Minute steak is a thinly cut and pounded piece of beef, usually cut from the sirloin or round steak. Minute steaks are thin and cook very quickly, giving them their name. Because of their quick cooking times, minute steaks are the perfect answer to the meal-time question for the busy cook. Lower in cost than many other cuts of beef, minute steaks are favored by cooks on a budget.
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While cube steak is sometimes referred to as minute steak, the minute steak is actually a different cut of beef. Cube steak is cut from the round steak or chuck steak and then tenderized, giving it the cubed distinction. Cubed steak does cook quickly, but a true minute steak is different.
Minute steak is thinly cut from the sirloin or round steak and pounded very thin. The resulting steak is less than 1/4-inch thick and is tender from the pounding. It can be quickly cooked and will be fork tender when properly prepared.
Minute steak is prepared either by the butcher or at home by slicing the beef approximately 1/4-inch thick. Then the meat is dampened and pounded with a kitchen mallet. The pounding process can be accomplished very quickly by placing the dampened meat between two pieces of plastic wrap and hitting the meat with the mallet at a slight angle so that the mallet hits the meat and slides off to the edge of the meat. This method will quickly tenderize the meat and reduce the thickness by approximately half.
Once pounded, the meat is usually lightly seasoned and pan fried quickly in a small amount of oil, turning only once to brown both sides. The cooked meat can be topped with any number of sauces or flavorings.
The main advantage of minute steak is its quick cooking time. The process of pounding the meat also tenderizes it so that less tender cuts will turn out well. The combination of pounding and quick cooking time helps the meat to retain its juices, resulting in a moist and flavorful steak.
Since minute steak is pounded tender, inexpensive cuts of meat can be used. Additionally, because the meat is pounded thin, less meat is used per serving. These two considerations make minute steak an inexpensive meal for the budget-conscious cook.