Pork cube steaks answer the call of "What's for dinner?" when you haven't got much time and have to keep your grocery budget in mind. The steaks are made from relatively inexpensive cuts of pork. However, pork cube steaks don't require long, slow cooking in the oven because they are mechanically tenderized. Baking the pork cube steaks is less messy than pan frying but it takes a bit longer.
Take a few minutes to get the basics in place for trouble-free baked pork cube steak. Season the pork steaks with salt and pepper on both sides. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray the roasting pan with cooking oil to prevent sticking. Bake for about 30 minutes. Pork cube steaks are thin, so it's difficult to insert a meat thermometer into the meat to make sure it's done. If the pork cube steak is thick enough and the thermometer is thin enough, insert one sideways into the steak. It should read 165 F. If that's not possible, cut the steak. The juices should run clear or golden brown not pink or red.
Breading the pork cube steaks adds crunch to the outside and keeps the inside moist. The challenge is keeping the breading attached to the cube steak and not the baking pan. Dip the pork cube steaks in buttermilk and then into breadcrumbs to keep the crumbs on the steak. Alternatively, brush the cube steaks with mustard instead of dipping in buttermilk. If you don't have breadcrumbs, use crushed crackers, potato chips or cornmeal.
Sauce It Up
A sauce keeps the pork cube steaks moist as they bake. Marinate the cube steaks for 2 or 3 hours in your choice of wine, broth, beer, apple cider or orange juice. Add herbs such as thyme, oregano or tarragon. Before you bake the pork cube steaks, whisk in a thickening agent such flour, cornstarch or tapioca flour into the marinade.
Substitute the pork cube steak for the chicken in recipes for condensed soup casseroles. Brown the steak first for color and to amp up the flavor. Select from cream of mushroom, celery or tomato soups. Add one can full of raw rice and a can of water along with the can of soup to the baking pan. Place the pork cube steaks in the mixture. Bake for 45 minutes. Potatoes are another option. Dice and add only the soup -- not the extra can of water. Add vegetables to make this a one-pan dinner. Toss in a bag of frozen vegetables such as peas, lima beans or string beans.
- The Joy of Cooking; Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker
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