The Secret to Perfect Chicken Fried Steak

That southern country wonder: Chicken Fried Steak. It is the best meal you ever cooked or the worst frustration you ever encountered. Have you ever tried to make a perfectly breaded chicken fried steak only to have all of the breading to slip off in the frying pan?

How about yucky clumpy gravy? Yeah,I’ve done it too, but not anymore because I’m sharing The Secret to Perfect Chicken Fried Steak. 

Let’s take a minute and talk about what makes chicken fried steak perfect anyway?

  • A crispy breading?
  • Lots of flavor when you crunch into the meat?
  • A tasty gravy?
  • All of the above?

Can I get an AMEN?

I thought so.

WHAT IS CHICKEN FRIED STEAK?

Chicken Fried steak is simply a beef cube steak that is breaded and fried like a piece of fried chicken. Cube steak is a cut of beef that is naturally pretty tough.

You will see that it has been run through the tenderizer (a machine that makes small cuts all over) at the grocery store.

These cuts help the breading to stay on, but you will need the rest of the SECRET to have the perfect Chicken Fried Steak.

CAN CHICKEN FRIED STEAK BE A LITTLE PINK?

Yes, chicken fried steak is beef and it is ok if it is a little pink in the middle. However, if you follow my recipe, this shouldn’t be a problem.

HOW DO I MAKE CHICKEN FRIED STEAK TENDER?

Start with a pretenderized beef cube steak. The steak will look like it has been in a losing knife fight.

If your beef cube steak is thicker than 1/2 an inch, then use a meat tenderizing pounder to pound it out to 1/2 an inch.

IS CHICKEN FRIED STEAK SCHNITZEL?

Chicken fried steak is similar but it is not a schnitzel. Schnitzel is an Austrian dish made of veal or pork. This Chicken fried steak is made out of a beef cube steak.

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HOW DO I MAKE CHICKEN FRIED STEAK WITH GRAVY?

OH the GRAVY is the best part, isn’t it!?! Simply follow the instructions in the recipe card at the end of this post for the best gravy you ever put your tongue on.

You will use the drippings from the chicken fried steak and add flour, milk, salt and pepper and you will be in business in no time! See the photo?

WHAT’S THE SECRET?

Should it really be a secret? I mean, come on, we have eaten delicious chicken fried steak our whole lives, right?

Our Chicken Fried steak hasn’t been prepared by a secret chef behind xray proof walls. We simply waited for some delicious southern yum to jump in our mouths after mom said, “Dinner is ready!”. I mean, am I right? Yeah, I know it.

This time though, we are paying attention!

THE BREADING IS THE SECRET TO PERFECT CHICKEN FRIED STEAK

We WANT a crispy breading, right?

To achieve that we need:

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  1. The right pan for the job
  2. A proper amount of oil in the pan
  3. Cooking oil at the right temperature
  4. The meat must be dried off very well
  5. A three stage breading process
  6. Warm oven
  7. Paper towel covered pan in the oven for the pieces that are finished

THE RIGHT PAN FOR THE JOB

You will need a good heavy pan for this job . A cast iron 9” skillet is ideal but a good quality heavy stainless steel pan will also work.

YOU WILL NEED OIL IN THE PAN 

Pour enough oil in the pan so that the oil is at least ¼ of an inch deep and not much more than that.

OIL TEMPERATURE  

If you have a thermometer, DON’T use it. You probably won’t be able to get a good reading in ¼ inch of oil.

 Instead, put the oil in and place your burner on medium. Watch for the oil to start to glisten and shimmer on the surface.

You DO NOT want the oil smoking. Just glistening.

Dip your fingers in some water and flick some into the pan and then listen. If the oil pops and cracks with some energy  then it is ready.

If the popping is slow then let it heat more. DO NOT try to cook your steaks until the oil is popping and cracking hot.

If it is SO HOT that it is sputtering out on you when you do this then it is TOO hot!

DRY MEAT – THE SECRET TO PERFECT CHICKEN FRIED STEAK

Wet meat will not hold the breading. The breading slides right off because the meat will begin to steam as it cooks (because what does water turn into when it heats? Steam!!)  

So, before you attempt to make this dish, remove the meat from the package and place on several layers of paper towel.

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Use several layers of paper towel to dry the surface as well . I smash it a little as I dry it to squeeze any extra water out of the meat.

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Then apply the Kosher salt to both sides and let it set for about 5 minutes or more and then dry it again with fresh paper towel.

THE BREADING PROCESS – THE SECRET TO PERFECT CHICKEN FRIED STEAK

Go ahead and admit it – this is going to make some dirty dishes and there isn’t really a way around it. You could do the flour breading on a paper plate – but that increases your trash pile instead.

Make sure that the dishes for breading are large enough for the meat pieces and so that you can move the meat around some to make sure it is completely covered in flour.

You will be making THREE breading plates

  • Plate number one will contain plain flour – nothing else.
  • The second will contain an egg/milk mixture
  • A third plate will contain flour, corn meal and seasonings.

Do things in THAT specific order. It is important to NOT bread your meat until you are ready to put it in the hot oil.

So , if you can , have the breading station NEAR to the stove. (Just trying to help you avoid a mess).

DO NOT OVERCROWD THE COOKING PAN – THE SECRET TO PERFECT CHICKEN FRIED STEAK

One of the most important secrets when cooking your steak is to NOT overcrowd the pan. You never want to have more than 2 steaks in the pan at the same time.

Never have more than 70% of the bottom of the pan covered with steak.

If you have more than that – the steaks will simply steam each other – and that will cause the breading to fall off. Avoid steam!

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A WARM OVEN – THE SECRET TO PERFECT CHICKEN FRIED STEAK

Once the first piece of chicken fried steak is cooked, there will be more to cook. You will need a place to keep your first one!

  • Have the oven preheated to the warming setting, if you have that but if not , then the lowest setting at about 175.
  • Place an oven safe plate or a cookie sheet in the oven with a paper towel on it to drain any remaining grease.
  • Gently place the cooked chicken fried steak on the dish and let it rest while you cook the rest  and  add any other completed steaks to the dish  but do not stack them on top of one another.

This allows the steak to rest and keeps the breading crispy until you are ready to eat!

A FLAVORFUL BREADING – THE SECRET TO PERFECT CHICKEN FRIED STEAK

The secret to a flavorful breading is SEASONING. It may seem that I am having you to  LOAD the final breading up with a LOT of seasoning and I am. That is because there is a lot of stuff to overcome before the flavor ever gets on your tastebuds.

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Just add the ingredients and mix it up  and then make that the final dip for your steak before it goes in the oil.

A TASTY GRAVY – THE SECRET TO PERFECT CHICKEN FRIED STEAK

A tasty gravy is had simply by using what you have in front of you! Once you have finished your steaks – you have a pan with some lumpy bumps in the bottom! Those bumps are FULL OF FLAVOR! 

  1. Start by pouring the grease off. Just leave a little in the pan and try not to pour the lumpy bumps out.
  2. Then add the flour to the bumps and cook the flour for about 1- 2 minutes and stir it in the pan – you will feel like a dummy cooking plain ol flour – but trust me – you’ll be glad you did when your gravy doesn’t taste like plain flour!
  3. Cooking the flour for a minute or so – takes that dry flour taste out.
  4. Then, just add the milk and cook per the directions – it will thicken up and be wonderful sweet savory gravy in just a few minutes.

And now you have it – the secrets to the PERFECT chicken fried steak!

  • A perfect crispy  breading
  • The breading is packed with flavor

and

  • A tasty gravy.

What more could you ask for?

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS RECIPE, YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:

The Secret to Perfect Pinto Beans

Southern Mexican Cornbread

Lemon Chess Pie

Old Fashioned Sugar Cream Pie

***This recipe for The Secret to Perfect Chicken Fried Steak was originally published on Loaves and Dishes on July 18, 2017 and has been updated with NEW information!***

VERSE TO SHARE

“Look at everyone you pass on the street and say a blessing to them. Say, in your mind, just to yourself – not out loud –  ‘Hello, God Bless you – whatever you are experiencing – bless you and may God be with you”. That’s what pastor Lisa said in her last sermon to my congregation before she headed off to her new assignment.

Lisa is a known lover of people.

Thanks Pastor Lisa for the time and love you have given Danbury. Peace be with you as you go – and keep on loving.

That lead me to look up some verses on love, and I’m sharing them with you…

  •  A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34.
  • Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:9-10
  • Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4: 8
  • Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples  John 13:35

Source: https://www.loavesanddishes.net/the-secret-to-perfect-chicken-fried-steak/

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About the Author: Thien Bao

Hello, my name is ThienBao. I am a freelance developer specializing in various types of code.