Recipe: Andrew Zimmern's Chicken Fried Steak

Route 66 might well be the most famous stretch of highway in the world. It stretches across eight states, from Chicago to Los Angeles, and has been a pop culture icon since its inception. For one episode of season 9 of Bizarre Foods dedicated to the historic highway, Andrew Zimmern zeroes in on Oklahoma, where Route 66 was actually conceived. Throughout his travels, he meets historians, gets some new tattoo inspiration and tags along on a Midwest fishing trip. But one stop in particular inspired him to create his own recipe for a true American classic: chicken fried steak. At Clanton's Cafe in Vinita, Okla., the generations of owners have been serving up their massive chicken fried steaks the same way since they opened nearly 100 years ago in 1927. Watch the video and find directions for Andrew's own version of chicken fried steak below. 

Andrew's Chicken Fried Steak 03:22

Andrew shares his recipe for Oklahoma-style chicken fried steak.

Chicken Fried Steak with Cream Gravy

Serves 4


2 pounds sirloin tip steaks
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup cornstarch
2 quarts peanut or canola oil

The Gravy

1 small finely minced onion
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pinch nutmeg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk


Cut the sirloin into 4 pieces. Pound each steak until it is roughly 1/3-inch thick, using the flat side of a meat mallet. Then take the spiky, sharp side of the mallet and pound each side of the steak uniformly. Season the steaks with salt and pepper. 

In a shallow bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, paprika, black pepper, salt and onion powder. Whisk together the egg and the buttermilk in a separate shallow dish. Place the cornstarch in a third large shallow dish. 

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven to 375 degrees. 

Working one steak at a time, coat well in cornstarch. Lift steak, shake off excess cornstarch, then transfer to egg mixture. Coat steak well in egg mixture, lift steak, letting excess egg drain off, then transfer to seasoned flour mixture. Coat steak well, pressing seasoned flour all over to help it adhere to the meat. Place the steak on a wire cookie rack. Repeat until all steaks are ready for fryer.

Carefully place each steak in the oil. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, turning occasionally. Reserve to a plate lined with a paper towel. Season with sea salt.

Working quickly, pour the oil out of the pot and into a large metal work bowl to cool, reserving a few tablespoons and the sticky bits in the bottom of the pot.

Return pan to the heat. Add the onion, thyme sprig, pepper, cayenne and nutmeg to the reserved oil. Brown the onions slightly and then add the flour. Whisk until the roux turns a light brown color. Slowly whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; season with salt and additional pepper to taste.

Transfer steaks to plates, top with gravy and serve immediately with mashed potatoes.

Recipe compliments of Andrew Zimmern. Visit for more recipes like this.  

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