Our best chicken-fried steak recipe will transport you straight to a Texas corner grill. For many from the Lone Star State, the tender cutlet with its crispy, golden crust and blanket of peppery white gravy is the ultimate comfort food, right up there with mac and cheese and stewed collards. Contrary to what you may think, there’s no chicken here. The name, sometimes rephrased as country-fried steak, comes because the crust should mimic that of another Southern icon, fried chicken. You won’t need a deep fryer here, though, since the thin cut of beef cooks quickly when shallow-fried in a deep-sided pan (a cast-iron skillet is ideal).

For the beef, look for cube steak (sometimes labelled round steak), a relatively affordable cut of meat that’s usually been docked by a tenderizer before packaging. If yours hasn’t, use the pointed side of a meat mallet to work the steak into thin cutlets. We add a bit of cornstarch to the seasoned flour mixture, a nontraditional touch that ensures the breading comes out crisp. After frying the steak in hot oil, you’ll use the same pan (and the drippings) to make the rich cream gravy. Thickened with a roux, this country gravy recipe gets its boost of umami from Worcestershire and soy sauce and balance from sharp Dijon and hot sauce.

For a classic square meal, serve chicken-fried steak with buttermilk mashed potatoes, green beans, and cornbread—yeehaw, optional.