I have to be honest with you, I had never heard of country fried steak or chicken fried steak until I moved to the city. If you live in the country, you don’t cook things and call them country fried or chicken fried. They’re just fried. And cubed steak is just, well, cubed steak. It’s not even called fried cubed steak because the frying part is understood since there’s no other way to cook it. But I guess somebody needed to fancy up the name so folks who had never had cubed steak would know what they were eating. And so, today, I bring you country fried steak also known as chicken fried steak—or where I come from, cubed steak.
This is one of those recipes that’s not a recipe. I’m going to give you some basic guidelines but you will really just wing it. You need flour, buttermilk, egg, salt, and pepper. I also use Worcestershire, Tabasco, and seasoned salt but that’s not necessary. Make yourself an assembly line with two pie plates, a large cast-iron skillet, vegetable oil, and a paper-towel lined plate. I also like to have whatever I’m serving with the steak ready to go so we can eat as soon as the steak is done.
Place about two cups of flour in a pie plate and add some Tony’s seasoning or just salt and pepper. In another pie plate, stir an egg and half a tablespoon of hot sauce into about two cups of buttermilk. Sprinkle the steaks with salt and pepper and a little Worcestershire sauce. Then dip the steaks in flour and place back on the pan.
Next, dip the steaks in the buttermilk mixture and then again in the flour. You can also double this and start by dipping the steaks in the buttermilk, then flour, then milk again, then flour again. That’s a little much for me, but whatever floats your boat.
I like to have my oil heating while I’m dipping the steaks. You can use vegetable oil, canola oil, peanut oil, or even shortening. The oil should be about half an inch in the skillet, just enough to slightly come up the sides of the steak but not to cover it. Heat on medium until it sizzles if you drop in a sprinkle of flour or water. Carefully lay each piece of steak in the hot oil in the skillet. Fry until each side is deep, golden brown, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove steak to a paper-towel lined plate and serve immediately.
An alternate way of cooking cubed steak, and the way we had it most of the time when I was growing up, is to skip the milk and egg mixture and just flour the steak and fry it. That’s also how we cooked pork chops and pieces of cut round steak that weren’t cubed. But my family prefers the extra breading that comes with dipping in the milk and egg so that’s how I do it. You can serve country fried steak with mashed potatoes, green beans, macaroni and cheese, butterbeans, rice, or just about anything. But you must have biscuits. Most folks will also say you must have gravy but I can’t help you with that. My gravy is pitiful so I won’t even try to include it here.
Country Fried Steak
- 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 2 lbs. cubed round steak
- 2 cups flour plus more if needed
- 2 teaspoons Tony's seasoning
- 2 cups buttermilk plus more if needed
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper
- Make an assembly line with two pie plates or a similar shallow dish or pan.
- In one pie plate, add the flour and Tony's seasoning and a little black pepper.
- In the other pie plate, add the buttermilk and gently whisk in the egg and hot sauce.
- Sprinkle steaks with salt, pepper, and Worcestershire.
- Dredge steaks in flour, then dip in buttermilk mixture, then dredge in flour again. Or if you want even more breading, start by dipping in the milk, then flour, then milk again, then flour again. You may need to add more flour and/or more milk to your pans.
- Heat oil on medium in a large cast-iron skillet. When oil is hot, place two to three pieces of steak in skillet and fry each side until golden brown, 3-4 minutes per side.
- Remove steaks and place on a paper-towel lined plate. Serve immediately.