Is There An Ideal Cut Of Meat For Chicken Fried Steak?

A well-made chicken fried steak is one of life's tastiest delights. The crispy fried coating paired with the signature white gravy is a combination so good it will make you want to slap your mama (as they say in the South). While the warming flavors and comforting textures of this down-home dish are perfectly unpretentious, in reality, whipping up a chicken fried steak is something of a culinary feat. Luckily, MegaMenu recipe developer Keith Kamikawa came up with the ultimate chicken fried steak recipe to help you make some country fried magic right at home.

While the dish's rich peppery gravy always seems to steal the show, you simply can't make the perfect chicken fried steak without the perfect cut of beef. According to Kamikawa, rump roast is the top choice for this recipe. Harvested from the top portion of the cow's hindquarters, rump roast is dense with muscle, making for a lean, intensely flavorful cut of meat.

Don't worry -- you've got options

Containing markedly less fat than a New York strip or T-bone steak, rump roast is typically used in dishes that require slow cooking, like stew or pot roast, as a slower cooking method affords the tough muscle tissue enough time to soften. In the case of MegaMenu food developer Keith Kamikawa's recipe for chicken fried steak, however, the rump roast is sliced into smaller 4- to 5-ounce steaks and tenderized with a mallet until the steak is no more than ⅓ of an inch thick.

After the meat has been sufficiently tenderized, you will have a cut of beef often referred to as cube steak. The most popular cut for crafting a chicken fried steak, cube steak is a supremely thin and succulent cut marked with tiny, square indentations, left behind from the tenderizing process. If tenderizing your own rump roast feels a little out of your wheelhouse, you can also purchase tenderized cube steak directly from the grocery store.

If you don't have rump roast or cube steak on hand, however, don't have a cow! "As with most recipes, there's a bit of latitude with this one," Kamikawa says, "If you have flank steak on hand, use it. Got a big T-bone? Cut it down to size and use that." As long as the meat is properly thin and properly tenderized, this recipe is sure to be "slap your mama" good.