Tube steak is either a humorous slang for a Hot Dog, or a vulgar slang for a penis.
Men, particularly dads, often take pride in tossing a juicy steak on the good ol’ BBQ, grilling it till it reaches the perfect medium rare.
However, sometimes that steak is just not available, or you simply don’t have time to grill a tender, marinated steak.
That’s when you pull out the “tube steaks” instead (in this context: hot dogs).
But of course, you don’t want to be admitting to all the other grilling dads that all you managed to grill was some sloppy hot dogs, so you give them a fancy name instead. Of course, one that includes the word “steak”.
It’s vulgar meaning, penis, was obviously derived from the similarity in shape of a hot dog and a man’s genitals.
Origin of the term
The slang was a fun, rhyming variation of the already existing “cube steak”, which is a cut of a real beef steak, tenderized and pounded.
Using the term as a slang for penis evolved in prison and military environments, along with numerous other similar metaphors, often including different types of meats.
Spread of the term
In the 1987 movie Full Metal Jacket, a character says the line ‘I wanna stick my tube steak into your sister. What’ll you take in trade?’, where the “tube steak” refers to his penis, and “sister” refers to the other persons lubed-up armpit.
Both the culinary and the vulgar version of the slang are used mainly in the US and Canada.