Chicken-fried steak is usually made with round steak which has been cut into serving-size portions and pounded to tenderize. The steaks are dipped in an egg and milk mixture and then dredged in seasoned flour or breadcrumbs. The coated steak is fried in hot oil or shortening until the coating is crispy and browned. The method of cooking is similar to Southern fried chicken, hence the name, "chicken-fried steak." A milk gravy is usually made with the pan drippings.
The gravy is served with the steaks along with mashed potatoes. Make them for dinner or add them to a hearty breakfast menu along with hash browns and eggs.
Country fried steak is quite similar, and you might find the term used interchangeably in some recipes and on many restaurant menus. But, the purist will tell you that are some subtle differences. Country-fried steak is usually served with a brown gravy as opposed to the creamy milk gravy served with chicken-fried steak. And it's usually dusted with a simple mixture seasoned flour or crumbs (no the egg batter) giving it a tasty but lighter and less crisp coating. Onions are often fried in the skillet with the steaks.
Smothered steak, another Southern favorite, is seasoned and fried like the country-fried steak. An onion gravy is made with the drippings and the fried steaks are added back to the pan and simmered in gravy. This method makes a tougher cut of meat even more tender.
According to The Dictionary of American Food and Drink by John Mariani, the term "chicken-fried steak" first appeared in print in the year 1952. It has long been a favorite dish in the South, Midwest, and the Southwest United States.
Chicken-Fried Steak with Creamy Gravy This is a typical chicken-fried steak made with round steak or sirloin tip steak.
The classic creamy gravy is made with milk. For a richer gravy, use light cream or half-and-half.
Country-Fried Steak With Onion Gravy Caramelized onions and beef base or bouillon make up the gravy for these fried steaks. The batter includes a bit of cornmeal, giving it some extra flavor and crispiness.
Shortcut Chicken-Fried Steaks With Gravy Tenderized cube steaks are dipped in a mixture of egg and buttermilk and then cracker crumbs to make this easy country fried steak. The gravy is the shortcut in this recipe. It's made with a simple combination of condensed cream of mushroom soup and milk.
Annie's Texas Chicken Fried Steak Annie's chicken-fried steaks are made with cube steaks. You can have the butcher tenderize the steaks or do it yourself with the textured side of a meat mallet. She doesn't include a gravy, but it's easy enough to add a milk gravy. Simply pour off most of the drippings, leaving about 1 to 2 tablespoons in the skillet. Stir 2 tablespoons of flour into the drippings; cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup of milk and continue cooking until thickened. Add salt and ground black pepper, to taste.
Cyndi's Chicken-Fried Steak With Gravy Cyndi's fried steaks are made with tenderized round steak or cube steaks.
Use part beef or chicken stock in the gravy if you'd like a lighter gravy.
Country-Fried Steak With Brown Gravy This typical country-style steak is finished with a brown gravy. The gravy is made with milk and chicken stock, or use part beef stock.
Cube Steaks With Mushrooms These tenderized steaks are similar to country-fried steaks. They are served with a gravy made with red wine or beef stock. Mushrooms and shallots add extra flavor to the sauce.
Country-Fried Round Steak This steak is more like a chicken-fried steak with its egg and crumb coating and creamy white gravy.
Chicken-Fried Steak with White Gravy Here's another chicken-fried steak recipe made with a creamy peppery white gravy. It's made with basic, egg and milk battered cube steaks and simple milk gravy. If you have bacon drippings, use them to make the gravy.
Crock Pot Smothered Round Steak With Vegetables and Gravy This recipe is a departure from the typical fried steak, but it deserves a mention. The steaks are fried and then slow cooked with an easy gravy mixture. It's a fantastic meal to make on a busy day. Just fry the steaks and then add them to the crock pot with the remaining ingredients. You'll come home to a delicious meal!