In Texas, it is hard to think of any other dish more iconic than Chicken Fried Steak. It’s not chicken, and it doesn’t really taste like steak, but it is battered, and fried, and incredibly delicious!
We call it “chicken fried” because it is fried like Southern fried chicken – crispy, crunchy filets of beef, served with cream gravy, and usually mashed potatoes. The beef filets are tenderized with a tenderizing mallet. As I grew up on grass fed ranch beef, we always had that tenderizing mallet ready for use!
Chicken Fried Steak is a Texas Classic
As a kid, this was our go to favorite meal. I have to admit, these days with our kids gone, we don’t seem to make it as often as we used to. But when they are home, it’s hammer time! We also use this same recipe for making chicken fried venison during hunting season. Tenderizing before frying is even more important when cooking venison.
One of my worst habits when I make chicken fried steak is trying to use my fingers to dredge the steaks in the flour. A really bad idea. Your fingers get thickly coated with the batter ingredients, and you have to keep washing your hands between steaks. Use a fork, always. It feels a little clumsy, but in the long run it will save you from getting batter all over your kitchen.
Practice Makes Perfect Chicken Fried Steak
Whether you purchase thick or thin round steak for your chicken fried steak is up to you, or what you can find. Thinner isn’t necessarily better, but it will cook faster. Thicker takes longer to cook, but they don’t dry out as quickly. Don’t worry if you think the meat will turn out too rare. As long as the outer coating is golden brown, the inside will be well cooked. But don’t over cook, as the steaks will become tough. However, once you cook your first chicken fried steak, you will get the hang of it.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 6 minutes
- Total Time: 26 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Frying
- Cuisine: US Southern
1 cup flour (125g)
2 tsp. salt (8g)
1 tbsp. ground black pepper (6g)
2 tbsp. cornstarch (14g)
¾ cup milk (180ml)
1 lb. boneless beef round steak (500g), ½” thick (1cm)
2 cups vegetable oil for frying (480ml)
2 tbsp. flour (16g)
2 cups milk (480ml)
Salt to taste
Use two glass shallow pie plates for coating and dredging the steaks. In one pie plate, mix together the flour, salt, black pepper, and cornstarch. In the other pie plate, use a fork to whip together the egg and milk. Set aside.
Using a tenderizing hammer, pound the beef steaks until they are well scored. Cut each steak into 2oz – 4oz portions. Pass the steaks first through the flour, then the egg wash, and then back through the flour. Hold the steaks on a wire rack or plate lined with waxed paper until all of the steaks are coated.
Pour the vegetable oil into a 10” (25cm) skillet and heat until the vegetable oil is 350°F (176°C). Carefully place each steak in the vegetable oil. You may need to cook in batches. Fry until golden brown, about 2-5 minutes on each side. The length of frying time will depend on the thickness of the steak. Thicker steaks will take a little longer, but don’t overcook as those will be tough. Once the steaks are golden brown, remove to a heat proof pan lined with paper toweling. Keep the steaks warm in an oven heated to 200°F (93°C)
Make the gravy once all the steaks are cooked. Allow the hot cooking oil to cool slightly, and then pour off approximately all but 1/3 cup of the remaining cooking oil. Add any of the remaining dredging flour, and plus the 2 tbsp. flour as listed in the ingredients. Stir to combine cooking oil with the flour and the remaining coatings bits left in the pan. Turn the heat on low so the mixture begins to bubble. Add the milk to the simmering pan and stir the gravy over medium low heat so that it bubbles and reduces, about 3-4 minutes.