Antler and Fin Podcast: Just What Exactly IS Chicken Fried Steak

On a recent Harvesting Nature Field to Fork wild pig camp in Texas, butcher extraordinaire Adam Steele and I were driving from the Dallas-Fort Worth airport to Jacksboro where the camp was being held.

We were both feeling quite peckish, so I had Adam look up a potential spot to stop for lunch along the way. “How about a Texas roadhouse?” he asked.


We grabbed a table under the watchful eyes of mounted deer and longhorn cattle heads and looked around at walls festooned with Lone Star flags and Texas memorabilia. We decided to get a Texan kind of meal, so we ordered some sweet teas, a big bowl of queso, and some chicken fried steaks.

I intimated to the waitress that I’d never had chicken fried steak before, and she let out a big whoop, drawing the attention of the rest of the staff. The thought of a Canadian who had never even tried the dish before tickled them pink, and they all stood there and watched me take my first bite – delicious!

The dish I made here is a nod to that lunch and to Texas as a whole. I combined both parts of our meal, the steak and the queso, and made it wild-based with elk bottom round steaks. I turned the queso into gravy, which gets poured over the chicken fried elk, replacing the traditional white gravy usually served with it.

Feel free to swap the elk out with any lean red meat.

Read the written version of this recipe as prepared by Adam Berkelmans (The Intrepid Eater)


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About Chicken Fried Steak

Chicken fried steak is a southern American dish (not a South American dish!) consisting of a cube steak, dredged in flour, dipped in egg wash, dredged in flour a second time, and then fried in lard or oil, ideally in a cast iron skillet. It is most often served in the aforementioned white gravy, with mashed potatoes on the side. 

For those listeners unfamiliar with what a cube steak is, it is generally a thin piece of top round or sirloin that has been pounded and tenderized in a process called cubing – so called due to the square indentations left on the meat. This is usually done by a mechanical tenderizer these days. 

Cube steak, is also sometimes known as bucket steak, named for the cardboard buckets in which the steaks are sometimes sold, or minute steaks, named for the amount of time needed to cook them. Northerners and Canadians like me might be most familiar with the minute steak moniker. 

The reason it is called chicken fried steak is due to the way in which it is prepared and cooked – much like southern fried chicken. 

You can actually even find chicken fried chicken in the South as well. What could that possibly be???

Chicken fried chicken points to chicken prepared like chicken fried steak, which in turn points to steak prepared like fried chicken. Confused yet?

Where normal fried chicken will usually be bone-in pieces of chicken, chicken fried chicken will be a flattened tenderized piece of boneless chicken that was dredged in flour, dunked in egg wash, dredged again, then fried… just like chicken fried steak. Don’t worry, it took a while for me to wrap my head around it too. 

About Adam Berkelmans:

Adam Berkelmans, also known as The Intrepid Eater, is a passionate ambassador for real food and a proponent of nose-to-tail eating. He spends his time between Ottawa and a cozy lake house north of Kingston, Ontario. When not cooking, he can be found hunting, fishing, foraging, gardening, reading, traveling, and discovering new ways to find and eat food.

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In this episode, Adam dives deep into the invasive iguanas of Florida and walks us through how to prepare this delicious Coconut-Mango Iguana Taco recipe. 

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