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Cheap Eats - Cube Steak

Tonight I made myself a steak sandwich for dinner. As I do often for steak sandwiches, when money is tight, I bought a cube steak. I love it because of the quick cooking time and how it absorbs seasoning so perfectly. But here's the best part

5 oz cube steak - $1.75
1 vine ripened tomato - $0.60
Shredded lettuce - $0.20
Grilled onion slices - $0.30
1/2 avocado sliced - $0.80
1/2 loaf Bastone $1.00
Total - $4.65 (not including the spices, mayo and sriracha I already had

Seasoned steak with salt, pepper, garlic, smoked paprika and cumin
Cooked about a 45 seconds per side.
Mayo and Sriracha on bread
Sliced steak into 1/4 strips

Surprisingly, this was more than enough for two sandwiches and at a total of less than $5 for two meals. Definitely worth it. And the steak was perfect. Just to put in perspective. A local steak sandwich place near me charges $8 for this on a half baguette, no veggies other than onions.

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  1. We buy cube steak very often and have been eating this since well I was a kid. It is tender tastey and fast. I do not have time through the week to cook elaborate meals so it is a standard at my house.and I like the price. Your sandwich sounds very good.

    1. I have a cube steak preparation in my recipe lineup. It hasn't worked out for my menu planning yet but I can't wait until it does.

      1. My Grandmother made a killer cube steak sandwich, I'll have to pick some up and see if I can replicate it. Good memories. :)

        (Wow! Are avocados always so expensive on the east coast?)

        1 Reply
        1. re: weezieduzzit

          The avocados were on sale...haha. 40 cents off that day

        2. I in Texas. Chicken fried steak and chicken fried steak sandwiches are a bit of a tradition here.

          However, i have recently been using boneless pork chops as an alternative because it is cheaper and more tender than cube steak. At my grocery store, pork is never very far below $4.00 per pound.

          On sale, I can get pork loin for $1.99 per pound and pork tenderloin for $2.97 per pound. Consequently, I don't eat my beloved cube steak very often.

          11 Replies
          1. re: Hank Hanover

            My Dad lent me an old newspaper today, pork loin in 1967 was 49 cents a pound!

            1. re: Hank Hanover

              I know a lot of people like to make fried steak with better cuts, but I always use cube steak. I must admit, I don't have a recipe for country gravy, but it's still good

              1. re: jhopp217

                I'd be happy to give you a recipe, jhopp217: if you want to join the ranks of "those in the know." :)

                1. re: mamachef

                  Don't play hard to get, mama. Please share! :)
                  To be honest, being up in Canada, my grwavy has always been brown and meat-based. While I've head of it, I have no idea what white/country gravy actually is. I'd be happy to get a copy of a confirm-tasty family recipe to try.

                  1. re: mamachef

                    Do tell. I must admit, the last time I used a regular Knorr's turkey gravy and added a ton of pepper, but it wasn't the same. I do know McCormick's makes a country gravy, but never tried it.

                    I'd much rather a homemade gravy anyway

                    1. re: jhopp217

                      Hey, no problem! So, there are a few different ways to go about this. The proportions for all are the same, and the general method. The first isn't my favorite, but it's historically accurate as a classic Depression-era gravy: Just dice or slice a large onion, saute in 1/4 c. oil, bacon drippings or butter, seasoning w/ salt and pepper; remove onion but retain grease in pan. Add 1/4 c. flour to skillet and incorporate flour into grease. Stirring constantly, let the roux bubble 2-3 minute; and gradually whisk in 2 1/2-3 milk (or cream or a combo of both )until incorporated and thick. Stir 'til smooth and bubbling; re-add onion to pan,season again, and use plenty of pepper. The second is to use the grease that you cooked your (presumably CF) steak in, in the way described above. Make sure in any of these cases that you get all the fond and nice browned crunchy bits into the mix - before you add flour to pan, give it a good scrape, and you're golden. The third is a huge favorite - but it's a more a main entree, usually served at breakfast. Brown 1 lb. sausage of your choice (though I wouldn't recommend Italian for this. You'd be suprised at how amazing maple sausage tastes w/ this, though sage sausage is equally delicious.) Crumble well; set aside. Measure 1/4 c. drippings; re-add to pan, scraping up all that wonderful jetsam in the pan, and when hot add flour, whisking as above the entire time. Add your milk and seasonings; EASY on the salt as, w/ the sausage it may not need additional, and cook 'til smooth, hot and bubbly. Now re-add your sausage, and give it all a good stir. Serve over biscuits, eggs, potatoes, rice, toast....what have you. OMG. Makes me happy just to think about it.
                      Ok: so a few things to consider: always cook the roux well w/o browning. If you leave it too raw, it will impart a grainy, floury texture to the finished product, which is definiteley NOT what you want. Just keep the heat medium/med. low if neccessary, and give it that 2-3 minutes. It should JUST be beginning to smell a little toasty and maybe take on a light color, but not much at all for these sorts of gravies. If this seems too thick, you can always thin w/ more milk (cream), - if it seems too thin, you can make a fast flour slurry to tighten it up: 1 T. flour dissolved in 1/4 c. liquid (put in jar and shake hard; add to mixture in pan and give the whole saucepan an extra 3-4 minutes.) And finally, if it seems too rich to you, you can lighten it up by using a cup of broth or stock as part of the required liquid. It won't be a classic White gravy, but it'll be lighter and just as delicious. The important spice here is pepper - while you can jazz this up in any manner of ways, the plainer you leave it the more classic it will be. I clearly don't care about classicism, though: I'm the first one to add a sauteed clove of garlic, or some minced sauteed onion, or paprika or a hit of thyme. And speaking of the packaged mixes, they can be improved in ways both great and mysterious by using wine as part of the liquid needed - but, as in the case of the Knorr mix you used - you can also use milk and come to a similar conclusion; a creamier, "meat"-type gravy, only smooth and creamy and less sharp. I've done it in a pinch, using chicken gravy, to top off "chicken-fried chicken steak." (BSCB, flattened to 1/4 " thick; prepared as for CFS.)
                      Bon Apetit!

                      1. re: mamachef

                        WOOHOO! Thanks. I did actually add Paprika last time I believe. I'm currently addicted to the smoked variety and it finds its way into a lot of things...as does my favorite spice Cumin. Thanks again

                2. re: Hank Hanover

                  Chicken fried steak it is. And since I don't like cream gravies, I make a brown mushroom gravy. Saute some onions and mushrooms in the remaining cooking fat, add enough of the leftover seasoned flour to make a roux, and stir in beef broth.

                  1. re: rockycat

                    The entire state of Texas just groaned.

                    Brown gravy on chicken fried steak.... shakes head.

                    1. re: Hank Hanover

                      Hank is absolutely correct. I like brown gravy, but never, never, never with CFS. White Gravy just goes with CFS.

                      1. re: Wtg2Retire

                        It's rockycat's steak in rockycat's kitchen, to be eaten solely by rockycat. If he wants to make and eat a beef-broth gravy over it that's his damn business.

                        I make a cream gravy for mine, but do not love those of blinding whiteness. A sort of pale tan is my preference, just enough to make sure the flour is cooked and there's a good meaty richness to it. I made my first actual CFS a couple of weeks ago, having found two nice cube steaks in Ralphs' "used meat department", as I like to call the specials, for $1.87. And the now-veggie Mrs. O was out of town. I used a recipe that was really too fussy, but it was fine anyway, both for supper with potatoes and green beans, and breakfast with eggs, fried (leftover) potatoes and toast. Yum yum.

                3. One of the most American meals out of my German/Dutch mother was cube steaks seared and then tossed in a crock pot with Campbells cream of mushroom soup and onions. We never ate what I thought were cool casseroles like my friends... This was as close as she got and i still crave it and make it from time to time. Served with boiled potatoes!