A dish that reminds us of the Southern childhood we never had: an inexpensive cut of beef (usually a variable cut called “cube steak”) tenderized by pounding, which also gives it a hashy, scored surface texture. Breaded with flour and egg and shallow fried in a skillet, this is part one of chicken fried steak. The second part: a rich, simple cream gravy, which, at its most basic, is a flour and pan-dripping roux, thinned with milk and simmered. Here are 7 takes on tradition.
1. Chicken Fried Steak with Cream Gravy
It doesn’t get simpler or more country than this. You start by tenderizing cube steaks by pounding with a mallet, than breading the steaks, pan-frying, and constructing a simple flour-and-milk gravy right in the pan. Get our Chicken Fried Steak with Cream Gravy recipe.
2. Chicken Fried Steak
This is chicken fried steak with all the features turned up. You marinated the steaks in buttermilk with hot sauce, Worcestershire, garlic powder, and cayenne. As for the gravy, it contains shallots, garlic, and beef stock—truly a flavor-packed version of a classic Get Grandbaby Cakes’ Chicken Fried Steak recipe.
3. Chicken Fried Steak Fingers
“Typically,” says blogger Christin Mahrlig, “Chicken Fried Steak is served with a cream gravy and mashed potatoes, but I love making steak fingers and dipping them in a Creole-style mustard sauce. Turning knife and fork comfort foods into finger food is always a good idea in my opinion. That’s fewer dishes to wash.” Get Spicy Southern Kitchen’s Grilled Chicken Fried Steak Fingers recipe.
4. Chicken Fried Steak
Kimchi Mom Amy Kim uses cornflakes in the breading for an extra layer of crunch—buttermilk and paprika contribute more than their fair share of flavor. The gravy gets a rich, luxurious boost from the addition of pork sausage, making this version decidedly Southern. Get Kimchi Mom’s Chicken Fried Steak recipe.
5. Chicken Fried Turkey “Steak”
In this healthy take on the Southern classic, ground turkey is bound with egg yolk, then formed into patties that approximate the texture of pounded, tenderized cube steak. The country gravy has the typical flour thickening, but nonfat milk keeps it lower in calories. Get eatTALK.net’s Chicken Fried Turkey “Steak” recipe.
6. Homemade Steak Biscuits
Thin scraps from ribeye steaks were the inspiration for this country breakfast. You start by baking biscuits. Then you season and bread the meat before frying the pieces in a skillet. Put biscuits and chicken fried steak together, and you’ve got a delicious hand-held meal. Get Nibble Me This’s Homemade Steak Biscuits recipe.
7. Chicken Fried Steak
Yet another classic of a classic: pounded cube steak breaded and fried, wedded to cream gravy. This one has a spicy twist—the addition of Cajun seasoning and lemon pepper (along with other spices) to the comfort-food mix. Get Kitchen Belleicious’s Chicken Fried Steak recipe.