What’s not to love about the humble cube steak? This recipe for braised cube steak with a gluten-free gravy proves my point. The versatile beef cut is also known as “minute steak” because of how quickly it can be cooked, but it really shines when you use a low and slow technique like braising. When it comes to preparing grassfed beef, I actually prefer this more economical cut over the more costly tenderloin or t-bone steaks. While you can ruin those cuts in a matter of minutes by overcooking them, cube steak is extraordinarily forgiving, as well as much more flavorful.
What is cube steak?
Cube steak is a cut of beef that has been tenderized, usually by the butcher using an electric tenderizer. The name comes from the distinctive cube-like pattern the machine creates. We get cube steak as part of our annual grassfed cow share, but you can also take top sirloin or top round and turn it in cube steak yourself at home using a handheld blade tenderizer like this one.
Cube steak is the most common cut used for the southern delicacy chicken fried steak and is popular in Cuban cuisine as bistec de palomilla, and those are the two ways we usually prepare it. But on this cool autumn night I was really craving something hearty, with a thick gravy, and was willing to wait for it to cook. Since I’ve had a lot of success lately using cassava flour in savory applications, I thought it might work well here and was thrilled with the results.
Don’t go looking for cassava flour at your local grocery store, as you probably won’t find it (yet… word is spreading fast so maybe it will be soon!). And don’t be fooled into thinking it is the same thing as tapioca flour, though they do come from the same tropical plant. Cassava flour is a fantastic gluten-free substitute for wheat flour and can generally be used as a one-for-one replacement in traditional recipes. Since it is grain, nut, and nightshade free, it is good for people following the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP). I’ve used it in this recipe for skillet roasted chicken thighs, my paleo version of a Wisconsin style fish fry, the biscuit dough for this peach cobbler and strawberry shortcake, and these gingersnaps.
Braised Cube Steak Recipe
- In a large skillet with a cover, heat oil over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, season steaks with salt, then coat each piece of meat with flour on both sides.
- Cooking in batches if necessary, brown the steaks without moving them for 3-4 minutes, then flip and brown on other side for 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add onions to skillet and cook until softened and beginning to brown (about 6-7 minutes).
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
- Slowly add broth, stirring and scraping bottom of skillet to dislodge browned bits. Bring to a boil and then reduce to low.
- Add fresh thyme leaves and stir to distribute.
- Return steaks in a single layer so that the are not completely submerged by gravy.
- Cover and simmer on low for 45 minutes.
- Serve steaks with gravy (it's delicious on spaghetti squash, cauliflower mash, or other starchy side dish!)
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Shared on Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable