Perfectly tender steak bites can be quickly seared in a skillet or grill for an effortless dinner that is ready in minutes.
Do you remember those choose your own adventure books you read as a kid? This recipe is a lot like that. I am going to give you all of the tools, knowledge, and flavorful options you need to make your own perfectly cooked steak bites, your way. Don't worry, it is a lot easier than it sounds.
Steak bites or steak tips.. the phrasing is often used interchangeably. However, they are sometimes the same thing, but sometimes they are not.
Steak bites refer to tender cubes of steak that your butcher has left over after trimming a side of beef. These are occasionally generically labeled as steak tips, although in other regions of the country steak tips take on a completely different meaning. If the packaging doesn't list the cuts of beef included in the packaging, be sure to ask your butcher. You don't want to accidentally purchase cubed stew meat instead, which requires a slow & low cooking session to properly tenderize.
As a general rule, if your raw steak tips cost similar to sirloin steaks, they are probably fairly tender cuts of beef. If they are cheaper, like a chuck roast, they are probably tough cubes of beef better left for stews.
How to Make Steak Bites
If you are completely confused and overwhelmed at this point, or can't find steak bites at your local grocer, let me make it easy for you: Buy a sirloin steak and cut it into bite sized cubes.
Unlike fattier cuts of steak, sirloin has a rather consistent texture across the whole steak, which makes it ideal for cubing. This ensures each bite is going to have consistent tenderness and texture. There won't be any excessively chewy bites of fat to work around.
How to Cook Steak Bites
Steak bites are one of the easiest meals you will cook. They are quickly seared on high heat to form a flavorful crust on the exterior while keeping the inside pink for tenderness. If you like well-done steak, you can cook them completely through.
If cooking in a skillet, I like to add 1-2 tablespoons of oil to help crisp the exterior of the steak. It gives you a better final texture. Once the bottom of the bites are sufficiently seared, flip and sear the other side as well. Aim for searing 2 sides, searing all 4 sides will typically overcook the meat.
Grilled Steak Bites
Steak bites can just as easily be grilled over charcoal or on a propane grill. Grilled steak bites have a lot more flavor too!
If cooking over a propane grill, you will want to oil the grates to prevent sticking and place the burners on high. Cook quickly for a minute or two and flip.
The process is the same for charcoal. Place the steak bites on the grate directly over hot charcoals. Using hard lump charcoal (affiliate link) is great for this recipe because it burns hotter than briquettes, giving you a quicker sear. I typically pile my coals on just one side of the grill. This gives me a hotter cooking area to work with, since the coals pile up closer to the grate.
Marinated Steak Bites
My favorite way to flavor steak bites is to marinate them. My grilled steak marinade is typically my go-to recipe for any steak. However, I also make a boozier version with my whiskey steak marinade. If you want to save some effort, there is no reason why you cannot use a store-brand marinade instead.
I typically marinate steak for 2-8 hours. Despite popular belief, marinating meat does not "soak" into the meat. It primarily flavors the surface. However, the vinegar in marinades can soften the exterior if left marinating too long, giving it a mushy texture. This is why I typically avoid marinating overnight.
In lieu of using a marinade, you can use steak seasoning instead. Once again, you can use my steak seasoning rub recipe, or purchase your favorite steak rub from the store. If you have time, the rub can be applied a few hours prior to cooking, similar to a marinade.
- 1 1/2 pounds steak bites (or cubed sirloin steak)
- salt & pepper
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 Steak Marinade (or steak seasoning rub)
- Season steak bites with salt and pepper then place in a gallon storage bag with the marinade. Marinate for 2-8 hours in the refrigerator.
- Heat a large skillet over high heat and add oil. Once shimmering add the steak bites. Sear until a brown crust forms, then flip and sear other side. Approximately 1-2 minutes per side. (cook longer if you want the meat to be well done)
- Remove from skillet and let rest for a 2 minutes and serve.
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