time I hear cubed steak I think of a sheepfoot compactor. A sheepfoot packer is a heavy roller that they use to compact the ground before paving or pouring a concrete slab. Well, one day I was watching a butcher preparing meat for a customer. He was running some meat though a machine that looked just like the compactor but on a much smaller scale. I remember thinking “How can they use the same concept to make something tough and something else tender?”
    Beef was rare when I was growing up. By rare I don’t mean not well done, I mean we couldn’t afford it. I never developed much of a taste for it. I didn’t have cubed steak until I was grown. My mother-in-law made it so I had to eat it sometimes but I didn’t really like it and still don’t. I’m not a vegetarian but I don’t eat very much meat. I cook with it but use it more as a seasoning than a main ingredient.
    Your recipe sounds delicious but if I fixed it I would have biscuits and mashed potatoes and rice. I would break the biscuits apart, make an indention in the top my rice and potatoes then spoon the gravy over everything. If the meat didn’t turn out tender I won’t mind. I’ll give it to somebody else anyway. I guess I’m just weird that way!
    Do I have gravy on my chin?

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    February 20, 2017 at 10:13 am

    First I slice a whole onion in rings. Salt and Pepper my cube steak, flour it and place in a hot oiled pan, Brown on both sides. Sprinkle any excess flour over the steak if any is left over, of course use common cooking sense here, don’t add back 1/2 cup (you must have spilt the flour in the first go-round) HA
    I then add water or beef broth if I have it. When it begins to thicken, toss in the onions and turn down and let simmer. Add water/broth back as it cooks down if necessary. Meat will of course tender up the longer it is cooked. This steak n’ onions n’ gravy was a quick supper for us when I was working. Mashed taters or rice but my crew loved mashed taters and a big ole garden salad and supper was ready. Only remember once or twice thru the years getting tough stringy steak…That comes from the butcher being chintzy….ha Most of the time cubed steak is a tougher cut anyway, if it is sent thru the cuber the right way and amount of time the steak will be tender…thus cubed steak!
    My son that passed, worked during his school years for a great mentor that was a butcher and taught him so much about different cuts of meats…People came from all over to buy meat from this butcher at this store.
    I’m hungry….and all I have in the fridge is burger…Guess we could have steak burgers, onion and gravy!
    Great post, Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    February 20, 2017 at 10:12 am

    I used to cook a similar dish for years before the crock pot became so popular. We called it country steak. and I used an electric fry pan. It required a lot of watching and adding liquid. Since I use a crock pot so much, I need to try this old favorite again. I am finding without the use of crock pot I burn everything anymore. Crockpot was a great invention in a busy world. The chicken broth would kick up the taste. Some of the folks around here called it bucket steak because it came packed in a lidded container back in the day.
    I love collards, but never could get them to taste right. I started adding to crock pot with beef broth, and they were wonderful without all the calories.

    • Reply
      September 23, 2021 at 3:05 am

      Try adding a can or 2 of cream of chicken soup & the meat from some smoked turkey wings to your collards.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    February 20, 2017 at 9:40 am

    I don’t use a crock pat, but I do run the steak through flour, salt and pepper, brown in oil. Remove from pan then make a gravy from the drippings and remaining flour mix. Replace steak and simmer. Yummy

  • Reply
    February 20, 2017 at 9:11 am

    As I read your post, I thought, “that sounds like chicken-fried steak” – mostly. So, of course, I did a search and thought the following had the best, simplest discussion of the distinctions between cubed steak, country-fried steak, chicken-fried steak, and Swiss steak:
    I remember pounding those cheap cuts of steak with the edge of a plate trying to tenderize them -didn’t hear of or see used a tenderizing hammer until sometime in high school. We didn’t have a cutting board either. Instead we put down several layers of tea towels/dish towels/cup towels, covered them with the waxed paper we had saved (and cleaned – didn’t want to encourage pantry moths) from a cereal box, and lay the meat on that before pounding the meat. We never used egg, not even when frying chicken, – just seasoned flour – and usually pan-fried the steaks in bacon or sausage drippings we had saved. Then, (this is kind of like the crock pot idea), we added a little more corn oil or crisco (about a 1/2 in in the pan) and some water, put the lid on the cast iron skillet, and let it simmer for a while (maybe 1/2 hour?) before taking the lid off, draining most of the liquids and setting aside for gravy, then turning up the heat to quickly crisp the meat before turning the heat back down, removing the meat to a serving platter, and returning the grease/liquid to the pan to make gravy.
    Once in a while, Dad wanted steak and eggs for breakfast. Then the meat was pounded super thin and the coated meat was quickly pan-fried in saved bacon grease, the pan scraped and the scrapings put on top of the meat, before more saved grease was added so we could fry the egg. Dad was usually in too much of a hurry to get out to the fields to take the time to make gravy, I guess.
    Swiss steak was one of Mom’s favorites to make for Sunday dinner: She usually prepared it Saturday night and left it in the refrigerator putting it in the oven as we sat down to breakfast. Using a thicker cut, the steak was thoroughly pounded, seared on both sides then put in a roasting pan with canned tomatoes and their juice, onions, potatoes, carrots, (sometimes bell peppers) and seasoning. Water was added if she thought there wasn’t enough “juice” in the pan. The pan was covered and placed in the refrigerator overnight and in the oven the next morning at a low/medium temperature before we left for Sunday school and church. Dinner was ready by the time we got home from church.
    – – thanks for the memories – –

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    February 20, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Like Miss Cindy, I’ve been privileged to sample and savor Tipper’s cubed steak. It was a special moment I’ll always treasure, for not only did she feed Don and me when we delivered some things over Brasstown way, Pap was present for dinner. After a scrumptious meal we enjoyed a couple of hours of first-rate storytelling, and prominent in my memory from that jawin’ session was Jerry’s account of an “attack” spider as seen through the eyes of either Chitter or Chatter (I can’t remember which one). Maybe Tipper will share the story sometime, because it is hilarious.
    It was the last time I saw Pap and it was a memorable time.
    By the way, Tipper’s recipe works every bit as well for venison cubed steak as it does store-bought beef.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    February 20, 2017 at 8:58 am

    Cubed steak was my ex-husband’s favorite meal. I usually fried it and chopped up one of the pieces and made gravy on it. I never cared for red meat and never ate much of the steak and gravy. Can’t say I’ve cooked it at all since I don’t ‘have to’.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    February 20, 2017 at 8:48 am

    I love Miss Cindy’s comment! In my family, the expression was “so good it would make you slap your Daddy.” I spent a considerable part of my childhood mulling over that odd expression, but since no one ever did slap Daddy, I figured it was OK to say that. Re Pam’s recipe, it sounds scrumptious!

  • Reply
    Melissa P (misplaced Southerner)
    February 20, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Cubed steak was one of my Daddy’s favorite meals. I know my dear husband would love it, too. His grandmother in Kentucky was such a good “cooker” (my husband when he was little’s word). I’ve always been intimidated to try some of the things she made. I’m sure this was one of the things she would make. I was always afraid of it coming out tough. I’ll have to use this method and give it a try. Do you buy your meat already pounded or do it yourself?

  • Reply
    Chuck Howell
    February 20, 2017 at 8:24 am

    HI Tipper,
    My Mother would pound round steak with the edge of a plate. She would roll it in seasoned flour then fry it in lard. Chicken Fried. I remember it as delicious, not tough, a special treat. We seldom had beef in my home in Slaty Fork West Virginia, later Cass and Shady Spring West Virginia. I read that it was Buck Owens of Bakersfield’s favorite and one of his last meals at the Crystal Palace, Close to Mother’s Chicken & Dumplings, being my favorite.

  • Reply
    Pam Danner
    February 20, 2017 at 8:05 am

    Mmmm, I made cubed steak yesterday. It turned out super tender and delicious. I pounded mine a little before I floured and cooked it. I put it in a small amount of oil in my iron skillet, browned it on both sides then sliced a whole onion and put it in the skillet with the cubed steaks. I then put the lid on the iron skillet and turned the heat down on low. Mmmm-mmmm. My hubby said it was the best cubed steak. I guess we all make it different.

  • Reply
    Barbara N Gantt
    February 20, 2017 at 7:52 am

    I roll the cube steak in flour, heat a little oil in my heavy 4 quart pot, brown it then add water to just about the meat. Put the lid on it. stick in the oven at 325 til it is tender. Makes it own gravy and so good.
    I had a little garlic power and onion powder if I remember. We love it, eat it with rice or mashed potatoes. This is a favorite meal at my house. Barbara

  • Reply
    February 20, 2017 at 6:47 am

    I haven’t cooked “cube” steak (what I grew up calling it, and that name never made sense to me) in many, many years, because my memories of it are all of the “shoeleather” variety. Maybe now I’ll use this method and try it again – I am a big fan of crockpot cooking!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 20, 2017 at 6:44 am

    I’ve eaten your cubed steak made from this recipe and it is wonderful old timey melt in your mouth cubed steak and gravy!! So good it would make you smack your granny, as my friend used to say!

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