By Mark Kenyon
The last time I had my deer processed by the local meat market, I mistakenly answered yes to the question of whether or not I wanted “round steak”. And when I returned home several days later with my bags of venison, I realized my mistake, as I pulled out package after package of this strange, striated meat.
Round steak, or cube steak as it’s sometimes referred, is a piece of steak that is tenderized by fierce pounding with a meat tenderizer, and this gives the meat an almost burger like look – given the deep cut lines in each piece. This wasn’t what I had wanted, and I wasn’t sure how to make the best of it. But since then I’ve hard at work trying to find recipes that could make this meat into a meal. Last night, finally, I hit the jackpot. The creme de le creme. The venison cube steak recipe of all cube steak recipes.
May I personally introduce you to my finger lickin good, country fried venison steak sandwich recipe!
Imagine bite size pieces of extra tender venison stacked on a crispy ciabatta bread bun. Each bite of venison has a subtle crunchy breaded crust on the outside, but a splash of meaty tenderness on the inside. The aroma of black pepper, butter and fresh meat seduces your senses and all that’s wrong in the world fades away.
Yes, it’s that good!
That said, here’s my recipe. To give credit where it’s due, I got the original fried round steak recipe from The Pioneer Woman, and I then modified it to make a sandwich.
1 cup flour
1 tbsp seasoned salt
ground black pepper (lots)
venison cube steaks
2 tbsp butter
salt & pepper
1. You’ll begin this meal by cutting your cube steaks in small cubes, about 1 inch by 1 inch. Removing any fat or silver skin along the way.
2. Next you’ll combine a cup of flour, your seasoned salt, and a large amount of black pepper in a gallon size ziploc bag. If you don’t have a bag, a large bowl will suffice.
3. Now lightly salt and pepper your venison cubes and throw them into the bag or bowl of flour. Stir up the cubes in the flour for a long enough time to completely coat all the venison with a consistent layer of flour.
4. Now add more ground black pepper, you want to be able to clearly see the black specks in the flour mixture. This flavor is key to the dish, so don’t be afraid about going overboard. Shake up the cubes one more time so the pepper mixess in evenly and you’re ready to go.
5. Now put a large pan on the stove, pour in enough vegetable or canola oil to coat the bottom, and turn up the heat. Get that oil really nice and hot and then drop in a couple tbsps of butter.
6. Once the butter is melted, drop your venison cubes into the hot oil, take caring to make sure each cube is lying flat on it’s side.
7. Let the cubes cook for about 1-2 minutes, occasionally checking the bottom side. When you see a golden brown crust forming on the bottom, it’s time to flip your cubes.
8. Flip all the cubes over as best you can, and then let these cook another 1-2 minutes. Again, watch for the golden brown crust to form. Once you see this, check one piece of meat to make sure it’s done to your preference. For me, I like a golden brown crust on the outside, but still a little red on the inside. This will ensure a super juicy burst of venison every time you take a bite.
9. While the venison is finishing up being cooked, pull out as many ciabata bread rolls as you’d like and coat each piece with a nice layer of butter. Turn the broiler on your oven on, and then set each slice of ciabata bread on the oven grate, for as long as it takes for the inside face of the ciabata bread to get just a bit crunchy and slightly golden.
10. Now pull the bread out, place it on your plate, and spoon out some of the venison cubes onto your sandwich. A heaping portion is best.
11. And that’s it – a finger lickin’ good, country fried venison steak sandwich that has a perfect combination of crunchiness and tenderness, flavor and texture. Enjoy!