Crispy breading and creamy gravy — just a few things you can look forward to on October 26, National Chicken Fried Steak Day. It’s a Southern cuisine classic. So, break out your deep fryer, get your gravy ladle ready and get excited to have a full belly of Southern fried goodness!
History of National Chicken Fried Steak Day
It seems like big things always happen in Texas! This includes celebrating that guilty pleasure, chicken fried steak, which is said to be the result of a mixup in a fried chicken versus steak food order in 1911. But first the chicken fried basics.
Chicken fried steak is simply described as a thin, round cut of beef which you bread and fry. Most folks serve it up with mashed potatoes and cream gravy. Seems simple enough and yet, there’s a whole story behind a dish that’s worthy of genuflection.
One of the reasons for chicken fried steak’s popularity certainly stems from the great publicity it generated. Whether you call it chicken fried steak, pan fried steak or country fried steak; an early mention of this dish allegedly appears in 1924. Writer A.L. Wyman describes the dish in the “Los Angeles Times” as ”beef steak rolled in flour, fried in a pan, and served with country gravy being poured on a hot platter and the fried steak placed over it.” Later recipes show up in publications like the “Winnipeg Free Press” in 1936 and the “Household Searchlight Recipe Book” in 1949. Hungry yet?
But it’s really in Texas where this carnivore’s delight gains popularity with three different regional versions of chicken fried steak. The East Texas version dips the meat in egg followed by flour. In Central Texas, bread crumbs replace flour and in West Texas, there’s no egg-dipping at all, according to a former Texas food critic. (It’s tough to write about this on an empty stomach!)
By 2011, Lamesa, Texas launched its “Lamesa Original Chicken-Fried Festival” in commemoration of the chicken fried steak centennial. Today, we crown it the fore-runner of the current National Chicken Fried Steak Day. Whatever…let’s eat!