As the beef capital of the world, Texas has gotten pretty clever as to what to do with all of that meat — especially the”lesser” cuts. In fact, nothing depicts Texas food quite like chicken fried steak. Underneath a layer of white country gravy and a delicious crispy fried batter, lies the humble cube steak. So what happens when you slice that very same cube steak into strips and apply the same beloved cooking method? Steak Fingers. That’s what. Dippable, handheld, lovable Steak Fingers.
Dairy Queen might have put steak fingers on the map with their iconic steak fingers basket, but this Texas fast-food staple is better at home. Strips of cube steak are coated in a flavorful dredge and dropped in sizzling oil until they’ve achieved crunchy, golden, beefy perfection. It’s an easy, quick-fix dinner perfect for busy weeknights and hungry kids!
Want more fried deliciousness at home? Add juicy, buttermilk-brined Fried Chicken Breasts to this week’s dinnertime lineup!
WHAT ARE STEAK FINGERS MADE OF?
Steak fingers are made with the same meat Chicken Fried Steak is made with — cube steaks.
Cube steaks are cut from the neck and shoulder area of the cow. This subprimal cut is also known as “beef chuck,” which experiences quite a bit of movement. Because this is naturally a tough cut of meat, cube steaks are thinly sliced and then tenderized, making them perfect for frying!
Steak fingers also consist of a crispy, crunchy flour batter. In addition to flour, the batter is also made up of Saltine crackers, Kosher salt, and black pepper. The Saltine crackers will give the steak fingers added crunch and more texture.
To cook, Steak Fingers are fried in oil. For this task, you will want a flavorless oil with a high smoke point, such as canola, peanut, or vegetable oil.
HOW TO SET UP A DREDGING STATION
To set up a proper dredging station, you will need three shallow dishes (e.g. a pie dish).
The first dish will hold the seasoned flour mixture and the second dish will hold the egg wash. Egg wash is a sticky mix of eggs and milk, and it allows for thicker breading to adhere to the Steak Fingers.
Many times the last dredging station is for breadcrumbs, but in the case of these crispy, crunchy Steak Fingers, it will consist of Saltine crackers mixed in with more seasoned flour.
HOW TO MAKE STEAK FINGERS
- Cut the Cube Steaks – If you can’t find cube steaks pre-packaged as strips, you can turn them into strips yourself. To do this, cut each steak into 3 strips and set them aside until ready to use.
- Set Up Your Dredging Station – Have a dredging station ready with three rimmed trays or pie dishes. In the first tray whisk together flour, salt, and pepper. In the second try, combine milk and eggs. For the third tray, whisk together flour, cracker crumbs, salt, and black pepper.
- Heat the Oil – Add your oil to a large frying pan, Dutch oven or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and allow the oil to come to temperature.
- Batter the Steak Fingers – Dredge each piece of steak first in the flour mixture, then the egg wash, and lastly, into the flour-cracker mixture.
- Fry the Steak Fingers and Serve Hot – Next it’s into the skillet. Before you begin frying, be sure to have ready a rimmed baking sheet, lined with paper towels. If you want your Steak Fingers to stay crispy on the bottom, place a cooling rack over the paper towels. Then, add the steak fingers to the oil in batches, taking care not to overcrowd the skillet. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, then serve alongside Mashed Potatoes and Homemade Country Gravy and enjoy!
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN THE OIL IS RIGHT FOR FRYING?
If you are new to frying, consider investing in an infrared or candy thermometer. This will help to ensure your oil is within the proper range of temperature.
You can also do a flour test. Once you believe the oil to be at the right temperature, sprinkle a small amount of flour over the grease. If it does nothing (or barely sizzles) the oil is not hot enough. If the flour darkens and smokes right away, the oil is too hot. If the oil is right, the flour will simply bubble up and sizzle, and emit no burning or smoky odor.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH STEAK FINGERS:
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A Steak Fingers Recipe featuring strips of cube steak coated in a flavorful dredge and dropped in sizzling oil until they've achieved crunchy, golden beefy perfection!
- 1 ½ lb Tenderized Cube Steaks
- 2 c All-Purpose Flour separated
- 2 ½ tsp Kosher Salt separated
- 1 ½ tsp Black Pepper separated
- 2 Eggs slightly beaten
- ¾ c Whole Milk
- ¾ c Crushed Saltine Crackers (about 10 crackers)
- 2 c Canola Oil
Cut each steak into 3 strips, about 1 ¼” wide, and set aside until ready to use.
Have a dredging station ready with three rimmed trays or pie dishes. In the first tray whisk together 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon of salt and a ½ teaspoon of pepper. In the second try, combine milk and eggs. For the third tray, whisk together 1 cup flour, cracker crumbs, 1 ½ teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper.
Add canola oil to a large frying pan, Dutch oven, or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and allow to come to temperature. The oil should be between 350°- 375°.
Next to the skillet, have ready a rimmed baking sheet, lined with paper towels. Place a cooling rack atop the paper towels if you do not want the bottom of your steak fingers to get soggy.
In the meantime, dredge each piece of steak in the flour mixture, then the egg wash, followed by the flour-cracker mixture. Make sure to coat both sides of the steak strips thoroughly and evenly across each station.
Add the steak fingers to the oil in batches, taking care not to overcrowd the skillet. Cook for 3 ½ minutes, turn and cook for an additional 3 minutes on the other side.