I am happy to share that this Idaho finger steaks recipe was a hit! Crispy and perfectly seasoned on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside. They were addicting little strips of goodness! Who knew finger steaks could be so good? Truth be told, I was not very excited about having to make finger steaks for our Idaho state dinner. They reminded me of country fried steak fingers that you get at some low-end fast food restaurants here in Texas. But one bite into these finger steaks and I was hooked!
How to Cut Your Finger Steaks
Idaho finger steaks can be melt in your mouth amazing, or chewy and hard to eat. The difference is largely due to how you cut your meat. Steak has natural fibers that go across the meat. This is nature’s natural separator. If you cut in line with these fibers then your teeth will have to do all of the work to separate the meat. By cutting against the grain, meaning in the opposite direction of the fibers, your meat will be easy to eat. In the photo below I have given you examples of both. The meat on the right is cut in line with the grain (the wrong way). You want to cut yours like the meat on the left, against the grain.
Take a look at your meat and you will see lines moving parallel all the way across the meat. If the grain is going vertically, cut horizontally. Finger steaks should be cut into 1/2-inch by 3-inch pieces. If you have thick steaks you will want to cut them down thinner, to about 1/2-inch as well.
The Magic of Marinating
The next secret for melt in your mouth tender finger steaks is to marinate the meat for 2 hours. We use buttermilk as the base for this marinade. The lactic acid in the buttermilk breaks down the muscle fibers and collagen in the meat. Then, we add egg and Worcestershire sauce to boost the flavor and help the flour stick to the meat in our next step.
It’s time to bread our meat! We take perfectly seasoned flour and fully coat each piece of steak. This can be done in batches, but make sure each individual piece is well coated. Next, lay out each piece in a single layer on parchment. It is important to let the meat sit for at least 10 minutes to help the breading adhere to the meat. The last thing you want is for all of your breading to fall off in the pan! At this point, you can even put the meat in the freezer for up to an hour!
Cooking is Fast
When you are ready to cook up your finger steaks, heat a couple of inches of oil in a large pan. You’ll want to use a thermometer to monitor the temperature, especially if you put your meat in the freezer. The target range is 350-375 degrees, but when you put your meat in the oil it will probably drop down. Keep an eye on the temperature so you can turn the heat up, if necessary. These cook up quickly! Just 1-2 minutes on each side, and they are ready to go!
Once they are golden brown, remove them from the pan and place them onto a paper towel-lined plate. You can transfer them to a baking dish and keep them warm in a 200-degree oven while you cook up the remaining batches.
These are best served with French fries. Lucky for you, we have the very best French fry recipe! We enjoyed these two dishes together for our Idaho state dinner, as a part of our “Exploring the States” series.
Idaho Finger Steaks Recipe
- 1 1/2 lbs sirloin, tenderized
- 1 egg
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 tsp Worcestershire
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 3 cups oil
- Slice tenderized sirloin against the grain, in 1/2-inch by 3-inch strips.
- In a large bowl, mix together egg, buttermilk, and Worcestershire. Add sirloin strips. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Stir together flour with the spices. Remove strips and from buttermilk and wipe off excess buttermilk. Dip each strip in seasoned flour mixture and fully coat. Place onto a sheet of parchment. Allow steak to rest at least 10 minutes for the breading to adhere to the steak.
- Heat 2 inches of oil in a dutch oven or high-sided skillet, over medium heat, until it reaches 375 degrees.
- In batches, place steaks in hot oil and cook 1-2 minutes on each side, until brown. Use a thermometer to monitor temperature, and turn the heat up, if needed, to maintain cooking temperature once steaks have been added.
- Remove steaks to a paper towel-lined plate and cook remaining batches. Steaks can be kept on a baking sheet in a 200-degree oven to stay warm while you are cooking the other batches.
- Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce, like BBQ, honey mustard, or ranch.