Country Fried Steak with Pepper Gravy
I grew up on country fried steak, although we’d called them cube steaks back then.
- 4 cube steaks (about 1/3 lb each)
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper, divided
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt or sea salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 2 -3 tablespoons Tabasco® Sauce
- 2 eggs
- Oil for frying
- 4 tablespoon grease
- 4 tablespoon flour
- 2 to 3 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a shallow bowl, whisk together flour, one teaspoon black pepper, one teaspoon salt, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a separate shallow bowl, whisk together buttermilk, Tabasco® Sauce, and eggs. Set aside.
- Pat cube steaks dry with a paper towel, removing as much moisture as possible. Season with one teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of pepper. Let sit for 5 minutes and pat dry again with paper towel.
- Dredge the cube steaks in the flour mixture, shaking off excess, then dredge in the buttermilk-egg mixture, letting excess drip off, and then once again in the flour mixture, shaking off excess.
- Place breaded cube steaks on a sheet pan or metal rack and press any of the remaining flour mixture into the cube steaks making sure that the entire steak is completely coated. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a heavy skillet or large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. How much oil you need depends on the size of your skillet. You want it to be about 1/4-inch deep. We aren’t deep frying the steaks, just shallow frying.
- Test the oil by dropping a bit of the breading into in. The oil should sizzle and bubble around the breading. Look for the oil to be glistening but not smoking – about 340°F. Now we’re ready to fry.
- Place two steaks into the pan at a time and fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Do not flip more than once or the breading will fall off. Do not fry more than two steaks or the pan will be too crowded and the breading will fall off.
- Remove steaks from pan and drain on paper towels, then keep warm.
- Pour the remaining grease into a heat safe bowl or glass measuring cup (I used my Pyrex). Do NOT scrape the skillet clean. We want all of those bits of yumminess to remain in the skillet so they can flavor the gravy.
- Add back in 4 tablespoons of the grease to the hot skillet.
- Whisk in flour and continue whisking for two to three minutes or until nice and golden brown.
- Combine the cream and milk and slowly drizzle in about 2 1/2 cups into the skillet, whisking constantly. It might look a little crazy right at the beginning, but it will all come together.
- Continue whisking and bring the gravy to a simmer. Cook until the gravy is smooth and creamy, about 5 to 7 minutes. If the gravy gets too thick, add in a little more milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste.