If you polled 100 Southerners on their favorite food, about 50% of them would likely swear that country-fried steak is the best dish our region has to offer. This classic comfort food recipe reminds us of growing up in our Grandma's kitchen, with its crispy, hearty texture and creamy gravy. Country-fried steak is made with cube steaks, a tenderized cut of meat that makes a great weeknight dinner entrée. We coated each steak in a crushed saltine cracker mixture, and then fried until golden brown. And, don't forget the gravy! This creamy white sauce uses a little bit of your steak-infused cooking oil, a few simple seasonings, and milk – all ingredients you've likely already got in the pantry or fridge. Whether it's a cold winter day and you're looking for a little Southern pick-me-up or you're hoping to break out the classics to impress houseguests, country-fried steak is one the best recipes we've got in our back pocket.
4 (4-oz.) cube steaks
2 3/4 teaspoons salt, divided
2 1/4 teaspoons pepper, divided
1 sleeve saltine crackers (approx. 38-40)
1 3/4 cups flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
8 3/4 cups whole milk, divided
4 cups vegetable oil
How to Make It
Sprinkle 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper onto cube steaks, flipping to season both sides.
In a large bowl, combine one sleeve (approximately 38-40) crushed saltine crackers, 1 cup flour, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Whisk to combine. Add in an additional 1/2 tsp. of both salt and pepper to the combined cracker mixture, and stir in 1/2 tsp. ground red pepper.
In a separate bowl, combine 4 3/4 cups milk and 2 eggs, whisking until eggs are completely incorporated.
Coat each cube steak in flour mixture, then milk mixture, then flour mixture again, making sure that steaks are completely covered.
Heat 4 cups of vegetable oil (or preferred frying oil) in a large skillet or Dutch oven, until oil is at 360˚F. Place prepared steaks in hot oil, frying for about 10 minutes until steaks are golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on a wire rack-lined jellyroll pan.
FOR GRAVY: In a large bowl, combine 3/4 cup flour, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, and 4 cups of milk. Whisk ingredients together. Pour into a skillet with about 1 Tbsp. of remaining frying oil, and whisk on medium heat for about 10 minutes or until mixture has thickened. Pour warm gravy over country-fried steaks. Sprinkle with fresh parsley if desired.