Hickory Smoked Chicken Fried Steak with Spicy Cream Gravy

Cold smoking meats before frying, baking or sautéing adds a wonderful smoked flavor to traditionally prepared foods. This chicken fried steak recipe uses the best quality steaks that are cold smoked, then floured and fried. Even the cream gravy has a hint of smoky flavor from the fried steak drippings. These smoky steaks make delicious sandwiches, too.

Ingredients:

Chicken Fried Steaks:

3 hickory wood chunks
6 - 8 oz. beef round steaks
4 cups buttermilk
2 ½ cups flour
2 ¼ teaspoons garlic salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper Canola oil for frying

Cream Gravy:

10 tablespoons flour
7 cups milk
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1 ¼ teaspoons freshly ground pepper

Place dry wood chunks on charcoal or lava rocks; do not use liquid in water pan. Pound or have butcher pound steaks to tenderize until about 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick. Place steaks in smoker basket and set on upper level grill. Cold smoke steaks for 30 minutes.

Place smoked steaks in a shallow casserole dish and pour in buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 16 hours. The buttermilk will further tenderize the steaks. Combine flour, garlic salt and pepper in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Remove steaks from buttermilk and coat with flour mixture.

Pour 1 inch of canola oil into a large frying skillet and heat over medium heat until lightly smoking Fry steaks about 1 ½ to 2 minutes per side until golden brown. Remove steaks, drain on paper towels and keep warm.

To make gravy, keep 8 tablespoons of oil with drippings in the frying pan. Over medium heat, blend flour and oil with a whisk and cook until golden brown, whisking continuously, gradually pour in milk as you whisk until gravy is blended to a creamy consistency. Blend in Tabasco, pepper and salt to taste. Serve gravy piping hot over steaks and mashed potatoes.

Serves 6