Wild Oats’ Chicken-Fried Steak
You can taste the spirit of the Lone Star State in every dish on the menu at Wild Oats in Houston! You can’t go wrong with anything you order, but their chicken-fried steak is said to be one of the best in the state. They don’t serve it with your average gravy—this one is loaded with smokey bacon and spicy jalapeños.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons onion powder
- 2 Tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 Tablespoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 cups buttermilk
- ½ cup ranch seasoning
- Eight 4-ounce boneless sirloin steaks pounded ⅛-inch thick
- 6 cups vegetable oil
- 1 large jalapeño
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 10 strips bacon chopped
- 2 small onions finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups whole milk
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Mashed potatoes and green beans for serving
Prepare the Steaks
- Whisk the flour with the onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and baking powder. Divide into two shallow bowls. Combine the buttermilk and ranch seasoning in a third bowl.
- Working one at a time, dredge the steaks in one bowl of the seasoned flour and dust off any excess. Then dip in the ranch buttermilk, letting any excess drip off, then dredge again in the second bowl of seasoned flour. Transfer to a plate. Place the breaded steaks in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before cooking; this will help the batter stick to the meat and not come off during frying.
Make the Gravy
- Using tongs, roast the jalapeño over a gas flame or under the broiler, turning occasionally, until completely charred. Transfer to a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let steam for 10 minutes. When the pepper is cool enough to handle, peel, stem and seed the jalapeño. Then finely chop and set aside.
- In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Sprinkle the flour over the top and then whisk until a paste forms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it smells toasty, about 1 minute. Gradually stream in the milk while whisking constantly. This is important to make sure there are no lumps in your gravy. Cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until the gravy begins to thicken, about 10 minutes. The gravy should just coat the back of a spoon when it is done. Stir in the jalapeño and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat.
Cook the Steaks
- In a large Dutch oven or deep fryer, heat the oil to 350°F. Working in batches, fry the steaks, flipping once, until golden brown and crispy, 1 to 2 minutes per side. The steaks should not be touching each other. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain and season with salt. Repeat with the remaining steaks.
- To serve, place a small ladle of gravy on a plate. Top with one steak, then another ladle of gravy on top, add another steak and more gravy. This gives you the perfect gravy-to-steak ratio! Serve with mashed potatoes and green beans, if desired. Yeehaw!
Recipe and photo courtesy of Wild Oats.
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