Extra Spice Is The Secret To Upgrading Your Chicken Fried Steak

While cube steak isn't quite as steak-like as sirloin or strip, and therefore not the kind of thing you might eat on its own with any degree of enthusiasm, once you bread it and fry it, the chopped meat is transformed into a much more satisfying dish called chicken fried steak. Even this preparation, though, can be a bit on the bland side, so spice lovers may welcome the idea of a hybrid such as Nashville hot chicken fried steak.

There's no real secret to making this mashup since all you need to do is start with a basic chicken fried steak recipe (or one that uses an air fryer, if you don't want the mess of deep frying). You start by seasoning the bread crumbs as you usually would, using spices such as black pepper, paprika, and garlic powder, but then mix in a whole mess of cayenne — you can go with up to 3 tablespoons if you want seriously spicy steak, but it's okay to use less if you'd prefer a more moderate level of heat. You can also stir 1 or 2 teaspoons of hot sauce into the egg and milk mixture you'll be dipping the meat in, then proceed to fry (or convection bake, in the case of an air fryer) as your recipe directs.

You can also spice up your steak by tweaking the coating and toppings

If you'd like to upgrade your chicken fried steak with a head-to-toe spicy makeover (or, to be fowl, a beak-to-tailfeathers one), you needn't stick to adding some heat to the meat's inner coating. You could also replace those boring breadcrumbs with crushed tortilla chips, preferably something in a fiery flavor like Doritos Dinamita, Takis Fuego, or any of the other super-spicy chip flavors currently available. If you want to go with something more keto-friendly, you could crush up a can of one of the Blue Diamond almonds Xtreme flavors like cayenne, ghost pepper, or Carolina Reaper.

Chicken fried steak is typically topped with a cream gravy that gets a very mild burn from black pepper, but here, too, you can add either crushed or powdered dried chiles like cayenne or chipotle or chopped fresh ones such as serranos or habaneros. You needn't even stick with a cream gravy at all, since another option is to replace this sauce with a peppery pico de gallo or a jar of queso dip jazzed up with pickled jalapeños.