It is my personal mission to find the best chicken fried steak in the country. Whether that means it comes from a small Texas town or I can make it in my own kitchen, pass me a good ol’ cube steak fried and smothered in gravy any day. It’s not always easy to find the perfect recipe for country fried steak for a few reasons. I’ve found that many recipes lack a good seasoning in the flour mixture, while others skip the gravy-making altogether. So when I was looking for the best to make at home, I turned to some Pioneer Woman recipes.
The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, is known for her easy takes on comfort food, and this chicken fried steak recipe is no different.
For this classic taste of Oklahoma and Texas, you’ll need a paper towel-lined plate, kosher salt and black pepper, your favorite cast iron skillet, all-purpose flour, canola oil, and a few more ingredients.
I like to serve chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and black-eyed peas to round out this Southern delicacy, though green beans have never steered me wrong, either. You’ll feel even more motivated to whip up this whole milk gravy made with seasoned salt, once you taste a bite on your mashed potatoes.
3 pounds cube steak, tenderized round steak that’s been extra tenderized
1 1/2 cups whole milk, plus up to 2 cups for gravy
2 whole large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Lots of Black Pepper
Canola Oil, For Frying
Salt and pepper, for both meat and gravy
Begin with an assembly line of dishes for the meat: milk mixed with egg in one; flour mixed with spices in one; meat in one; then have one clean plate at the end to receive the breaded meat.
Work one piece of meat at a time. Season both sides with salt and pepper, then dip in the milk/egg mixture.
Next, place the meat on the plate of seasoned flour. Turn to coat thoroughly. Place the meat back into the milk/egg mixture, turning to coat. Place back in the flour and turn to coat.
(So: wet mixture/dry mixture/wet mixture/dry mixture.) Place breaded meat on the clean plate, then repeat with remaining meat.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop in a few sprinkles of flour to make sure it’s sufficiently hot. Cook meat, three pieces at a time, until edges start to look golden brown; around 2 to 2 1/2 minutes each side.
Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and keep warm. Repeat until all meat is cooked.
After all the meat is fried, pour off the grease into a heatproof bowl. Without cleaning the pan, return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Add 1/4 cup grease back to the pan. Allow grease to heat up.
Sprinkle 1/3 cup flour evenly over the grease. Using a whisk, mix flour with grease, creating a golden-brown paste. Keep cooking until it reaches a deep golden brown color. If paste seems more oily than pasty, sprinkle in another tablespoon of flour and whisk.
Whisking constantly, pour in milk. Cook to thicken the gravy. Be prepared to add more milk if it becomes overly thick. Add salt and pepper and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until gravy is smooth and thick. Be sure to taste to make sure gravy is sufficiently seasoned.
Serve meat next to a big side of mashed potatoes. Pour gravy over the whole shebang!