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The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Perfect Cut of Meat for Chicken Fried Steak

Is there an ideal cut of meat for chicken fried steak?

A well-cooked chicken fried steak is one of life’s most delicious pleasures. The crispy fried coating paired with the signature white gravy is a combination so good it makes you want to slap your mama (as they say in the South). While the warming flavors and comforting textures of this down-home dish are perfectly unpretentious, the reality is that whipping up a chicken-fried steak is something of a culinary feat. Luckily, Mashed recipe developer Keith Kamikawa has come up with the ultimate chicken fried steak recipe to help you create some country fried magic right at home.

The importance of the perfect cut of beef

While the dish’s rich, peppery gravy always seems to steal the show, you can’t make the perfect chicken fried steak without the perfect cut of beef. According to Kamikawa, rump roast is the best choice for this recipe. Harvested from the upper part of the cow’s hindquarters, rump roast is dense with muscle, making it a lean, intensely flavorful cut of meat.
Containing significantly less fat than a New York strip or T-bone steak, rump roast is typically used in dishes that require slow cooking, such as a stew or pot roast, because a slower cooking method gives the tough muscle tissue enough time to soften. In the case of Mashed Food developer Keith Kamikawa’s recipe for chicken-fried steak, however, the rump roast is cut into smaller 4- to 5-ounce steaks and tenderized with a mallet until the steak is no more than ⅓ inch thick.

The Versatility of Cube Steak

After the meat is sufficiently tenderized, you have a cut of beef often referred to as a cube steak. The most popular cut for making a chicken fried steak, cube steak is an extremely thin and juicy cut marked with tiny, square indentations left over from the tenderizing process. If tenderizing your own rump roast feels a little out of your wheelhouse, you can also purchase tenderized cube steak straight from the grocery store.

Explore other options

However, if you don’t have rump roast or cubed steak on hand, don’t have a cow! “As with most recipes, there’s a bit of latitude with this one,” says Kamikawa, “If you have flank steak on hand, use it. Got a big T-bone? Cut it up and use that.” As long as the meat is properly thin and properly tenderized, this recipe is sure to be “slap your mama” good.
So the ideal cut of meat for chicken-fried steak is a rump roast that is tenderized to make a cube steak. However, you have options and can use other cuts of beef as long as they are properly tenderized. Enjoy the delicious flavors of this classic Southern dish in the comfort of your own home!


What is chicken fried steak?

Chicken fried steak is a southern dish consisting of a breaded and fried piece of beef steak. It is typically served with a creamy white sauce.

Why is the choice of meat important for chicken fried steak?

The choice of meat is important because it affects the texture and flavor of the dish. Tender cuts of meat are preferred to ensure a juicy and tender steak.

Why is rump the ideal cut of meat for chicken fried steak?

Rump roast is considered the ideal cut for chicken fried steak because it is lean, flavorful and dense with muscle. It can be sliced into thin steaks and tenderized to achieve the desired texture.

Can I use other cuts of beef to make Chicken Fried Steak?

Absolutely! While rump roast is the recommended cut, you can use other cuts such as flank steak or T-bone steak. Just be sure to tenderize the meat properly to achieve the desired tenderness.

What is Cube Steak?

Cube steak is the result of tenderizing rump roast or another cut of beef. It is characterized by tiny, square indentations left over from the tenderizing process. Cube steak is a popular choice for making chicken fried steak.

Can I buy pre-tenderized ground beef at the grocery store?

Yes, if you prefer convenience, you can purchase Pre-Tenderized Cube Steak directly from the grocery store. This eliminates the need to tenderize the meat yourself.

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