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After a long drive, we arrived in Balmorhea, TX. A professor was taking a group of students for their Open Water dives in the pretty spring-fed pool in the State Park and I had tagged along to help out as a Dive Master and get my feet wet again after a few months in Texas. Before checking into our cabin, we found a little local restaurant and stopped for dinner. That was my very first encounter with chicken fried steak. I saw it on the menu, and chicken-lover that I am, I dodged some of the TexMex options I didn’t know for some fried chicken – or so I thought.

That was back in 2002 and in retrospect the word “steak” should have tipped me off… But I didn’t even question it. When my dish arrived and I started to dig in, I thought that it was very dark meat and was too embarrassed to ask what I was actually eating. It’s 2011 now and I know that chicken fried steak is breaded and fried cube steak, i.e. beef. Who knew?! Notice that one the menu below they actually list chicken fried chicken. How weird is that?

If you like this post, you can find more in my Only in Texas series.

Only in Texas: Chicken Fried Steak

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  • Ali says:

    Despite having lived in GA for 16 years, I’ve still never tried it. I’ve also seen chicken friend chicken on menus, which sounds really confusing to me. Isn’t that just fried chicken? Speaking of southern food, have you tried grits? Definitely a southern thing, and I just can’t get used to it.
    Ali recently posted..Adventures in Flight Booking

    • Sabrina says:

      Yes, on the picture I posted they actually list both: chicken fried steak and chicken fried chicken. Too funny 🙂 Grits? I’ve tried them once before at a brunch… can’t get into the texture. The taste is not horrible, but I’m not a fan either. I do love the BBQ they do here though! I was never a big steak fan until I moved here.

  • Denise says:

    erm…that really makes little sense. Where does the ‘chicken’ actually come into it then??? hihi
    Denise recently posted..Spring and Cows are back

  • Laurel says:

    The name of it really doesn’t make sense, but it tastes so good. Did you like it?
    Laurel recently posted..Finding Home When Traveling the World

    • Sabrina says:

      You know… back then, I had no idea what I was eating and was embarrased to ask. So I just slathered on the gravy. And since then I’ve never had it again! Can you believe it? I’ll go have one one of these days and report back. I’m sure it’s pretty good 🙂

  • Pit Vins says:

    Hallo Sabrina,
    Deine Story hier erinnert mich an ein Erlebnis noch zur Studentenzeit in Bonn, als ein englischer Gastprofessor im damaligen Hofbräukeller einen “Halven Hahn” bestellte und – Du kannst es Dir denken – ziemlich überrascht war über das, was er bekam. Wir haben natürlich herzhaft gelacht, ihn aufgeklärt und den “Halven Hahn” übernommen, damit er dann wirklich ein halbes Hähnchen bestellen und genießen konnte.
    Liebe Grüße von einem ehemaligen Rheinländer,
    Pit Vins recently posted..R2D2

    • Sabrina says:

      Haha! Der Halve Hahn 🙂 Das Gesicht des Profs kann ich mir gut vorstellen 🙂 Da gibt’s schon so einige Ausdruecke in Deutschland in den verschiedenen Regionen, die auch nicht viel Sinn machen…

  • Pit Vins says:

    P.S.: Zu chicken fried steak habe ich mich hier übrigens noch nicht durchringen können!
    Pit Vins recently posted..R2D2

    • Sabrina says:

      Ich habe es seit dem ersten Mal als ich es unabsichtlich bestellt habe auch nicht mehr gegessen. Soll aber ganz gut sein… Werde mich mal irgendwann dazu durchringen. In Deutschland ist das wahre Wiener Schnitzel ja auch aus Kalbfleisch.

  • Nicole says:

    Hello Sabrina,

    You know, this is one of those funny little mainly southern American (think Hill-billy) oddities. I’m an American who grew up all over America (and Panama and Germany (Hunsruck!)) and I have seen this all over the south. I ate it on occasion and have seen it on the menu in the following states: Virginia, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Mississippi, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Utah, California, Oregon, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin.

    It is almost always served with white-pepper or beef gravy and a side of mashed potatoes and green beans and a tall iced black tea. Yee-haw! 😛

    Chicken-fried steak was once the signature menu item of once ubiquitous and now mostly-defunct “Po’ Folks” restaurant and is also on the menu of Bob Evan’s restaurants. I used to love it as a kid, then I moved to Germany and learned what food is. Anywho…

    Balmorhea pool and park is a Texas surprise. My cousins took me there a few years ago and it is such a nice place. If you ever get a chance to go into tiny Balmorhea, Texas you should do so. It is such a tiny, stereotypical west Texas desert town and so charmingly quaint. I think maybe 4 people live there anymore nowadays. It has a tiny, cool stream that runs through town and you can almost feel the ghosts of cowboys breathing down your neck while you watch the tumbleweeds roll along. Beautiful.

    I just discovered and am devouring your blog. It’s something that in many ways I can really identify with. I also got the blues in February when Fasching rolled around. I found your post on Nazis also… People never seem to understand why Nazis aren’t funny and why anyone would be required to go to a concentration camp while in school. I’m looking forward to many thought provoking and interesting future posts! Happy Easter!

    • Sabrina says:

      Wow, I had no idea they had chicken fried steak in all of those states!! I’m going to a chicken fried steak festival next week. It’ll be the first time I eat it since that time in Balmorhea when I had no idea what I was eating 🙂 If we ever do make it back to Balmorhea I’ll totally check out the town. Thanks for the tip. Crazy how small some of these towns here are!! And I can;t believe you mentioned the tumble weed!! Isn’t that so cliche?! The first time I saw one of them, I couldn’t believe it. Am working on a post about Texas road trips and that will include a picture of one 😉

      About the Nazi stuff… have you ever heard about The Third Wave? We watched a movie called “Die Welle” based on that real-life experiment in high school in Germany. It’s so scary how regular people can fall behind one person…

      Thanks so much for your kind words about my blog!! You honestly made my day 🙂 Happy Easter to you as well!

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