The State of Chicken-Fried Steak

Who knows the exact origins of chicken-fried steak, but history of the dish traces the German immigration to Texas and their wiener schnitzel. Today’s popular “CFS,” made with various cuts of beef, is a menu staple in the Lone Star State. Which style hits the spot? Bring your appetite and prepare to be impressed!


At the feminine-sounding Pink Magnolia, the chicken-fried steak dinner is fit for a linebacker but just right for a foodie.

It starts with a bed of creamy mashed potatoes topped with housemade creamed corn—chef-owner Blythe Beck calls it naughty corn—and sweet corn kernels. A third layer is slow-cooked greens flavored with a ham hock, Schlitz malt liquor and malt vinegar.

The pièce de résistance is the mammoth rib-eye steak sirloin with a golden and crispy crust—the Chicken-Fried Ribeye. The steak is so tender and perfectly seasoned, you could eat it alone, but you gotta have gravy, right? Beck’s bacon red-eyed gravy is made with onions, garlic, jalapeños and Applewood smoked bacon, and deglazed with bourbon streusel coffee.


Love beefy Texas-style chicken-fried steak? You’re in cluck! The hefty Chicken-Fried Steak at Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile is made with Jacoby brand beef, which comes from the family ranch in Melvin.

All Jacoby brand beef is dry aged for 21 to 28 days, resulting in tender, delicious meat with extra umami flavor. This dish was inspired by the original chicken-fried steak (an old family recipe) proffered at Jacoby’s Café, also in Melvin.

At the Austin Jacoby’s, it’s served in a more modern style with chunky mashed potatoes flavored with cream, butter and fresh herbs, a sprightly arugula salad with vinaigrette and rich, creamy black pepper gravy.


“Wow, that’s huge!” we said, when the CFS hit the table. “I don’t think there is such a thing as a small chicken-fried steak,” quipped chef Jonald Veneracion.

You wouldn’t expect this dish at a wine bar, but this is Texas, so at The Tasting Room, Chicken-Fried Steak and Eggs is served at weekend brunch. A quality rib-eye steak is pounded flat and super tender, and fried with a crunchy, spicy batter. It’s garnished with grated cheddar, scallions and bacon bits for another layer of flavor.

Included are two eggs cooked to your specs (we loved the perfectly cooked sunny-side up eggs), plus thin cheddar biscuits and creamy bacon-fortified country gravy. Grab a freshly squeezed orange juice mimosa and be thankful you live in Texas.

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