Chicken-fried steak is steak that has been prepared like fried chicken. This comfort food consists of a tenderized piece of round steak that has been battered then pan-fried in oil until golden brown. It is often served with gravy, mashed potatoes and other vegetables.
According to the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, German immigrants brought Wiener schnitzel, a dish closely related to chicken-fried steak, to Texas during the 1840s. The German recipe called for veal, but Texans preferred beef as it was more popular at the time.
While there is no definitive origin for "chicken-fried steak," one tall tale comes from the Texas State Historical Association, which traces the first chicken steak back to 1911, when Jimmy Don Perkins, a Texas short-order cook, misinterpreted a food order. He believed that the ticket, which read, "chicken, fried steak" was for one order instead of two. Assuming that the customer wanted a steak cooked like fried chicken, Perkins made exactly that.
Prepare a simple chicken-fried steak by first tenderizing a raw round or cubed steak with a meat tenderizer or pounding it with a spiked mallet. Batter the steak in an egg-and-milk mixture then roll it in seasoned flour. Next, pan-fry the steak in oil until both sides are golden brown and crispy. Remove some of the remaining grease. Save the remaining oil in the pan and mix in flour, pepper and milk to create a thick and milky gravy. Serve with mashed potatoes and other vegetales.
There are many ways to prepare chicken-fried steak, depending on the region. Some chicken-fried enthusiasts do not use a flour mixture and substitute breadcrumbs or pancake mix. Other recipes omit the egg mixture altogether.
There is also a recipe for chicken-fried chicken, which substitutes boneless chicken breast for the steak.
According to the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, the Oklahoma legislature inducted chicken-fried steak to the official state meal list in 1988.
The Cowtown Diner in Fort Worth, Texas serves the largest chicken-fried steak in the world. The "Full O Bull" meal consists of a four-pound slab of top round, which is then coated in panko crumbs, deep fried and covered in cream gravy. The steak, which costs $70, comes to about ten pounds and totals 10,000 calories.
Chicken-fried steak was originally called "breaded steak," according to the "Bride's Cook Book of Oklahoma City," which was published in the 1930s.
According to What's Cooking America's website, customers in Texas rate chicken-fried steak restaurants by how many pickup trucks are parked in front. The more trucks there are the better the food.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
About Famous Texas Food
Texans take their food seriously. Ask any resident of the Lone Star State about their favorite native cuisine and you'll get several...
How to Make Chicken-Fried Steak
Crispy fried batter and fork-tender beef are the hallmarks of the classic Southern dish, chicken-fried steak. The deceptively simple directions -- dip...
How to Bread Chicken Fried Steak
Any type of breading that has to be applied to foods can be one of the messiest jobs in the kitchen. Whether...
How to Make Juicy & Tender Southern Style Chicken Fried Steak
Chicken fried steak is a Southern classic recipe. The key to making it tender and juicy is to use a tenderized steak...
How to Make Country Fried Steak and Gravy
Traditional country fried steak and gravy takes several forms. Seasonings and gravy preferences vary with geographic regions. You can season the flour...