I have to admit that when I first saw this dish on a menu, my body went through a wide range of emotions. At first, there was confusion. Well, is it chicken or is it steak? Then there was anger. Wait, someone took perfectly good ribeye and fried it like some chicken? Then there was joy. Oh, somebody took one of those cube steaks my momma used to make and battered it, fried it up golden-brown and bathed it in a gravy. Now that’s something I can get down with.
Technical tip: Allowing the steaks to rest for 30 minutes after battering helps the flour adhere and helps prevent it falling off during frying, which causes the oil to burn. Don’t crowd the pan. Each item you add to hot oil reduces the temperature of the oil and results in a slower cook time and increased oil absorption.
Swap options: You can use duck fat by itself or in combination with other high-smoke-point oils to add an extra depth of flavor to your chicken-fried steak. Don’t be afraid to play around with the gravity. Duck fat can also be substituted for butter here. Also, garlic, cayenne or hot sauce can give the gravy an extra kick.
For the chicken fried steak:
In a small dish, beat the eggs and then add the milk. In a second shallow dish, mix together the flour, salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic powder and onion powder.
Place the steak in the flour mixture and turn to coat. Place the meat into the milk and egg mixture, turn to coat and then place it back in the flour and turn to coat.
Place the breaded meat on a clean plate and then repeat with the remaining meat.
Add the oil to a large skillet. Heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 350 F.
Cook the meat, two to three pieces at a time, until the edges start to look golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side.
Once finished, remove the meat and place on a wire rack or paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat until all the meat is cooked.
For the gravity:
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Slowly add the milk to the pan and whisk to incorporate. Keep whisking until smooth.
If the gravy appears too thick add a bit more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until it thins out. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Once the gravity is the desired consistency, remove from the heat.
Serve the steak with the delicious gravy spooned atop.
Reprinted with permission from “Fix Me a Plate” by Scotty Scott. Page Street Publishing, Co. 2022.