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 read more.
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?