By Steven Ziegler
This blog post has its beginnings a month ago, when I decided to make chicken fried steak for the first time. I found what looked to be a good recipe and gave it a go. It was delicious, and so was the pan gravy. The steaks looked lovely while they were sitting there, oil draining off of them. But, to my great disappointment, when I actually cut into my steak, all of the breading just slid right off. Curses! What to do? I followed the recipe. I did my best to make sure the oil with was the right temperature with my clunky deep fry thermometer, but to no avail.
If this was the first time I had done this, I wouldn't be too upset. But this happens all the time. Whenever I try to fry pork or chicken, I get the same results. I learned enough to get the breading not to fall off in the pan. But when you would go to eat it, you may as well just plan on eating the skin separate from the meat. So I did some playing around and research since the chicken fried steak disappointment. I figured out how to fix this problem. So far I have tested this method on both chicken and pork, and so far the results have been nothing short of amazing.
The two main changes I made to my method of breading meat:
Let the flour set! This is by far the most important thing. Take your moistened meat, flour it, then stick it in the refrigerator for one hour. The flour turns very gluey during this time, and this is what keeps it on the meat. You can fry it right from there, or you can dunk into egg wash and breading.
Use an Instant Read Thermometer! I stink at judging oil temps by sight. I tried using my clunky bi-metal deep fry thermometer, but it is very difficult to use when shallow frying. Then I realized my trusty yellow instant-read meat thermometer was rated up to 450 degrees. This is perfect for shallow frying, because the smaller amount of oil can vary in temperature a great deal. Now my oil is always between 350-360 degrees and my results have been terrific. Not to mention the thin tip is perfect for making sure the breaded meat itself is done to perfection without making big holes in it. At the bottom of this post you will find links to the thermometer and other items mentioned in this blog.
Of course, it is always important not to crown the pan. The Slideshow below explains it all. Now your breading will stay in the pan, on the plate, and even on your meat when sliced thin.