Secrets for Making No-Fail Chicken-Fried Steak

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Executive Chef
Jun 3, 2004
Secrets for Making No-Fail Chicken-Fried Steak With Shortcut Cream Gravy

If you've never had a recipe - or if the secrets of your family's Chicken-Fried Steak recipe skipped a generation -- we've discovered the traditions and wisdom of Texas farm kitchens for you! Can't get Grandma on the phone? Try this recipe now for No-Fail Chicken Fried Steak with Shortcut Cream Gravy

Before you get started, take a peek at the secrets for making perfect chicken fried steak at home.
Thin steaks (1/4- to 1/2-inch thick) work best for Chicken-Fried Steak.
Smaller steak pieces are easier to coat and fry, and the crust is less likely to break.
Pan-fry in oil 1/4-inch deep when total thickness of breaded steaks is 1/2 inch. Rule-of-thumb: Oil depth should be one-half the total breaded steak thickness.
If the oil is smoking, it is too hot and burns the meat. If the oil is too cool, the crust forms too slowly, absorbs oil and becomes greasy.
Place steaks in oil gently to avoid splashing the top. Oil splashes cause patches of soft crust.
Fry steaks one at a time for best results. Do not let steaks touch when frying two at a time; steam develops making the crust soggy.
Monitor oil temperature. The secret is cooking quickly. When steaks are added, oil temperature drops. Adjust heat slightly upward if needed. Readjust heat downward to regulate even frying temperature.
Do not cover the pan while cooking; steam forms creating a soggy crust.
Serve steaks immediately. Crust becomes soft when held.
Other Hints:

Add cayenne pepper or paprika to the flour, or hot pepper sauce to the egg mixture for a special zingy taste.
Most old-timers and traditionalists insist on a cast iron skillet or "heavy" skillet for frying.
For extra crispy crust, turn steaks in saltine cracker crumbs following the second egg-batter dip.
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