History didn't record who the first person was to realize that deep-frying a steak in crispy breading would lead to something amazing, but that person deserves a prize... such as a plate of Country Fried Steak. This American classic is juicy and savory on the inside, while the outside is crunchy and satisfying as only fried foods can be! Served alongside a rich and creamy gravy with plenty of meaty flavors, Country Fried Steak is hearty and wholesome home-cooking that works equally well as a dinner or breakfast!
IngredientsFor the steaks: • 1 1/2 pounds round steaks or pre-tenderized cube steaks • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste • 2 large eggs, beaten • 1 cup buttermilk • 2 cups all-purpose flour • 2 teaspoons garlic powder • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne • 1/2 cup oil, neutral-flavored, plus more as needed For the gravy: • 1/4 cup pan drippings, reserved after making the country fried steak • 1 tablespoon butter • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour • 1/2 cup heavy cream, optional • 2 cups whole milk • salt, to taste • freshly ground pepper, to taste
Flatten the steaks to a uniform 1/4-inch thickness.
Season the steaks with 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
In a large flat-bottom dish, whisk together the eggs and the buttermilk.
In a second large flat-bottomed dish, combine the flour, garlic, paprika, cayenne, and the remaining salt.
Press both sides of the steaks into the flour mixture, shaking off the excess.
Dredge both sides of the steaks into the egg mixture, shaking off the excess.
Set the steaks in the flour mixture a second time, ensuring both sides are well-coated, shaking off any excess but taking care not to pull off any of the coating.
Over medium-high heat, heat a pan with the neutral-flavored oil until it is shimmering, ideally reaching 350 degrees F. The oil should fill 1/4-inch of the pan.
Place the steaks one at a time in the hot oil and use a large metal spoon to transfer any excess oil in the pan to the top of the steak.
Fry the steak until the edges turn golden brown, about 2 minutes.
Using tongs, turn the steak in the pan and cook until golden brown on the other side and cooked through at a minimum of 135 degrees F internally, about 2 minutes.
Lift the fried steak out of the pan and allow the excess oil to drip off.
Transfer the cooked steak to a wire rack placed over a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm.
Repeat with the remaining steaks, making sure the oil remains hot.
Reserve 1/4 cup of the drippings in the pan, setting the remaining drippings aside in a glass or metal bowl until after the gravy is made, in case you need more.
Add the butter to the pan.
Reduce the heat to medium-low.
Sprinkle the flour into the pan, whisking it with the drippings and the butter until it becomes golden brown. Add more flour if the mixture seems too greasy, and more drippings if the mixture seems too dry.
Cook the flour and butter mixture until it is light brown, about 5 minutes.
Combine the heavy cream and milk.
Pour the heavy cream and milk mixture slowly into the mixture in the pan while constantly whisking.
Continue to heat and whisk until the gravy reaches the desired consistency.
Season the gravy to taste.
Serve the steaks with the gravy.