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State Plate Recipe: Oklahoma’s Chicken Fried Steak

Ride ‘em, Cowboy!

You might have noticed we have our fair share of cowboys on INSP. Well, Oklahoma has quite a few to brag about, too. Oklahoma City is home to The Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Confusion in the Kitchen.

A peanut is a legume. A tomato is a fruit. And in Oklahoma, a watermelon is a vegetable! That’s right, in 2007, the sweet, juicy watermelon became the state’s official vegetable. You might not want to add it to your stew, though.

“But, officer, I was only a minute late…”

If you’ve ever been greeted by a “friendly” note on your windshield, while parked at a meter outside a store, send your fond thoughts to Oklahoma City, where on July 16, 1935, the first “Park-O-Meter” was installed.

A Chicken by Any Other Name is a…Steak?

If you’re expecting some chicken in your chicken fried steak dish, you’re in for a surprise! It’s steak, and only steak, but fried like you would a chicken cutlet—hence the name: Chicken Fried Steak.

Try this savory recipe for one of Oklahoma’s favorite signature dishes. With its comfort-food roots deep in Oklahoma history and its popularity still soaring today, chicken fried steak holds an honorary place in the state’s Official Meal, as well as on INSP’s very own State Plate.

Chicken Fried Steak

Prep time: 20 minute — Cook time: 20 minutes — Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 quarter-pound cube steaks (Get them pre-tenderized or have your own “Rocky Balboa” moment and tenderize them yourself by pounding them with a hammer-style meat tenderizer until super thin and even!) – OR buy 4 round steaks, cut thin
  • A sprinkling of salt (for pre-salting the meat)
  • 2 cups of flour (for breading)
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt (also, for breading)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • For frying: Canola oil, rice bran oil, or any other high smoke point oil you prefer. Or fat for frying

Gravy:

  • 3 Tbsp pan drippings
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Pound steaks to an even thinness: If you are using round steak instead of the pre-tenderized cube steak, you will need to pound the steaks thin or they will come out too chewy. (Even tenderized cube steaks may need further pounding to create a thinner uniformity. So start pounding!)
    Here’s how: Place each steak between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, rubber mallet, rolling pin, or empty wine bottle, beat the steak until it is very thin, less than 1/4-inch thick.
  2. Turn the steak often, as you pound, and make sure you stretch out the plastic wrap every so often; it will wrinkle as you work.
  3. Salt meat, and preheat warming oven: Sprinkle a little salt over the meat. Preheat the oven to 200°F. In the oven, place a wire rack over a baking sheet. This will keep the finished steaks warm and dry while you cook the gravy.

Time to Fry Up Some Steaks

  1. Dredge steaks in flour, egg, again and again… Prepare two wide, shallow dishes, such as a Pyrex casserole dish. In the first, whisk together the eggs and milk. In the second, whisk together the flour, salt, cayenne, and garlic powder.
  2. Dredge one steak at a time into the flour. Using the heel of your hand, press the flour into both sides of the steak.
  3. Lift up the steak, shake off the excess flour and dip the steak into the egg wash, coating it on both sides.
  4. Lift the steak out of the egg wash, shake off the excess egg wash, and then dredge the steak again in the flour. Again, press the flour into the steak on both sides.
  5. Set aside on a plate. Repeat with the rest of the steaks.
  6. Fry the steaks: Pour enough oil in a large frying pan to cover the bottom by 1/4-inch. Heat the oil to 350°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, use this to test: Drop a little flour into the oil. If it sizzles, the oil is hot enough to fry your steaks. If the oil doesn’t sizzle it isn’t ready. If it burns, the oil is too hot. Turn down the heat.
  7. Working one at a time, lay a coated steak into the hot oil. Gently shake the pan a little to wash a little hot oil on the top of the steak. Or use a metal spoon to pour some oil over the steak. This sets the coating.
  8. Fry until you see the edges of the steak turn golden brown, about two minutes. Carefully turn the steak over in the pan, and fry for two more minutes.
  9. Once both sides of the steak are golden brown, tip the steak up with a metal spatula to drain the excess oil. Remove it from the pan and place it on the wire rack in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining steaks.
  10. Make a roux with fat and flour: Turn off the heat under the pan. Pour out most of the oil from the frying pan EXCEPT about 3 tablespoons.
  11. Into the reserved 3 tablespoons of oil (fat), whisk in 3 tablespoons of flour, and turn the heat on to medium.
  12. Let the flour mixture cook until it’s the color of milk chocolate, about 4 to 5 minutes—stirring constantly.
  13. Stir in milk and cream to make gravy: When the flour fat mixture is smooth and turns the color of milk chocolate, slowly add the milk and cream, whisking constantly. Note that the mixture will seize up at first, but will loosen as you whisk in more liquid.
  14. Add milk until your reach the thickness you want for the gravy. If the gravy is too thick for you, add more milk. If it’s too thin, let it cook longer.
  15. Season with salt and lots of black pepper, to taste.
  16. Serve chicken fried steak with the gravy and your favorite side.

Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes.

Alternate breading mixture:

Dredge with a combination of flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper before frying your steaks as described above.