Country Fried Steak is a classic southern dish made with tenderized cube steak and paired with thick and flavorful gravy. Also called chicken fried steak, we love to serve this dish with fried eggs and potatoes for a hearty country breakfast.
What is country fried steak?
Country fried steak, also known as chicken fried steak, is a classic Southern dish. This version is made with tenderized cube steak that’s coated in seasoned flour and pan-fried (shallow-fried). Serve it with a side of fried eggs and hash browns for the perfect Southern breakfast.
What is the difference between chicken fried steak and country fried steak?
The deep-fried version of this recipe is sometimes referred to as “chicken-fried steak”, while the pan-fried version is called “country fried steak”. Others say that there is a difference between the types of gravy that are used. However, we tend to use the terms interchangeably. Whether you call it chicken-fried or country fried, we just call it delicious!
What meat is in country fried steak?
When selecting the best meat for country fried steak, the only way to go is cube steak. It’s beef, or more specifically a steak round, that’s been tenderized. Every grocery store will carry cube steak and it’s affordable (around $5 per pound here in Maryland).
Oil: This recipe calls for neutral oil, for example, canola or vegetable. Oil is used for frying and also in the gravy.
Cube Steak: Beefsteak, or cube steak, is just steak that’s been run through a machine that tenderizes the cut. It’s flavorful and inexpensive and makes the best country fried steak.
Worcestershire Sauce: When making this dish, use W sauce to coat the meat before seasoning with salt and pepper. This step adds flavor and helps the seasonings stick better.
Buttermilk: Buttermilk is used in the wet mix (egg wash) because it adds some acidity and helps to tenderize the meat even further.
Milk: Whole milk is also used for the wet mix (egg wash) as well as gravy.
Heavy Cream: Use heavy cream in the gravy to thicken it and to make it extra creamy.
Butter: Butter is a non-negotiable when making gravy! Use unsalted butter, but if you use salted butter be sure to modify the amount of salt you add and adjust to taste accordingly.
Eggs: Two large eggs are used for the egg wash / wet mix.
Flour: Flour is the base for the gravy as well as the breading for the cube steak. All-purpose unbleached flour is our go-to.
Cornstarch: Add a little cornstarch to the dry mix/breading. This is a must-use ingredient because it ensures an extra crispy coating.
Seasonings: This recipe calls for kosher salt, ground black pepper, onion powder, granulated garlic, cayenne, and chipotle chili powder. Feel free to mix and match your favorite seasonings.
Chicken Bouillon: A little bit of this goes a long way when making the delicious velvety, savory gravy.
How to make
First, you will need a cast iron skillet or other heavy-bottomed skillet. Simply heat oil in your skillet over medium to medium-high heat. While the oil is heating, rub the steaks with Worcestershire sauce and season both sides with salt and pepper. Set aside and put together the egg wash / wet mix.
Dip and Dredge
Whisk milk, eggs, and buttermilk in a small dish. In a separate dish, mix flour, cornstarch, onion powder, garlic, seasoned salt, black pepper, cayenne, and chili powder.
Take the cube steak that you seasoned and set aside and dip it in the dry flour mixture; be sure to shake off any excess. Then, coat the floured steaks with the wet mix / egg wash, letting any excess drip off. Place the coated steaks back in the flour mixture and press down to ensure breading is stuck on well.
Set the prepared steaks aside while the oil continues to heats up.
Lay steaks in the heated skillet and flip once you see juices coming to the top of the steak, about 2 to 3 minutes. Continue cooking on the other side for another 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove the cooked steaks from the skillet and set them on a baking rack to allow the oil to drain. Tip: Marrekus will usually put them in the oven on low heat at this point to keep them warm while he makes the gravy and eggs.
Grab the butter and oil and heat them in a medium or large size saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, but be sure to do this in small increments to keep it from clumping up. Continue cooking for about 4 to 5 minutes to deepen the flavor.
Once the gravy roux has reached your desired color, slowly start whisking in the milk, pouring in a little at a time. Then, whisk in the heavy cream once and finally add the bouillon, salt, and pepper. If the gravy is too thick, you can add more milk. Alternatively, if it is too thin, just simmer it a little longer and it will thicken.
Heat a skillet over medium or medium-low heat. Once the skillet is hot, add butter and swirl it around to coat the skillet really well. Crack the egg(s) into the skillet and cook until the whites and yolks reach your desired doneness.
Pulling it all together
Plate the cube steak and smother it in warm gravy. Serve it with a side of fried eggs and enjoy!
What to serve with Country Fried Steak
As the recipe title suggests, one of our favorite ways to serve this dish and gravy is with a side of fried eggs. You can also serve this dish with hash browns or home fries.
For a dinner version of this dish, pair it with mashed potatoes, creamed corn, green beans, baked sweet potatoes, candied yams, cabbage, cornbread, or rice. The possibilities are limitless!
The best southern gravy
This gravy recipe is tried and true. We especially love how thick it is and the texture is smooth and velvety. In order to make the best southern gravy recipe, it will require lots of fat (oil, butter, whole milk, heavy cream). This is what gives it the best flavor! All you need to do is add a little chicken bouillon, salt, and pepper for added flavor.
When whisking the gravy, it’s important that you stand at the stove and whisk it the entire time to avoid clumping. You can also adjust the consistency as needed by adding a little more milk to thin it out or by letting it simmer longer to thicken it. No need for cornstarch or other thickeners (which can affect the flavor).
How to reheat
One of the best ways to reheat country fried steak is in the oven. First, wrap it in foil and then put it in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until warm. This is better than using the microwave and maintains the integrity of the meat.
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