Chicken fries that is. No, not the kind that cluck and lay eggs. The kind that is yummy, fried in a skillet goodness preferably with gravy on the side. And corn on the cob. And stewed squash!
Chicken Fried Steak was a staple at our house when I was growing up. You see, my daddy was a butcher…meat market manager for M’System Food Stores in our little town. I always wondered how in the world he ended up working in meat markets after he was discharged from the Marine Corps at the end of WWII. One of the perks of genealogy is discovering things you weren’t even looking for. So when I found two old pictures of men in handle bar moustaches standing in what looked like a meat market, I found my great-grandaddy! Right there on the back of the photo was his name. Census records confirmed his occupation and there I had it. My daddy was following in the footsteps of his grandfather!
The nice result of his job was that we got any outdated meats! So chicken fried steaks were a favorite! When Big Boss and I married, we didn’t have money for round steaks, but he got his limit in deer season every year, so we had Chicken Fried Venison. A lot. In fact, the night I went into labor with #1 son, I had cooked up a big plate for BB after he got in from scouting a game (he was coaching football). Blech! I can still smell that meat cooking.
Then we moved up here in the Land of Plenty of Round Steaks! Our boys grew up on Chicken Fried Steaks, Baked Steak, Minute Steak sandwiches and you get the picture!
As a side note: my mother-in-law dipped minute steaks in eggs and milk, then coated it with crushed cracker crumbs. It was really good and a bit different. But I still like mine the Texas way! So here’s how I do it…
Minute steaks or round steak that has been tenderized. You can tenderize your own with a mallet.
Bowl for flour
Bowl for milk
Platter lined with paper towels
Garlic salt, salt and pepper.
Lay the steaks out on a plate and sprinkle the garlic salt on one side. Flip them over and salt and petter the other side.
In a bowl, put 2 cup of flour in with some salt and pepper. Stir with a fork.
Pour about 1 cup milk into a bowl. Canned milk will work as will cream or powdered milk mixed with water.
Pour about 3/4″ oil into skillet (I use my Dutch oven also) and heat to medium-high. When you start cooking the meat, reduce it a bit to keep the flour from scorching.
Dip a steak into the flour, shake off excess, dip into the milk, return to the flour and coat the meat again. Shake off excess and carefully place into the skillet. Be sure the oil it hot enough by crumbling some flour into the oil. If it sizzles, it’s ready for cooking.
Cook the meat for 2-4 mins. or until brown. Turn with fork or tongs and cook another few minutes till browned. When done, place on the paper towels.
Repeat until all the meat is done, layering the meat with paper towels to soak up any excess grease.
If you want gravy….and I do…pour off almost all of the grease, leaving a coating (about 3-4 tablespoons?) on the bottom of the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and put about 1/2 cup of flour in the skillet. I use whatever is left over from the dipping bowl.
Quickly stir the flour around making a paste. Slowly pour in cold milk, stirring constantly. Heat and stir until the gravy starts bubbling. Don’t rush it by turning the heat up and scrap the bottom of the skillet while stirring. If the gravy isn’t thick enough, put some milk and flour in a container with a lid, shake vigorously, and pour slowly into the hot gravy until you get the thickness you want. Add salt and pepper.
Some folks like their Chicken Fried Steak floating in gravy. I’d just as soon have mine on the side so I can dip it. That way I don’t get gravy all over my taters and squash and green beans. I’m fairly particular about things like that. 🙂