Country-Style Steak and Gravy
My mom, Judy, started at the telephone company right out of high school as an operator. She retired as a fiber optics engineer with forty-three years of service to the company.
While I was growing up, my dad was gone a lot for church-related stuff. My mom didn’t get off work ‘til five o’clock, but she’d have a full spread every night for me and my two sisters. Even homemade biscuits were on the table. If I were sentenced to the electric chair tomorrow, I’d want my mom’s country-style steak and gravy, mac and cheese, biscuits, and Biscuit Pudding and Chocolate Gravy as my last meal on earth.
The country-style steak is one of the simplest things ever, and I’m not embarrassed a bit about it. The gravy is just hot water, flour, and onion soup mix. Just like our family, there’s nothing pretentious about it.
COUNTRY-STYLE STEAK AND GRAVY RECIPE
Serves 4 to 8
3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups hot water
1 (2.2-ounce) packet Lipton Beefy Onion soup mix
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 eye of round steaks, each about 8 ounces and 1⁄2 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a jar or other container with a tight-fitting lid, combine the flour, water, and soup mix. Shake vigorously to combine and set aside.
In a 15-inch skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat, heat the vegetable oil. (If you have a smaller skillet, fry the steaks in batches.) Dry the steaks off with a paper towel, then sprinkle both sides of the steaks with salt and pepper. Place in the hot skillet and sear both sides of the steaks, pressing down on them as they cook if necessary, for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove the steaks from the pan. Do not wipe out the pan.
Turn the heat to medium, shake the flour and water mixture again, and pour into the skillet. Using a wooden spoon or heavy whisk, stir the mixture and scrape up any brown bits left from the steak to combine them with the gravy. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, allowing the flour to cook a bit and the gravy to become thick. Add more water if needed to achieve a dense gravy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Turn the heat to low and add the steaks back into the skillet, spooning over some of the gravy to keep the meat moist. Cook, uncovered, for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the steaks are fork tender, spooning the gravy over the steaks every now and then. The meat will continue to release juices into the gravy and help create a rich and flavorful gravy. Serve hot with plenty of gravy covering the steaks.
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Reprinted with permission from Whole Hog BBQ by Sam Jones & Daniel Vaughn, copyright © 2019. Photographs by Denny Culbert. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.