What Kind Of Meat Is Chicken Fried Steak Made Of?

Chicken fried steak, a popular southern dish, has been a staple in American cuisine for quite some time. This dish is known for its crispy, golden brown exterior and tender, juicy interior, making it a favorite among many meat lovers. However, the question arises: what kind of meat is chicken fried steak made of?

While the name may suggest that chicken is the main ingredient, it is actually made from beef. Specifically, it is made from tenderized round steak that is coated in a seasoned flour mixture, then fried until crispy and golden. The dish is often served with creamy gravy on top and can be accompanied by a variety of side dishes.

Key Takeaway
Despite the name, chicken fried steak is not made of chicken. It is actually a beef cutlet that is coated in seasoned flour, then fried in oil or butter and typically served with gravy. Some recipes call for tenderized beef, while others use cube steak, which has already been run through a tenderizing machine.

The History of Chicken Fried Steak and Its Origins

Chicken fried steak has become an iconic dish in the United States, commonly found in southern cuisine. Despite its name, this dish does not actually consist of chicken. Instead, it is made from beef, typically cut from the round or cube steak, which is then battered and fried.

The origins of chicken fried steak can be traced back to German immigrants who settled in Texas during the 1800s. They brought with them a dish known as Wiener Schnitzel, which consists of a breaded and fried cutlet of meat, typically veal. Through a process of innovation and adaptation, Texas cooks began to use beef instead of veal, along with a different breading and frying technique, which eventually led to the creation of chicken fried steak as we know it today.

The Ingredients Used to Make Chicken Fried Steak

Chicken Fried Steak is a dish that is popular in Southern-American cuisine. Despite its name, there is no actual chicken in this dish. Instead, it is made with a cut of beef, usually from the round or cube steak.

To make chicken fried steak, the beef is pounded thin and tenderized. It is then coated in a mixture of flour, salt, and black pepper before being dipped in an egg mixture and then coated again in seasoned breadcrumbs. The steak is then fried in hot oil until golden brown. The gravy for chicken fried steak is usually made from milk or cream and the leftover oil from frying the steak, thickened with flour and seasoned with salt, pepper, and other spices.

Chicken Fried Steak is a delicious way to enjoy beef, but it is important to note that it is a high-calorie dish because of the frying process. However, it is a classic comfort food that can be enjoyed as an occasional treat.

The Nutritional Value of Chicken Fried Steak

The nutritional value of chicken fried steak is not the healthiest among meat dishes. While it is a good source of protein, the dish is typically high in calories, fat, and sodium. A typical serving of chicken fried steak can contain anywhere from 600 to 900 calories, depending on the size and preparation method. This is a significant amount of calories and can easily contribute to weight gain if not consumed in moderation.

In addition to being high in calories, chicken fried steak is often coated in flour and fried in oil, making it a high-fat dish. The breading and frying process can add anywhere from 20 to 50 grams of fat to a serving. This can contribute to high cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease if consumed regularly. Furthermore, the dish usually comes with gravy made from butter, cream, and flour, further adding to its caloric and fat content. It is advisable to consume chicken fried steak in moderation and pair it with healthier sides, such as steamed vegetables, to balance out its nutritional value.

Variations of Chicken Fried Steak Across the United States

Variations of Chicken Fried Steak Across the United States:

Chicken fried steak is a popular regional dish that varies across different states in the United States. In Texas, it is often served with brown gravy and mashed potatoes, while in Oklahoma, it is typically served with white gravy and fried okra. In the southern states, a traditional chicken fried steak may be served with collard greens, black-eyed peas, or mac and cheese.

In some parts of the country, chicken fried steak may even feature other types of meat such as venison, pork, or even alligator. Additionally, some restaurants may put their own unique spin on the dish by using different seasonings or batters for the meat. Despite these variations, one thing remains constant – chicken fried steak is a hearty and satisfying meal that is loved by many across the United States.

The Best Sides to Serve with Chicken Fried Steak

When it comes to serving up chicken fried steak, the sides you choose can make all the difference in terms of flavor and presentation. Luckily, there are plenty of classic sides that pair perfectly with this American favorite. One popular option is mashed potatoes, which provide a creamy and comforting contrast to the crispy exterior of the steak. Add a healthy dollop of gravy and you’ve got a comfort food feast on your hands.

If you’re looking for something a little lighter, consider serving up a fresh salad on the side. A crisp mixed green salad with a tangy vinaigrette, or even a classic Caesar salad, can help balance out the heaviness of the steak. Other classic sides to consider include buttery corn on the cob, creamy mac and cheese, or even a simple vegetable medley. Whatever sides you choose, be sure to serve them up hot alongside your perfectly fried chicken steak for a meal that’s sure to satisfy.

Common Mistakes When Making Chicken Fried Steak and How to Avoid Them

Chicken fried steak is a quintessential American dish that is easy to make but also easy to get wrong. The most common mistake that people make when preparing chicken fried steak is not tenderizing the meat enough. It is important to pound the meat until it is thin and tender to ensure that it cooks evenly and has the right texture. Additionally, overcooking the steak is another common mistake. It is recommended that it is cooked until the internal temperature reaches 145°F to avoid dryness.

Another mistake that people make is using the wrong oil to cook the steak. Instead of using vegetable oil, it is better to use something with a higher smoke point, like canola oil or peanut oil. Using cold oil in a hot pan and overcrowding the skillet are other mistakes that can lead to uneven cooking and soggy crusts. By following these tips, you can ensure that your chicken fried steak comes out perfectly every time.

Alternatives for Healthier Versions of Chicken Fried Steak

For those who want a healthier version of chicken fried steak, there are a few alternatives to consider. One option is to use leaner cuts of meat, such as a top round steak, instead of a fatty cut like sirloin. This will reduce the overall calorie and fat content of the dish.

Another option is to swap out the traditional white flour coating for a whole wheat or almond flour coating. This will add more fiber and nutrients to the dish while reducing the amount of simple carbohydrates. Additionally, using a cooking method like baking or grilling instead of frying can further reduce the fat content of the dish. By making these small changes, you can still enjoy the classic flavors of chicken fried steak while making it a bit healthier.

The Bottom Line

Chicken Fried Steak is a popular dish in Southern cuisine that has been around for centuries. The ingredients used to make it are simple, but the dish remains a favorite among many people around the world. Although the name suggests that it is a chicken-based dish, it is not made of actual chicken.

The dish is a classic example of how food traditions evolve over time. There are many variations of the recipe, but the cooking method and the use of tenderized beef remain the same. Chicken Fried Steak may not be for everyone, but its popularity has persisted for generations, proving that good food never goes out of style.

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