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Are Chicken Fried and Country Fried Steak the Same Thing?

I've always been curious to know myself — so you can imagine my delight when The New York Times and Southern food expert John T. Edge answered my own personal burning question. Find out what the answer is when you


To many Americans, the terms "chicken fried steak" and "country fried steak" are used interchangeably to describe steak that's been pounded, coated and fried, and served with gravy. But there is a regional distinction, Edge maintains: Country-fried steak is a "pan-Southern" dish — a dish that sort of embodies the cuisine of the collective South — and is usually simmered in gravy. Chicken fried steak is a Texas variation that's fried and served alongside creamy gravy.

Other authorities contend that chicken fried steak, a favorite in Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma, is deep-fried in the manner of fried chicken, as opposed to country fried steak — popular in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and the Carolinas — which is dredged and then pan-fried in gravy. And although the gravy in country fried steak may be brown or white, chicken fried steak is served with a white pepper gravy.

Were you aware of the distinction? Do you prefer country fried steak or chicken fried steak?

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LysisAG LysisAG 4 years
The difference is in the crispness of the final product. Country fried steak spends the last part of the cooking process submerged in gravy so it won't have a crispy outer texture. Chicken fried steak can be either deep fried or pan fried but the gravy (usually white cream gravy) is not added to the plate until just before serving so the fried outside won't become soggy. Is it a southern dish, yes. Is it a German inspired dish, yes. Thousands of German immigrants flooded the hill country of central Texas in the mid-1800's. Frankly, I don't know anyone who thinks chicken fried steak is anything BUT southern food.
wtf-kas wtf-kas 7 years
i'm from north carolina and down here, chicken fried steak with the white gravy is where it's at. we never do country style and now that i think about it, brown gravy in general really isn't that popular around here. and miznic, "chicken fried chicken" in my experience normally just means a huge, no one-should-ever-eat-the-whole-thing sized piece/portion of chicken! :)
Spectra Spectra 7 years
My grandma, who is from Alabama, always made country-fried steak with lots of brown pan gravy. It was SO yummy! I remember her serving it with homemade biscuits to sop up the gravy and yes, it was some dang good beef.
miznic miznic 7 years
I saw a restaurant here in town serving something called "chicken fried chicken"... and wondered how somebody actually DOES that...
karlorene karlorene 7 years
chicken fried
esk4 esk4 7 years
I now know what we are doing for sunday dinner... I love the white pepper gravy...
esk4 esk4 7 years
I now know what we are doing for sunday dinner... I love the white pepper gravy...
sfunkera sfunkera 7 years
Chicken fried is one of my favorites but I haven't had it in 2 years. Maybe it's about time...
doogirl doogirl 7 years
Wackdoodle, I think I love June-June!!! And she was right!
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 7 years
I loves me some chicken fried steak! I'm not so keen to have my steak drowning in gravy though. My favorite place puts the gravy down first so the steak stays crunchy on top. YUM!
aimeeb aimeeb 7 years
That secretly looks good to me.
suziryder suziryder 7 years
Wow, apparently I'm missing something.. I've never had either! I guess I should try it out sometime :)
wackdoodle wackdoodle 7 years
Ha ha no they're not the same thing. I remember asking my North Carolina born granny about Chicken Fried Steak after she made it for breakfast cuz she knew I loved it. I said "June-June (that was my grans nickname) is chicken fried steak - cow or chicken?" She said "Honey it's cow that's beat to hell and cooked like fried chicken. And it's damn good, right?" Right June-June damn good eats.
care0531 care0531 7 years
I have had both and the chicken fried steak seemed better to me. However I did just recently get the chicken fried steak from Boston Market and that is not a steak! It's chicken.
roxyb roxyb 7 years
Chicken fried steak...that plate of food looks so good that I just licked the screen - fat free Friday lunch cannot get here soon enough.
Frika Frika 7 years
mmm, chicken fried steak...I may need to go out for dinner tonight now for some! haha! I just have to convince my husband it's in the budget, though being a country boy himself, it shouldn't take too much persuading to get him to agree
Rancher'sGirl Rancher'sGirl 7 years
Oh, and chicken fried steak is often served with mashed potatoes with gravy on them. :drool:
Rancher'sGirl Rancher'sGirl 7 years
Yep, I knew the difference. :) I savor every bite of both but I do prefer white or cream gravy! Now I'm craving chicken-fried steak and gravy! :drool:
Smacks83 Smacks83 7 years
They both sound yummy, I may lean towards chicken fried because I like the crispy texture and I looooove the white pepper gravy!
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
When I was searching for a recipe a couple months ago, there was no real distinction made in those that I found. It was pounded, dredged, and then pan-fried, with creamy gravy on the side. Whatever you want to call it though, it was delicious!
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