Any trip to Texas will likely include an experience with chicken fried steak and Cholula hot sauce. Chicken fried steak (lovingly called CFS) is a southern classic, while Cholula hot sauce (introduced to the states here in Austin, TX) is a popular condiment that adds a Texas kick. See what happens when these icons get hitched in this new take on a Lone Star tradition.
Chicken Fried Steak is not chicken. It's just fried like one — with a flour-based batter that, when done right, yields a delicate flaky, yet fluffy, crust. I prefer a steak that is cooked medium, and that's no different when it comes to CFS. A thicker sirloin tip roast is the type of cut we need to prevent a well-done steak from arriving at the table.
The next key component is the crust. This recipe develops a sturdy, adhesive coating that sticks to the steak with three total coats in flour. Once you have the right steak, and the right batter, the rest is all gravy.
Cholula Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy
2 pounds sirloin tip roast 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (divided), plus 3 tablespoons for gravy Salt Ground black pepper 3 large eggs 3 tablespoon Cholula hot sauce Vegetable oil 2 cups milk
Cut the steaks into 4 to 6 pieces, and place in a large plastic freezer bag. You may need to distribute the steaks amongst a couple bags. Add 1/4 cup flour to the bag(s) and seal tightly. Pound the flour into the steak with a mallet. This serves to both tenderize the meat and work an even flour coating into the steak.
Place the remaining 1 cup of all-purpose flour into a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl whisk the eggs and Cholula hot sauce until beaten and well combined.
Remove steaks from bag, and coat generously with salt and ground black pepper on both sides of each steak. Dredge the meat into the egg and Cholula mixture, then toss and coat in the flour mixture. Repeat again. Coating each steak in the egg mixture and flour ensures a fluffy crust. Set the steaks on wire racks to rest while you prepare the pan for frying.
Pour enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of a deep skillet and fill about 1/8 inch. Heat the oil to 350° over medium to medium-high heat (the oil should be shimmering).
Add the steaks, two at a time, into the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes per side. The oil should immediately bubble and sizzle around the steaks. When steaks are done, place on paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Let steaks rest for 10-15 minutes.
Make the gravy while the steaks rest. Let the oil cool slightly off the heat and then carefully discard all but 2-3 tablespoons. Add 3 tablespoons of flour to the pan and whisk with the oil as you return the pan to high heat.
Slowly add the milk as the flour-oil mixture begins to bubble, whisking constantly. Whisk until the gravy has reached your desired thickness, adding more milk if necessary. Add salt and black pepper to taste, then serve gravy over steaks.
A sirloin tip roast is a thicker chunk of steak than the typical cubed steak you may normally use for chicken fried steak. I find this thicker cut to cook more like a steak, to medium doneness, which is my preference.