Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes with gravy, and fried okra feels like Southern comfort, and if cooked just right, it tastes incredible. The fried steak is an American dish that is often considered the best comfort food south of the Kentucky border.
The origin of chicken fried steak is somewhat debatable. It is similar to the South American dish known as milanesa – a breaded filet of veal, chicken, pork or beef – introduced to the continent by Italian immigrants during the 1860s. However, most historians agree that German and Austrian immigrants who settled in Texas during the 19th century most likely influenced the meal. They brought with them the native Austrian recipe called wiener schnitzel, which is veal, and occasionally pork, that is dipped in eggs and bread crumbs and then pan-fried. It was common practice during the 1800s to use tough cuts of meat, which were more affordable and easier to come by, so to enhance the taste and texture, spices and breading were often added, before frying it.
Recipes for deep-fried veal began popping up in American cookbooks during the early 1900s, and in the 1930s, some published versions called for cream gravy, which is almost always served with the steak today. While there are still certain Texas restaurants claiming to have introduced the chicken fried steak, there is no proof that it originated in the state.
The inspiration for the title chicken fried steak derived from the way the dish is prepared, very similar to frying chicken. Traditionally, the round steak, pork or chicken was coated in seasoned flour, then dipped in eggs, tossed in flour again, and placed in a deep fryer.
This Southern meal is so popular now that it’s served in many establishments, from diners to five-star restaurants, and prepared in several ways, from burgers to breakfast platters. It is still prepared with tough cuts of meat; however, there are also other varieties made with rib eye or tenderloin.
Today, you can enjoy the battered steak throughout the USA, but the states with the best-known recipes include Texas and Oklahoma, the latter of which named the dish as their official state meal in 1988. There’s something comforting and addictive about warm fried meat under thick gravy served with your choice of vegetable and buttery mashed potatoes – there’s nothing else quite like it.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.