Donnie Ray shares his recipe for crispy coated round steak strips that are sure to please.
Almost every Sunday through the 1960’s, we would head out to Centralia, Oklahoma to my grandparents’ home for dinner and spend the afternoon. My grandmother, Marie Miller, would always have a big meal prepared, feeding as many as a dozen or more people Sunday dinner each week.
Grandma was the Head Cook for the Centralia school system, and after its closing, transferred to the Bluejacket school system, where she retired in the mid 1980’s. Not only was cooking her job, but she would also prepare three meals a day at home when she wasn’t working. I can remember during the summer while spending time there, she would get up in the morning and prepare a large breakfast, then put together my grandpa's lunch to take with him to the hayfield, and have a large evening meal prepared when he got home at the end of the day. She then turned around and did the same thing the next day and every day, with the exception of Sunday, when she would prepare breakfast, clean up in the kitchen, and then start on Sunday dinner.
Now these meals she prepared were not as simple as throwing a pop tart in the toaster for breakfast or heating up something in the microwave for dinner, because there were no microwaves in those days, and she didn’t even own a toaster. In fact, I’m not sure if she EVER owned a toaster in her life? At least I don’t remember one. No, for breakfast, she would usually have grandpa a bowl of cereal and some sliced cantaloupe to start out with, and while he was eating that, she would prepare his bacon, eggs, and pancakes or skillet toast to finish up with. She then would prepare more eggs and bacon to make his sandwiches with for lunch, and her evening meals always included some type meat, potatoes, and veggies. She made great fried potatoes!
A great deal of the food my grandparents consumed was either home raised or purchased fresh, then canned or frozen. They raised their own beef and chicken, family and friends provided plenty of fresh fish from the stock ponds in the area, as well as wild game like ducks, geese, dove, and bob white quail. Grandpa also raised white guineas which we would eat quite often. But, one of my all-time favorites that grandma would prepare and we usually only had for Sunday dinner, were her oven fried home raised beef round steak. It was always tender and tasty.
I never knew grandma’s exact method of preparing her round steak, but I did see her prepare it a few times, and I have the general idea of what she was doing. She would cut the steak up in pieces, season with salt and pepper, roll the steak pieces in flour, and lightly brown them in a skillet. She would then place the steak pieces in a glass casserole dish and place in the oven. I don’t know what the oven temp was, or how she created enough moisture in the pan to make the steak pieces tender and juicy, but they always turned out perfect.
After I became grown and married, one of my late wife’s signature dishes was her steak fingers and white gravy. Even today, my children, as well as me, still talk about that being one of our favorite meals made by their mother. They are made on the same concept as what my grandmother used to do; using round steak, only prepared slightly different. The biggest difference is my grandmother knew nothing about marinating, and probably never heard of it, but this is a must, if you are NOT using Grandma’s method of oven frying the round steak and expect the finished product to be tender. But prepared either way, these tender morsels of beef are heaven in your mouth when served with good gravy to dip them in or ladled over the top.
Round Steak Fingers
Ingredients1 round steak 2 cups flour Dash of cayenne pepper Dash of garlic powder Salt and pepper to taste 1 egg Buttermilk Crisco oil Worcestershire sauce and Soy Sauce for marinade *or use Moors Marinade
Trim the fat from the round steak. Take a sharp knife and cut the steak into strips roughly 1” wide. Place in a Ziploc bag with the marinade and refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight.
When ready to cook, in a bowl mix egg and buttermilk together and place flour seasoned with the salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic powder to taste in another bowl.
Remove steak fingers from the bag and dip them in the flour, buttermilk mixture, and back in the flour. Shake off excess flour and place on a rack.
Heat the oil in a skillet or deep fryer to about 350F in the fryer, or on medium heat in the skillet.
Place the steak fingers in the oil and cook until golden brown on each side, and the desired doneness internally.
Retain the drippings from the steak to make your gravy with and serve.