Oh, I can't resist talking about one of the best chicken-fried steaks I ever had, in someone's home. We're including this story in a forthcoming book:
... we had another paradoxical cowboy-nutrition meal in Henryetta, Oklahoma, at the home of Jim and Sharron Shoulders. Jim is the Babe Ruth of rodeo, but even more distinguished in his field than the Bambino, for the number of World Champion belt buckles he won in the 1950s and into the 1960s for bronc and bull riding has never been equaled or even approached. When he retired, he was one of the several sports stars who was hired to promote Miller Lite (along with his trained Brahma bull); and when we paid a visit in the late 1990s, he and Sharron were enjoying a nice little cattle ranch outside of Henryetta. They invited us to their house for breakfast.
Before sitting down to eat, the Shoulders enthusiastically told us about the breed of cattle they were raising, especially aimed at the modern, nutrition-minded beef eater whose outlook demanded low-fat meals. It is called Salorn, a composite breed of 5/8 French Salers and 3/8 Texas Longhorn blood. They explained that Longhorn stock made for a hardy, adaptable breed; it also meant that Salorn meat was especially lean.
“That’s what we’ll be having for breakfast,” Sharron announced. We wondered if at that moment she could see our faces fall with disappointment. The night before we all had gone out for grand, extremely well-marbled sirloins at Oklahoma City’s premier beef palace, The Cattlemen’s in the old stockyards district. We preceded the steak orgy with a platter of deep-fried Rocky Mountain oysters (testicles), and had plenty of fried potatoes alongside the main course. We were in no mood to start next morning with a slab of stringy, too-lean, no-juice health beef. Our crankiness about the goody-two-shoes meat was exacerbated because we were, quite frankly, disillusioned that our hero, Jim Shoulders, would go over to the other side and submit himself to wimpy beef.
Not to worry. Sharron took four filets of this oh-so-virtuous beef, dunked them in egg wash, dipped them in seasoned flour, then back into the egg, and slid them into a broad cast iron skillet full of bubbling hot lard. In doing so, she transformed the leanest cuts of cow she could find into the most opulent dish beef can be: chicken fried steak. When the steaks came out of the pan, she made thick gravy using pan drippin’s, pepper, and cream. With piles of buttermilk biscuits hot from the oven and plenty of butter and jelly to stuff into the biscuits’ steamy insides, this chicken fried steak was the most delicious diet meal we ever ate.