I never ate chicken-fried steak growing up. I don’t know if we inherit tastes or not. But I do like Southern food and my paternal grandpa was born in Tennessee, then lived in Oklahoma for a while. My dad tells me his dad could pick out a perfect watermelon in the grocery store, but only if he closed his eyes and tapped it. He was used to picking them out of the fields at night by sound alone…
I’ve played around with a few different recipes for chicken-fried steak over the years. It’s not like I make it all that often! I use cubed steak, dredged in flour and egg and breadcrumbs, then fried in a bit of oil. Take the meat out when it’s done and make cream gravy (well milk gravy but they call it cream gravy!) in the drippings. Season it with just salt and pepper and you’ll have a good dinner right there with mashed potatoes and something green.
Extra Spicy Chicken-Fried Steak
If you like spicy, try out this variation. I saw the spice combination in The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science. I didn’t like the look of the rest of the recipe so I lifted the spice combination from here, but stuck to more traditional preparation methods and more traditional meat. Because I was going for spicy I mixed some of the spicy mixture into the flour I used to make the gravy. You could skip that step if you don’t want spicy gravy! Just use flour seasoned with salt and pepper and maybe a pinch of cayenne.
Leftovers are great the next day for lunch, if there are any.
Chicken Fried Steak
For the Steaks
- 2 Tablespoons paprika
- 2 Tablespoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 pound cube steaks
- 1/2 cup buttermilk or milk
- 2 eggs
- vegetable oil for frying
for the Cream Gravy
- 2 Tablespoons pan drippings
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 1 Tablespoon spice mixture above
- 1 1/2 cups of whole milk
- salt to taste
- In a small bowl, mix the paprika, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and cayenne pepper.
- In a large dish that can hold the meat, mix together the eggs and buttermilk or milk and a spoonful of the spice mixture. Put the cubed steaks in to soak a bit.
- In a shallow pan, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour and the rest of the spice mixture.
- Heat 1/2 of oil in a large skillet. You want it about 300F. If you drop a pinch of flour in it should sizzle a bit.
- When you’re ready to start cooking, take a steak from the egg mixture and let the excess drip off, then press it into the seasoned flour, pressing down so it adheres on both sides. If you want an extra crispy steak, dip it back into the egg and then back into the flour again.
- Cook the steaks in the oil about 4 minutes, then carefully flip over and cook another 4-5 minutes, until done. Drain on paper towels. while you make the gravy.
- Pour all but 2 Tablespoons of the oil into a glass jar or other heat proof container to cool and turn the heat down a bit.
- Stir in the seasoned flour and cook, stirring constantly, a couple of minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook stirring until the gravy has thickened. If it gets too thick, add a bit more milk or water. Taste and add salt if needed.
- Serve the gravy with the steak.