Thursday, August 28, 2014

Chicken Fried Steak with Bacon Gravy equals Love
The obvious twist on this recipe is the bacon gravy, it's delicious! Make the gravy using the same technique you would with sausage, making a rue and then slowly whisking in the milk. There's nothing really specific about the breading for the chicken fried steak so use what ever you prefer. brew a pot of coffee and head out to the back patio to enjoy this one in the morning sun.

1 1/2 to 2 pounds flank steak
Salt and pepper to taste
2 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs, beaten with
2 tablespoons milk
Vegetable oil for frying
6 ounces finely chopped bacon
1/4 cup minced onions
3 cups whole milk


  • Cut the flank steak into four equal portions, crosswise. 
  • Using a meat mallet, pound out the steak, about 1/4-inch. 
  • Season with salt and pepper. 
  • Season 2 cups of the flour with salt and pepper. 
  • Dredge the steaks in the seasoned flour. 
  • Dip the steaks in the egg wash, letting the excess drip off. 
  • Dredge the steaks in the seasoned flour, coating each side completely. 
  • Add enough oil to a large skillet to fill about 1/4-inch of the pan. Heat the oil. 
  • When the oil is hot, carefully lay the steaks in the hot oil.
  • Pan-fry the steaks for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until golden. 
  • Season with salt and pepper. 

  • In another skillet, render the bacon until crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes. 
  • Add the onions and continue to saute for 2 to 3 minutes. 
  • Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of flour and continue to cook for 2 minutes. 
  • Season with salt and black pepper. 
  • Whisk in the milk and bring the liquid to a simmer, cook the gravy for 3 to 4 minutes. 
  • If the gravy is too thick add a little more milk and if too thin, cook a little longer. 
  • Remove from the heat and season with salt an black pepper. 
  • Spoon the gravy over each steak....(Spoon? come on LADLE that gravy baby)
Carl's Cafe is my 4 Ladle local choice for Chicken Fried Steak
Carl's is a tiny little place that seats about 20 people and run by a very nice family. A nice neighborhood atmosphere with a little touch of 70's ski lodge. Speaking of the seventies I think it's been there more than 30 years and has a loyal following of locals, which is a great sign.

The CFS is classic style with sausage gravy and nice shaved fried potatoes. I don't usually mention the bread with my breakfast, but there's is really tasty. Everything is served quickly and with a smile. I'll be back often and not just because it's in my neighborhood.
4 Ladles for Black Bear Diner's CFS
The Black Bear Diner in St. George is a chain restaurant found throughout the west, but the food is quality and made fresh daily. The down side of St. George is that there are no bars, but people who don't drink love fried food, so all is well.

I was in St George for another fish meeting and as happens I needed some CFS. I had to go with the crowd for this meal, so I was a little worried about ending up in a chain. Fortunately I was happily surprised by Black Bear. It's a bit cheesy with the fake newspaper and overdone log cabin theme. The food however was genuine and well prepared. Hand pounded chuck round, fresh breading, and creamy gravy with sausage. The potatoes were shaved and then fried crisply and the easy part; the eggs were cooked to over easy perfection. The coffee was the weak point of the meal, but it was passable.

I left fully satisfied and only slept through two hours of presentations. There happens to be a Black Bear Diner just south of where I live in Cottonwood Heights and I know I'll find the same breakfast there too.
Black Bear Diner has been around

Posted by Paul | File under : , , ,
As often happens when I go on work trips to small towns with lots of other fish squeezers...I drink, I sleep a little, and then wake up just a little drunk and craving chicken fried steak. I walked from my hotel room across the lot to Ricardo's Cafe. Sometimes I need to read the signs in front of me and back out the way I came. Sign 1) I'm the only one in there at 6:30 AM. 2) The waitresses fingernails were falling off her smoke stained fingers. 3) The cook was sitting at the counter eating McDonald's 4) The coffee was so weak that one drop of cream turned it white...You get the point.

I ended up with the very disappointing CFS that I expected. Frozen meat puck fried in mildly rancid oil, floury gravy, barely cooked eggs, and lightly chilled hash browns cooked using the same rancid oil from the fryer.

The meeting was great and the I left with a case of free beer so I can't complain too much; but DAMN, I almost gave up chicken fried steak after that.

An obvious rating of:   Not one god damn ladle!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

I've been here many times while visiting my mom in Red Lodge. It's a classic Montana diner. On one side cafe and bar on the other. We usually sit on the bar side. Coffee, bloody Marys and CFS.

The chicken fried steak is classic too. Good gravy, ground round, and Cholula douced eggs. The breading is minimal and fried but tastey... As long as the oil is fresh. There was one morning when then oil was old and a bit rancid... That's never good; but I've been there enough to know it's an isolated incident.

As with most CFS breakfasts, it holds a special place in my heart because I know good times are about tho be had.

Off to raft the Yellowstone River with the family. Cooler full of food and beer, sunny skies, and nothing more needed.

4 ladles for Red lodge Cafe.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Posted by Paul | File under : , ,
Steelhead fishing is a bit of a snipe chase, but it's always a great time with good friends. This year was no different. We did manage to land one steelhead over the four days, maybe forty smolts, white fish, and suckers. The trip highlights were not fish though, but awesome moments; like an earthquake during my morning crap, a 5-year old from the neighboring camp who delivered perfect jokes, cranberry moonshine that could strip the paint of a truck, and a brand new bb-gun that couldn't miss.

4-ladle chicken fried steak in Challis, ID
After four days of great fun and weather, it was time to try the local chicken fried steak in Challis. We headed over to what is really the only diner in town, The Challis Village Inn and Restaurant (Not the chain). Things were a little busy and they were very short handed, but the service was still good...and so was the breakfast. The steak was fresh not frozen and well breaded. It was a pounded round breaded and lightly fried.  The potatoes were standard hashbrowns and the eggs were also standard and properly cooked. The coffee, conversation and atmosphere were just what I needed before our fiver hour drive home. I give the CFS 4 ladles and the server and cook 5 for dealing with a packed house and no dishwasher or second waiter.

I will definitely be back next year after our next steelhead trip down the Salmon River.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Three days of ice fishing at Flaming Gorge means three chicken fried steak breakfasts to review. Two in Utah and one in Wyoming.

4 Ladles Rating
Lets go by day and start at The Blue Plate Diner here in Salt Lake City. We got a strong start to the weekend by heading straight to one of the top diners in SLC. They offer an excellent variety of breakfast choices with a bustling hipster atmosphere. What to have...chicken fried steak and eggs over easy of course! Homemade daily, crisp breading, meaty white gravy, crunchy home fries, and some toast for sopping yolks and gravy. All their dishes are consistent and well made. The staff is friendly and quick. It's exactly what the doctor ordered on just about any given morning.

2 Ladles Rating
So we stayed out fishing until about 11 pm headed back to our crappy room in Manila, Utah (population not much). Waking up way too early, we headed to the Villa Bar and Grill right in town. There was one other couple there who stayed at the same place and had not slept well either. The Villa is a typical do it all small town restaurant and bar. the staff seemed side tracked but very friendly. Two days in a row for chicken fried steak...of course.  They serve plenty of food but that's about the best thing I can say. The CFS was likely frozen and fried, the gravy was thin, and honestly I don't remember the rest of the meal. The lack of effort made me very sad and I was about to go fish for 12 hours. No time to be sad.

Crazy Ate Cafe Chicken Fried Steak
5 Ladles rating
Now after two days and two nights of ice fishing, I was destroyed. I needed a real pick me up. Thank god for The Crazy Ate Cafe, in Mountain View, Wyoming. The name is cheesy, but this was one of the best chicken fried steak and eggs breakfast I have ever had! Hand made daily, they pound local beef, use their own homemade rolls to make the bread crumbs. Once breaded the steak is baked keeping it very crispy but not at all greasy. It's served with a country gravy, crispy hash browns, toast, and two eggs any style...but they have to be over easy. Drizzle a bit of Chalula over the top and I'm in heaven. The staff was super nice and very proud of their food. The waitress beamed as she gave me all the details on how the CFS was prepared. It's my first 5 Ladles rating! Next time I pass through I'll be sure to stop back in.

I'm not sure when it started, but I can't remember not loving chicken fried steak. Breakfast is my favorite meal and since I prefer eating over cooking, I have tried CFS from at least a hundred restaurants and counting.

I'll review my favorites of the past, present and future. I'll also throw in a few recipes for the motivated. Any location suggestions will be considered as long as it's not too far from home - Utah. I know we're not the capitol of chicken fried steak, but I'm the self proclaimed ambassador.

On to the games!