Chicken-Fried Steak is so 'Texas', and the Austin dance hall has one of the best in the state. One of the old traditional ways to tenderize the beef was to pound the "heck" out of it with a Coke bottle or saucer. Rich, peppery gravy is a must for a successful chicken-fried steak. I recommend a round steak, pounded into tender submission by hand rather than machine-tenderized cube steaks.
- Whip together egg, buttermilk, salt and pepper in a large bowl; set aside.
- Blend together flour and cracker meal in another bowl.
- Place cutlet in mixture, and cover both sides well.
- Submerge the cutlet in the egg batter; then place back in the flour mixture, patting both sides again evenly to coat.
- Melt shortening in a deep fryer (or cast-iron skillet), and heat to 325ºF.
- Place cutlet in fryer and fry until it floats and turns golden.
- Remove steak from fryer, drain well, reserving 1/2 cup drippings for gravy.
- To Make Cream Gravy: Place reserved drippings in a 10 inch cast-iron skillet, and heat until hot.
- Gradually add flour, and cook over low heat until mixture turns brown, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.
- Add remaining ingredients, and cook, stirring constantly, until thick.
- If gravy gets too thick, thin to desired consistency with water.
- Note: This recipe makes enough gravy for 4 steaks.