Need a post-mortem on this chicken-fried steak I just made.

Didn’t golden brown up the way that the Pioneer Woman said it would; and most of the batter ended up falling off of the meat (the actual gravy itself was given up on very, very early).  Still tastes all right, but I’m wondering whether I had the pan too low (medium).  My wife suggests that I flipped the steak too soon, which is also possible.

Opinions welcome; I know people who cook comment here.

8 thoughts on “Need a post-mortem on this chicken-fried steak I just made.”

  1. So if you deep fry them, it’s normally done at 325F-350F, medium was probably a bit too low. What batter did you use? I typically just use flour, salt, pepper, milk, soak the meat in milk for a bit, then dredge in the flour mix. As for gravy, I can make decent cream gravy from scratch, but mostly I just cheat and use mix. Cream gravy goes with everything, so it’s not like the mix will go stale.

  2. Probably didn’t soak the meat in milk long enough for the batter falling off part. For the other, did you preheat the pan long enough?

  3. At a guess, I’d say you needed to let the battered meat sit for a few minutes before frying. (But that first layer of flour on the meat, and letting it set for a couple of minutes before dipping in the egg/milk and dredging in flour again is pretty important.)
    Another problem could have been if you had a lid on the pan. That’ll steam the breading right off.
    If you didn’t preheat the oil, that could have been a problem. Most likely wouldn’t have been as dramatic as you’re describing, though.
    Medium should have been fine. I cook mine around that level, with no problem.
    Flipping it too soon shouldn’t be that big a deal. You can always flip it back to brown the batter. It can be a a problem if you wait too long to flip it, the juices seeping out of the meat can cause the batter on top too loosen. But I very much doubt that’s the problem, since you’d have only lost batter on one side of the steak.

    1. Bingo. Many good points–cold meat won’t hold batter well, and double flour is a must with any fried food.
      Think medium high to really heat up the pan and get a good scald, though. And at least 1/4 inch of oil.
      The kind of pan is important as well–straight sides keep the heat in, and even.

  4. Three tips. One, medium high. Two, toss a tiny pinch of flour in the oil and make sure it sizzles before you add the steak. Three, notice how the blood is oozing out of the top of the steak in her photos? That’s when you turn it. If you do that and it still doesn’t work, the laws so physics don’t work in your kitchen, and you can probably cook a grit in five minutes.

  5. Looks like the problem was the cold meat. I normally let it set in the flour for about 3 minutes before doing the dredge and then second time through the flour. I see above someone put a link to Alton Brown. Alton Brown’s stuff is really good; he gets it (i.e. not everyone went to Le Cordon Bleu).

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