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Country Fried Steak help

1. So what kind of steak works best?
2. Do you pound it out first?
3. How long should it simmer in the gravy?
4. Do you use water, stock, milk for the gravy?
5. Anything else I need to know?
And please do not refer me to Paula Deen or Emeril.
Thanks!

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  1. 1. Cube steak (if unavailable, pound out some sirloin yourself)
    2. Pound only what has not previously been pounded
    3. Do not simmer it in the gravy unless you like soggy breading. The gravy can go on top of the steak or on the side.
    4. For a flavorful gravy, deglaze the pan with stock and add milk.
    5. If you want a crispier, spicier steak than is traditional, bread with panko crumbs seasoned with paprika, garlic powder, seasoned salt, white/black/and cayenne pepper and chipotle and proceed with the traditional lard fry and white gravy.

    1. 1. Most recipes I see call for Round steak tenderized through a machine. I have used Top Butt Sirloin and Tri-Tip Sirloin with success myself.

      2. If you are not purchasing (Cubed) steak already tenderized, pounding is recommended

      3. Gravy should be made from the same pan the steak is cooked in....add your flour,salt and pepper to make a roux. You should use the original flour you coated your steaks with. Add liquid and stir/whisk until the all ingredients have been incorporated and gravy is smooth and at the desired thickness you want.

      4. Milk or milk and water combined

      5. When cooking multiple steaks, I brown the steaks and hold them in an oven temperature of 250 degrees on a wire rack.....until the gravy has bee finished

      This is the rustic Cowboy method shown to me when i visited Texas many years ago by popular restaurant in Dallas, Texas.

      1. I'm by far no expert, but here's my 2c...
        I don't think you want a high end steak, that is, not rib steak, striploin, etc. Sirloin or round or 'hip' is cheap and works well.
        Pounding does two things - makes the steak a reasonable thickness for frying and tenderizes. If you buy the steak 1/2 inch or thicker, I'd say to pound to 1/4 inch. If you buy it 1/4 inch already, don't pound.
        Again, I'm no expert, but I've never heard of simmering in gravy. The method I know is to fry the sucker then ladle gravy on top.
        I use chicken broth and milk for the gravy.

        Here's what I do;
        I season flour with salt, plenty of pepper, and a pinch of paprika.
        I dip the steaks in water, then into flour mix. Repeat.
        I like to freeze the steak on a tray, this helps the coating stick.

        Gravy
        crumble and brown 1/4-1/2 lb ground beef, stir in 1/4C flour, mix 1C chicken broth with 1C milk then whisk into beef/flour mix, add salt and plenty of pepper. Continue stirring and bring to boil.
        (gravy too thick? Add more broth. Too thin? make a butter-flour roux on the side and add to simmering gravy bit by bit).

        Fry the frozen steak in plenty of oil (I use a deep fryer, but a cast iron with lots of oil will work) until it floats. Remove, drain, ladle gravy over top.

        Any thoughts from CFS aficionados?

        6 Replies
        1. re: porker

          porker,

          I'm no expert, but a CFS Aficionado.....ground meat in the milk gravy.....never had it other than on biscuits...but you can be sure I will try it next time I make CFS. Nice call. Another reason not to eat it, but who really listens to such nonsense.

          1. re: porker

            What we're talking about is two different breeds of CFS: one is CHICKEN fried steak, cooked for a crisp crust and served with gravy to be poured over, while the other is COUNTRY fried steak either cooked in its own gravy or put back into the pan after the gravy is made. I think they do the latter in Texas, while the former I first encountered in the family restaurants of Illinois. Just to confuse things, either term is often used to describe either item, once you get out of either dish's home territory; I had a "country" fried steak the other day that was pretty good, but it was crisp-crusted Mystery Meat smothered in a white gravy that did not taste scratch-built.

            For the record, my own preference, inauthentic in both Texas and Tennessee, is to brown the flour at least to the golden stage before adding the liquid. Purists are welcome to boo and hiss all they want.

            1. re: Will Owen

              No, I've never heard of country fried steak in Texas, we chicken fry. I grew up with pounded round, eye of round is best, my mom first pounded it. It was then pounded in flour, seasoned with salt and pepper, and again coated in flour and fried. For extra crust I've dipped in milk and egg and then flour, but it's been a number of years since I've done this, the memory is a bit fuzzy. I've been wanting to do this for my relatively new bride, I suspect it will get a few tries to get it right. Gravy, only on the side please, you don't want to get that crisp steak soggy. Feel free to adjust to suit your taste, maybe some creole or cajun season, hot sauce, paprika etc.

              1. re: Will Owen

                Thanks for bringing up the nomenclature issue, Will; now I know my confusion is not entirely my fault. To me chicken-fried steak is what most of you are describing (crisp fried with gravy on the side) whereas country-fried steak is floured and browned, and then braised (sort of "smothered") in an oniony gravy. Both delectable!

                1. re: Will Owen

                  I thought the one cooked in the gravy was called smothered steak or Swiss steak? Maybe 'country fried' gets used both ways depending on local.

                  This 'about.com' page gives a roundup of variations
                  http://southernfood.about.com/od/roun...

                  1. re: Will Owen

                    Will brings up the interesting issue of regional variation. Growing up in the Piedmont region of the south, we made "country-style" steak at home. There was no crisp-crust. After browning the meat on both sides and removing it from the pan, we made a milk gravy, then returned the steak to the pan and allowed it to simmer in the gravy for 15 or 20 minutes. (It was among the first dishes I learned to prepare helping in the kitchen at home, although I haven't made in in years and years.) Small diners in our area also offered "country-style" steak on the menu. But other diners offered something referred to as "country-fried" or "chicken-fried" steak. Both versions appeared to be similar to each other, and different than the "country-style" version. Both had a crisp-crust. In one version, the gravy was integrated with the dish. In the other, the gravy was simply added on top. By the way, there were no onions in the gravy. It was plain old milk gravy, made with flour, salt, pepper, milk, perhaps a little water too, and the grease from the meat.

                2. I just made chicken fried steak last night. I used cube steak patted dry, dipped in seasoned flour(salt,pepper,cayenne) then dipped in a wash consisting of 1 egg, 1 cup buttermilk, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder and then dredged in the seasoned flour again. I fried the steak in 1 inch of peanut oil and reserved in a 250 oven while I made gravy. For the gravy I strained the oil saving the bits and 2 tbsps of oil. I sauteed 1/2 an onion, minced, added 2 minced cloves of garlic and 1 tsp dried thyme, then added 3 tbsps flour to form a "roux", I then added 1/2 cup chicken stock and 2 cups whole milk, brought it to a boil while whisking and then simmered for 5 minutes. The steak stayed crunchy with a nice light breading and the gravy was quite flavorful. Not quite "original Texas Wienershnitzel" but it will do.

                  1. Chef Paul Prudhomme has a recipe that calls for ---get this!---tenderloins prepared like chicken fried steak! Omigod!

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: 1stmakearoux

                      A friend made chicken fried venison tenderloin. Chicken fried deer, nothing better.

                      1. re: James Cristinian

                        Really??? I'm actually looking for something to do with the venison tenderloin a co-worker gave me (yeah, I'm that lucky), and this sounds like a great variation! I'll have to try it in a couple of weeks (once I'm past the New Year's South Beach Diet phase my wife has me do annually). :-)

                        1. re: Jeremy01506

                          With all due respect to both JC and Jeremy......

                          While I am sure using Venison Tenderloin would be good....it is total overkill and in my opinion, wasting a nice piece of meat....

                          If you are looking for something to do with the tenderloin, a simple grilling with salt, pepper and garlic crust is excellent....or marinate it with red wine or vinegar....then grill or roast.....same as you would for whole beef tenderloin.

                          1. re: fourunder

                            I didn't cook it, I ate it. It was amazing. If Jeremy has enough, maybe he can try several different methods.

                    2. If you have a decent market, get cube
                      steak. Tenderizing at home has
                      never worked for me.

                      What's the point in breading if you cook it
                      in gravy? This isn't country-fried,
                      it's braised beef.

                      Gravy is a matter of intividual taste. I
                      like meat gravy myself, but others
                      like it with milk or cream. See which you
                      like best.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mpalmer6c

                        You don't cook the steak in gravy, you fry it then slather it with cream gravy