Chicken Fried Steak - CFS
In Texas, the reigning queen of comfort food or down-home cooking is
chicken-fried steak, or as Texans affectionately call it CFS. Every
city, town, and village in Texas takes prides in their CFS. Some,
admittedly, are better than others.
Texans have a unique way of
rating restaurants that serve CFS. The restaurants are rated by the
number of pickup trucks that is parked out in front. Never stop at a
one pickup place, as the steak will have been frozen and factory
breaded. A two and three pickup restaurant is not much better. A
four and five pickup place is a must stop restaurants, as the CFS
will be fresh and tender with good sopping gravy.
You might be surprised to learn
that there is no chicken in Chicken-Fried Steak. It is tenderized round
steak (a cheap and tough piece of beef) made like fried chicken with a milk
gravy made from the drippings left in the pan. The steak, when fried, should look just like the
coating on a piece of Southern fried chicken. The traditional way to cook CFS is in a large
cast-iron skillet with very little oil. Served with "the works" means accompanied by mashed potatoes, gravy, greens,
black-eye peas, and cornbread.
It's been said there are three food groups in Texas: Tex-Mex, barbecue,
and chicken-fried steak. Chicken-Fried Steak is known by Texans as the unofficial state dish of Texas. According to the
Texas Restaurant Associate, it is estimated that 800,000 orders of Chicken-Fried Steak are served in Texas every day, not counting any prepared at home.
April 19, 1988 - Oklahoma designated an Official State Meal consisting of fried
okra, squash, cornbread, barbecue pork, biscuits, sausage and gravy, grits,
corn, strawberries, chicken-fried steak, pecan pie, and black-eyed peas.
October 26, 2011 - The Texas House of Representatives has declared that
October 26 shall heretofore be known as Texas Chicken Fried Steak Day.
RESOLUION - By: Sheffield H.R. No. 1419:
WHEREAS, Texans are renowned for their love of chicken fried steak, that
exceptional dish that elevates the hearty flavor of beef to new heights by
coating it in batter and breading and frying it until the ingredients are
melded in a blissful union; and
WHEREAS, A food that reflects the history and diversity of our state,
chicken fried steak has been linked to the German specialty Wiener
schnitzel, which arrived in Texas with European immigrants; other food
historians note that chicken fried steak is similar to pan-fried steak, a
favorite of Texas cowboys; and
WHEREAS, Generations of Lone Star State residents have partaken of this
beloved entree, and happy memories of putting knife and fork to a chicken
fried steak in the company of family and friends are shared by countless
people all across Texas; and
WHEREAS, While chicken fried steak can be enjoyed at any time, the dish’s
popularity justifies the celebration of an observance in its honor; on
October 26, 2011, restaurants throughout the state are marking the second
annual Texas Chicken Fried Steak Day with special deals and related
WHEREAS, This signature dish occupies a special place in the culinary
culture of the Lone Star State, and Texas Chicken Fried Steak Day provides a
welcome opportunity to pay homage to that shared legacy; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives of the 82nd Texas Legislature
hereby recognize October 26, 2011, as Texas Chicken Fried Steak Day and
extend sincere best wishes to all who are taking part in this unique
1844-1850 - The origin of the Chicken-Fried Steak probably comes
from the German people who settled in Texas from 1844 to 1850. As Wiener
Schnitzel is a popular German dish that is made from veal, and because veal
was never popular in Texas and beef was, the German immigrants probably
adapted their popular dish to use the tougher cuts of beef available to them.
As to where and when the term Chicken-Fried Steak began remains a
mystery/ Most authorities agree that it probably developed in the 1930s, and by
the time of World War II, it had become the generally accepted term.
Chicken-Fried Steak Recipe - How To Make Chicken-Fried Steak
Condiments and Sauces
Yields: 4 servings
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 10 min
1/2 cup all-purpose
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 tablespoons water
3/4 cup buttermilk baking mix (such as the brand Bisquick)
2 pounds bottom or top round steak (cut into four individual portions), pounded well to tenderize
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Milk Gravy (see recipe below)
Preheat oven to 150 degrees F.
In a shallow pan or plate, sift together flour, salt, and pepper.
In another shallow pan, combine egg and water.
In still another shallow pan, place baking mix. Coat
steaks in flour mixture, dip in egg mixture, and then coat with baking mix.
In a large frying pan (I like to use my
cast iron frying pan) over medium-high heat, add vegetable oil
and heat until a drop of water sizzles. Add coated steak pieces, in batches,
and fry 4 to 5 minutes per side or until golden brown and thoroughly cooked
(add additional vegetable oil if needed). Remove from pan and keep cooked steaks warm in preheated oven.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the cooking
oil. Put the frying pan back over the heat and make the Milk Gravy.
Makes 4 servings.
Milk Gravy Recipe:
2 tablespoons pan drippings
1 tablespoon all-purpose
2 cups milk, heavy
cream, or evaporated milk, room temperature
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
In the same frying pan (that you cooked the steak in) with 2 tablespoons pan drippings, over medium heat, sprinkle flour over
the oil and blend with a wooden spoon or whisk until smooth.
Whisking or stirring constantly, slowly pour in milk, cream, or evaporated milk; continue stirring, scraping loose browned bits from the bottom and sides of skillet,
until the gravy begins to boil and thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes or until gravy is thickened to the desired consistency and the flour has lost its raw, pasty taste.
Remove from pan and serve hot with the prepared Chicken-Fried Steak.