Uncovering the Truth: Is Country Fried Steak Real Steak?

Country fried steak is a real steak made with cube steak, originating in the US with German immigrants. It differs from chicken fried steak in ingredients and gravy, often served with classic comfort foods like mashed potatoes and vegetables.

Is Country Fried Steak Actually Steak?

Country fried steak, a beloved dish with roots in Texas and German culinary traditions, is a variation of fried steak popular in the United States. This article aims to explore the origins, ingredients, and unique characteristics of this comforting classic.

Country fried steak, also known as smothered steak, emerged in the late 1800s among Austrian and German immigrants settling in Texas. It’s a close relative of Wienerschnitzel, featuring battered and fried cube steak topped with gravy, reminiscent of the Italian cotoletta alla Milanese.

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Is Country Fried Steak Actually Steak: What Is Country Fried Steak Made Of? 

Typically, it’s made from tenderized cube steak, which comes from the top round or top sirloin. This cut is often less expensive and tougher, but when tenderized and coated in seasoned flour, and then fried, it becomes a hearty and flavorful dish. So, while it’s not always made from classic steak cuts like ribeye or T-bone, it still falls under the broader category of beef steak.

Preparing Country Fried Steak: A Step-by-Step Guide for Delicious Results

Perfect your country fried steak with this simple-to-follow guide. Here’s how to prepare it:


  • Cube steak
  • All-purpose flour
  • Spices such as salt and pepper
  • Cooking oil for frying
  • Ingredients for gravy (optional)

Cooking Instructions

  1. Tenderize cube steak with a meat mallet.
  2. Season steak with salt and pepper.
  3. Dredge steak in flour, ensuring even coating.
  4. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  5. Fry steak until golden brown on both sides.
  6. Prepare gravy using drippings from the skillet.
  7. Serve steak with gravy and side dishes.

Side Dishes Served with Country Fried Steak

  • Mashed potatoes with gravy
  • Green beans or okra
  • Cornbread with butter and honey
  • Fresh or canned vegetables like tomatoes, black-eyed peas, collard greens
  • Toast or biscuits
  • Fruit (optional)

Are Chicken Fried and Country Fried Steak the Same?

Chicken fried steak and country fried steak are often used interchangeably, but there are distinctions. Both feature fried cube steak with gravy, but the gravies differ – brown for country fried, white for chicken fried. Country fried steak typically has a simpler flour coating and is served with brown gravy made from steak drippings. It lacks eggs in the batter, reflecting a time when resources were scarce. Conversely, chicken fried steak includes eggs and often a crunchier cracker coating reminiscent of fried chicken, despite containing no chicken.

Other Dishes That Are Similar to Country Fried Steak

Similar to country fried steak, other dishes follow the battered and fried meat concept. Chicken fried chicken, unlike its beef counterpart, uses tenderized breaded chicken fried and topped with white gravy. In German cuisine, Hänchen-Schnitzel is a milder alternative made with fried chicken. Pork loin versions also exist, and Wienerschnitzel, made from veal, is considered the original inspiration for these dishes.

Why Is Cube Steak Used in Country Fried Steak?

Cubed Steak

The choice of cube steak was logical, according to The Culture Trip. The original German recipe calls for veal, and Austrian and German immigrants looking to localize the dish would have looked for an inexpensive substitute, in this case, cube steak. In the 1880s, people bought tough cuts of meat because they could afford them. Those cuts of meat were also easier for the average person to find. The tenderizing, breading, and spices made these cheap cuts of meat more palatable as well as more tender. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is country fried steak pork or beef?

Country fried steak is typically made from beef, often using cube steak, which is tenderized beef cut from the top round or top sirloin.

Is country fried steak Vs chicken fried steak?

Country fried steak and chicken fried steak are similar dishes, both involving battered and fried meat. However, they differ in the type of meat used and sometimes in the gravy served with them. Country fried steak is typically made with beef, while chicken fried steak, as the name suggests, is made with chicken.

Is country fried steak healthy?

Country fried steak is generally not considered a health food due to its high fat and calorie content. It’s typically breaded, fried, and often served with gravy, which adds to its calorie count. However, you can make healthier versions by using lean cuts of meat, baking instead of frying, and opting for lighter gravy options.

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