By Dr. Becker
Most pets will salivate at the site of a beef cubed steak, especially one that’s meant just for them. If you want to pamper your pooch or your kitty with a special treat that’s deceptively simple to make (just two ingredients!), cube steak biscotti is it.
What I like best about this treat is what it doesn’t contain. You’ll find no fillers, no unnecessary grains and starches, no byproducts, no preservatives and no artificial anything… just real meat and marjoram – a perennial herb similar to oregano but with a slightly sweeter flavor.
Cube Steak Biscotti Recipe
- One cube steak, sliced into strips
- Three springs fresh marjoram or rosemary (pictured)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Grease a slotted pizza pan
- Press fresh herb leaves into cubed steak strips
- Bake for 20 minutes
- Flip over and bake another 15 to 20 minutes until crispy
- Let cool thoroughly
- Store in airtight container in the freezer for up to three months
The Benefits of Feeding Your Pets Grass-Fed Organic Beef
Beef, especially when it’s grass-fed and organic, is an ideal treat for dogs and cats, providing a high-quality source of species-appropriate protein and fats. It's important to recognize that while the USDA 100% Organic label is good, it's not necessarily a guarantee that the meat has been grass-fed and finished (rather it’s an indication the meat is free of synthetic pesticides and hormones).
The latter, grass-fed, is likely even more important than organic, however, because when cows are raised on their natural diet of grass it changes the nutritional content of the meat considerably. A joint effort between the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Clemson University researchers determined a total of 10 key areas where grass-fed beef is better than grain-fed beef. Grass-fed beef was determined to be:1
Lower in total fat Higher in beta-carotene Higher in vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) Higher in the B vitamins thiamin and riboflavin Higher in the minerals calcium, magnesium and potassium Higher in total omega-3s A healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (1.65 vs 4.84) Higher in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a potential cancer fighter Higher in vaccenic acid (which can be transformed into CLA)
If you’re worried about the cost of grass-fed beef, cube steak tends to be a more economical choice. Since it’s a tougher cut of meat, the steak is cubed, or tenderized, to make it more palatable, and when prepared correctly it’s excellent. You may even remember eating cube steak yourself as a kid (it’s a popular type of meat for making Swiss steak, Salisbury steak and chicken-fried steak).
Marjoram or Rosemary: Why it’s a Perfect Addition to Pet Treats
Marjoram is closely related to oregano and shares many of the same health benefits for your pet. When choosing marjoram, look for “sweet marjoram,” as “wild marjoram” is often oregano.
True marjoram has a milder, sweeter flavor than oregano and is packed with antioxidants and vitamins. Marjoram is an anti-inflammatory herb, making it useful for lowering the risk of chronic diseases.
It’s also beneficial for heart health, helping to lower blood pressure, and improve circulation, and is said to have digestive benefits, including improving digestive efficiency by increasing digestive enzymes and saliva.2
Also to marjoram’s credit are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties, and it even has mild sedative properties, which is why it’s sometimes recommended to help relieve stress and anxiety.
Not to mention, many pets enjoy the flavor of marjoram, and the extra “dose” of vitamins (including vitamins A, C, and K), minerals (iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, and zinc), and antioxidants (beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, lutein, and more) are just the icing on the proverbial cake.
Fresh rosemary is also an excellent option to use in these homemade treats (as pictured). Unfortunately, rosemary has come under undo fire in the last 15 years since it’s been a common addition to pet foods as a natural preservative. Human literature states people with epilepsy should avoid high levels of rosemary oil, and this has translated into pet parents assuming this amazing herb causes seizures, which is absolutely does not.
Not only is there no reason to fear giving this medicinal herb to your pets, it’s a wonderful all-natural source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B6, which is critical for healthy neurologic wellbeing.
Really, very few store-bought treats can compare to the nutrition and flavor found in homemade pet treats. Your pets will certainly adore you for making them, and they make thoughtful gifts for your pet-loving friends and family too.
Looking for more homemade pet treat recipes? Check out my free e-cookbook, Homemade Treats for Healthy Pets: Nutritious Recipes for Your Cats and Dogs. This e-book is filled with homemade dog and cat food ideas, which are personally formulated by my mom and me, and that I’m sure your pets will love. Over 20 species-appropriate recipes – crunchy morsels, savory treats, and even pet-friendly desserts – are included for your cats and dogs.