This dish got its name simply because it is cooked the same way as fried chicken. Austin-based musician, writer, and cook Joe Gracey provided us with his favorite recipe.
- 2 cups plus 3 Tbsp. flour
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 eggs
- 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup lard or vegetable shortening
- 4 (8-oz.) pieces trimmed beef top round, pounded to a 1⁄4″ thickness
- Pinch cayenne
- Put 2 cups of the flour into a wide, shallow dish and generously season with salt and pepper. Put eggs, cream, and 1⁄2 cup of the milk into another wide, shallow dish and beat well.
- Preheat oven to 200°. Melt lard or shortening in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat until hot or about 360° on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, working with 1 piece of meat at a time, lightly season both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge beef in seasoned flour, shaking off excess, then dip each side into egg mixture, then dredge in flour again, shaking off excess. Fry meat in the hot fat, turning once, until dark golden brown on each side, 3–4 minutes per side. Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Repeat seasoning and cooking process with remaining meat and flour and egg mixtures, transferring meat to oven to keep warm as done.
- Discard all but 3 tbsp. of the fat from the skillet and heat over medium heat. Add remaining 3 tbsp. of flour and cook, whisking constantly, until golden, 1–2 minutes. Gradually add remaining milk, whisking constantly. Season gravy with cayenne and 1⁄2 tsp. black pepper and cook, whisking constantly, until consistency is slightly thicker than that of heavy cream, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt.
- Divide chicken fried steaks among four plates and spoon plenty of gravy over each.