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Chicken fried steak is a family-friendly comfort recipe, which can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Chicken Fried Steak is not made with chicken. It is a steak that is breaded and fried, in a similar fashion to fried chicken. It is a little time-consuming but it’s well worth the effort. If you set up an assembly line and have everything measured and prepped before you start cooking everything will flow quickly and smoothly.
Chicken Fried Steak vs. Country Fried Steak
Many people use the terms interchangeably. Both Chicken fried steak and Country fried steak are made with a tenderized or cubed steak that is fried with a breading on it that resembles fried chicken. Chicken fried steak is typically served with a milk-based gravy (white gravy). Chicken fried steak is usually served crispy with gravy served on top of the steak. Country fried steak typically has a beef-based gravy (brown gravy). Country fried steak is smothered in the gravy which softens the crispy coating. Many food historians believe they are just regional names for the same thing: a breaded, pan-fried steak served with gravy.
What is Cube Steak?
Cube steak is a cut of beef, usually a tougher cut like chuck, shoulder, top or bottom round. It is tenderized by fiercely pounding it with a meat mallet. The name refers to the shape of the indentations left by that process (called “cubing”). You can buy cube steak already pre-tenderized from the grocery store or you can cube or tenderize your own steak.
Preheat oven to 250° F. If the steaks are 1/2 inch or thicker, place each steak between two pieces of plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet, rubber mallet, or rolling pin, to beat the steak until it is very thin, around 1/4 inch. Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel, this will help the coating stick better. Sprinkle each side with your favorite seasoning. I usually use garlic pepper or seasoning salt or you can use salt and pepper.
Prepare two, shallow dishes or bowls, I used pie plates which were the perfect size for my steaks.
In one dish combine: 1-1/4 cups flour, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1 tsp. seasoning salt, 1 tsp. garlic powder and cayenne pepper.
In the other dish whisk together: 2 eggs and 1/2 cup milk.
Dredge the cubed steak in the flour mixture, on both sides. Shake off excess flour.
Then dip the steak into the egg wash, and turn to coat both sides. Return the steak to the flour mixture, re-coat each side with flour, and press the flour into the steak on both sides. Then place the meat on a clean dish while you repeat the breading process with the rest of the meat.
In a large cast-iron or heavy-duty skillet, heat 1/4 inch of your preferred oil over medium heat. I used bacon fat, mmm. Heat the oil to 350°F or when you drop a little flour into it, the oil sizzles. Adjust the heat as necessary.
Fry the steaks one to two at a time, for a nice crispy coating you don’t want them to touch each other in the pan. Use kitchen tongs to carefully check the bottom before flipping. Do not flip the steaks more than once. Wait until they are nice and golden brown before flipping, 2 to 5 minutes per side. Remove the cooked meat to a paper towel-lined baking sheet, one with a rack is preferable.
Once all of the meat has been browned, remove the paper towel from the baking sheet and put the steaks in the preheated 250° oven. Just to keep them warm while you make the gravy.
Pour all the grease from the pan into a heatproof glass jar or cup, then add 1/4 cup of grease back into the skillet. Turn the burner to medium-low heat, and sprinkle 1/4 cup flour over the grease. You can use leftover flour from dredging the steaks in Step 2 if you would like. Whisk oil and flour together for a couple of minutes or until nice and golden brown. Slowly add 2 cups of milk and whisk until it’s combined. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly; cook and stir until thickened, 1-2 minutes.
Add plenty of salt and pepper to the gravy, tasting as you go. If the gravy is too thick for you, add more milk. If it’s too thin, let it cook a little longer.
Serve with your favorite side dishes. The gravy goes great with mashed potatoes.
Chicken Fried Steak
- 4 cube steaks
- garlic pepper, seasoning salt or salt and pepper to taste (to pre-season both sides of the steaks)
- 1¼ cups flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp seasoning salt
- ¼ to ½ tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup milk
- oil for frying Vegetable oil, canola oil, peanut oil, extra virgin olive oil, shortening or bacon fat
- ¼ cup pan drippings, oil from frying
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 cups milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 250°.
- Pound meat to an even thickness, about 1/4 inch thick. Pat the steaks completely dry with a paper towel. Season both sides with your choice of seasoning.
- In a shallow bowl, mix together flour, cornstarch, 1 tsp. seasoning salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.
- In a separate shallow bowl, whisk together 2 eggs and 1/2 cup milk.
- Dredge each steak in the flour mixture, and shake off excess flour. Next place the steak in the egg mixture, turning over to get both sides. Then put it back into the flour mixture. The second time in the flour, press the flour mixture into the steak on both sides.
- In a large cast-iron or heavy-duty skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil over medium heat. Heat the oil to 350°F or when you drop a little flour into the oil it sizzles. Adjust the heat as necessary.
- For best results, fry the steaks one to two at a time, don't allow them to touch each other in the pan. Fry for 2-5 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Use kitchen tongs to carefully check the bottom before flipping. Only turn once during cooking.
- When golden brown remove the steaks and set them on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Once all the steaks are fried, remove the paper towel and transfer the steaks into the preheated 250° oven, to keep them warm while you prepare the gravy.
- Once the steaks are finished cooking remove the pan from the heat and pour the grease into a glass jar or cup. Add about ¼ cup of the grease back to the pan and return it to the burner, turn the temperature to medium and add ¼ cup of flour to the pan.
- Using a whisk, mix the flour with the grease, creating a golden-brown paste or roux. Whisk constantly for at least 1 minute, scraping up all brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Slowly add the milk to the pan, while whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until bubbling and thickened. If the gravy is too thick for you, add more milk. If it's too thin, let it cook a little longer.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- To serve, spoon gravy over the steaks.