A round steak is taken from the cow's hindquarters and is tougher than other cuts, because it is composed of less fat and more muscle. What is known as cubed steak is round steak put through a tenderizing machine that breaks down the muscle and redistributes what little fat there is. Cubed steak is characterized by a soft moist pliable texture and hundreds of tiny holes across its surfaces, and is considered to be at a midway point between a whole cut of meat and ground beef. You can make Salisbury steak with cubed steak by making a few adjustments in the process and ingredients.
Place flour, salt and pepper on a large sheet of waxed paper and blend thoroughly. Use a fork to dredge or coat the steaks in the flour mixture on both sides.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking, and fry the dredged steaks until lightly browned, which takes 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the steaks and repeat the process on the other side. Remove steaks to a platter or a clean sheet of waxed paper and set aside, but leave the skillet on the stove over medium heat.
Slice the onions thinly and add to the skillet, distributing them evenly across the bottom. Add a little more oil if the skillet seems too dry. Cook and stir the onions, scraping up the browned flour bits from the bottom, until the onions are softened and lightly browned.
Sprinkle the onions with flour and continue cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes until the flour starts to coat the onions. Pour in the beef stock slowly, stirring constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken. Add the Worcestershire sauce, along with any other seasonings of your choice, and adjust the salt and pepper.
Return the cooked steaks to the pan and combine them with the gravy and onions. Bring the mixture to a gentle bubble and cook until steaks are heated through to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit, using the meat thermometer to accurately gauge the temperature.
If adding minced garlic or sliced mushrooms to the sauce, start by sautéing the onions until just tender, as mushrooms take less time to cook, and add the garlic last, as it burns quickly. Proceed with the recipe from there.
Salisbury steak is traditionally served with or over hot mashed potatoes, but is also delicious on thick slices of toasted bread, cooked white rice or noodles.
On busy days, you can prepare a shortcut version of Salisbury steak by omitting the flour dredging step and adding canned beef gravy when the onions are cooked and before returning the steaks to the pan. Just pour off most of the fat before cooking the onions, as the beef gravy makes up for the loss of flavor. You can also use canned onion gravy if you need to omit slicing and sautéing onions. Just add to the pan once the steaks are cooked and heated through.