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Can you make jerky from cube steak? (Explained)

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Can You Make Jerky From Cube Steak?

Cube steak is a low-cost piece of top round or top sirloin that’s mechanically tenderized to create a telltale square pattern on the surface of the meat. It’s relatively easy to use it for beef jerky so long as you keep a few simple things in mind. 

The deeper recesses on the surface of the cube steak can easily trap excess marinade. These little pockets of moisture will inevitably take longer to dry in the dehydrator. 

Excess marinade can have high levels of salt. So, you might want to back off on the sodium content of your marinade a little to keep the final jerky from being unpleasantly salty.  

From there it’s just a matter of cutting the cube steak into strips and letting it soak for 6 to 8 hours in your flavorful marinade. You can lightly pat the surface moisture and give it a little extra time in the dehydrator. 

If you want to work in large batches and you can store it in a vacuum-sealed container, you might get two to three months of shelf life out of cube steak jerky. Otherwise, you can expect it to last around two to three weeks in a simple zip-top bag.  

What Is Cube Steak?

Cube steak is usually made from cuts taken from the top sirloin or top round, which are tough cuts that are popular for homemade beef jerky. These cuts are then mechanically tenderized to break up the meat fibers, which makes the cube steak more tender, and creates a series of square patterns on the surface of the meat. 

Should You Make Jerky from Cube Steak?

Cube steak is one of the cheaper cuts of beef you’ll find in a grocery store that is still good for making beef jerky. Though the deeper recesses of the textured areas can hold excess marinade, which means cube steak needs a little more time to fully dry into jerky. 

While it’s not my top favorite choice for homemade beef jerky, I find cube steak to be the perfect meeting of value and quality. You just have to cut it into thin slices and make sure to give it a little extra time in the dehydrator for the marinade to completely dry in the textures of the meat. 

How Do You Make Jerky from Cube Steak

Making beef jerky from cube steak is relatively easy when you work with two-pound batches. Just be prepared to give the process a little extra time to let the excess marinade in the deeper recesses of the meat dry fully. 

You can then use the following ingredients and steps to make cube steak beef jerky. 


2 lbs. of cube steak

½ C Worcestershire sauce

½ C soy sauce

½ t Kosher salt 

2 T honey

2 t ground black pepper

1 t liquid smoke

1 T granulated garlic

1 T onion powder

1 t red pepper flakes (Optional)

2 t fresh ground ginger (Optional)

Step One: Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap and lightly spray with water.

Step Two: Lay the cube steaks on the plastic wrap with 2 to 3 inches between each steal. Then lightly spray with water before covering with another sheet of plastic wrap.

Step Three: Use a flat meat mallet to lightly pound the cube steaks into paillards. This should expand the horizontal surface area by 15 to 20% and further tenderizes larger meat fibers. 

Step Four: Carefully slice the cube steak into half-inch wide strips. 

Step Five: Combine all the marinade seasonings in a stainless steel mixing bowl, and stir to combine. Then pour into a 1-gallon zip-top plastic bag.  

Step Six: Add the strips of cube steak to the marinade mixture and gently massage to ensure total coverage. Then place in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours or overnight. 

Step Seven: Remove the strips of marinated meat from the bag and lightly pat them dry with a clean paper towel to remove any excess marinade. 

Step Eight: Place the strips of marinated cube steak into your food dehydrator and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Be prepared for the strips to take 10 to 20% longer to fully dry the marinade in the deep textures of the meat strips. 

Step Nine: Test the cube steak beef jerky for even dryness. Then remove and store in an airtight container. 

How Long Does Jerky from Cube Steak Last

If you store it in an airtight container that lets you draw the air out with a vacuum pump, you can expect the jerky to last up to two to three months. Otherwise, in a sealed zip-top bag, you can expect it to last around two to three weeks. 

Though if you’re like me, it won’t make it that long anyway! 

Final Thoughts

While it’s not my favorite cut of meat for homemade beef jerky, I appreciate the value and basic simplicity of cube steak. It’s a low-cost piece of beef taken from either the top round or top sirloin primal before being mechanically tenderized.

The square pattern on the surface of the meat also creates deep recesses that can hold onto the residual moisture of the marinade. The drawback here is that generally takes longer to fully dry into jerky in the dehydrator. 

You might also want to back off a little in the sodium level of your marinade to keep these pockets from making the final jerky taste too salty.   

After a good 6-to-8-hour soak in a flavorful marinade, you can lightly pat away the surface moisture with a paper towel. Follow your dehydrator’s instruction to let it dry into jerky but be prepared to let it dry for an extra hour or two to get all the moisture of the marinade fully dry. In the crevices of the cube steak.  

When stored in vacuum sealed container, you can usually two to three months of long-term storage out of cube steak beef jerky. Though I find it hard to resist, to the point where it will barely make it two to three weeks in a zip top plastic bag!