Why Is It Called Chicken Fried Steak If It's Made With Beef?

Why is chicken-fried steak called what it is if it's made with beef? It's the food mystery of all food mysteries. Right up there with why albacore tuna is often referred to as the "chicken of the sea," and how buffalo wings (can buffaloes actually fly?) got their name. Well, not really. Thankfully we all know how to use Google and we're just one quick search away from being free of any possible misconceptions. Still, these names can make the brain do a double take when we hear them, even after we know the logic behind them.

So, if albacore tuna is called "chicken of the sea" because of its mild, chicken-like flavor and white appearance (it's the only tuna categorized as "white meat"), and buffalo wings are named after the city where they were invented, Buffalo, New York, then, what exactly is the story behind chicken-fried steak?

What is chicken-fried steak?

A favorite dish in the south, and a much-beloved staple on diner menus throughout the country, chicken-fried steak is simply steak that is cooked using the same method as, you guessed it, fried chicken. Usually made with a cheaper cut of beef such as a cube or round steak, the meat is first tenderized before being immersed in an egg batter, coated with seasoned flour, and deep fried to a golden brown. 

Succulently crisp, chicken-fried steak is often served at breakfast with eggs and either biscuits or hash browns, and most importantly an ample portion of creamy, pepper-flecked, white gravy on the side (to prevent the batter from getting soggy). Not a breakfast person? No worries. Like its closely-related, brown-gravy cousin, country-fried steak, it can also be served for dinner, typically with mashed potatoes and collard greens. Either way, it's sure to deliver an addictively rich helping of southern comfort right to your gullet.