Main dish

Steak fingers with jalapeno cream gravy

Steak fingers with jalapeno cream gravy DSC3663

“You’re not a fan of ‘Friday Night Lights? I can’t believe it!’” said a Texan friend to me, shaking her head.

Then there was my native New Yorker friend who said, “‘Friday Night Lights’ has made me fall in love with Texas. Tell me again why you don’t watch it?”

Finally, my dad threw his hat into the discussion. “Lisa, I tell you what! If there’s only one show you should watch on TV it should be ‘Friday Night Lights as it’s the best.’”

It soon became clear to me that by not watching “Friday Night Lights,” I’d been missing out on something important. So last week I got a Netflix online subscription and began viewing this show. And you know? Everyone was right—I am in love. The writing, the acting, the characters and its portrayal of small-town Texas life always remind me of home.

Now, I’m only halfway into the first season but this show set in the fictional town of Dillon, Texas has the power of making me laugh, cheer and cry—sometimes all at the same time. My high school days are long past but I know these characters, I know this way of life.

Take the Alamo Freeze—the ice cream and hamburger place on the show that is a fictional stand-in for a Dairy Queen. Many small Texas towns often will have only one dining option and it will be the Dairy Queen, which often serves as both a place to eat and as a community-gathering place. As Larry McMurtry has written, “Dairy Queens combined the function of tavern, café and general store; they were simple local roadhouses where both rambling men and simple stay-at-homes could meet.

Steak fingers with jalapeno cream gravy | Homesick Texan

Now, when you go to a Dairy Queen you may order an ice-cream cone dipped in crackling, crisp chocolate, a thick Blizzard milkshake chock full of goodies or a cheeseburger, both juicy and fat. But whenever I visit, I always order one thing: a basket of steak fingers.

Steak fingers, if you’re not familiar with them, are simply pounded, breaded and fried strips of beef. Yep, it’s basically chicken-fried steak made into finger food, which is probably how they got the name instead of their resembling a certain part of the body. (At least, that’s what I like to think, as it seems a bit more appetizing.)

Of course, you can find steak-finger baskets at all sorts of small-town cafes, truck stops and drive-ins across Texas, not just at the local Dairy Queen. But I always thought of them as eating-out food, not something to be made at home. Until my old friend Eleanor set me straight.

Eleanor and I grew up together in Houston, though like me she moved away and now lives in California. She was visiting New York last summer and we were sitting in Central Park talking about the foods that we missed. “I’d have to say that steak fingers are near the top of my list,” she said, staring off into the distance as she contemplated said steak fingers. I agreed with her and then asked her if she was partial to Dairy Queen’s steak fingers are some other restaurant’s version of the dish.

Eleanor gave me a funny look. “I miss my grandma’s steak fingers,” she said. “She’d always fry up a batch whenever I came to visit. Steak fingers for me are home cooking, not restaurant food!”

Steak fingers as home cooking? That was a revelation. Sure, I had toyed with making steak fingers but always thought it might seem out of place—especially as I don’t have any paper-lined baskets, which always seemed like a vital part of the steak-finger experience. But you know what? Since you can’t find steak fingers in New York I decided to make a batch based on my dad’s chicken-fried steak recipe. And sure enough, homemade steak fingers are pretty darn good. To complete my meal, I added roasted jalapeños and garlic to my cream gravy, making these home-cooked steak fingers just as good, if not better than what you’d find at a Dairy Queen or a roadside café.

Steak fingers with jalapeno cream gravy | Homesick Texan

I still have endless hours of “Friday Night Lights” ahead of me, which makes me smile, as each episode is a quick trip to Texas. And while my apartment might not be the Alamo Freeze or the Dairy Queen, but you can bet that I’ll sometimes be munching on steak fingers as I watch.
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Steak fingers with jalapeno cream gravy DSC3663
5 from 6 votes

Steak fingers with jalapeño cream gravy

Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Author Lisa Fain


Ingredients for the jalapeño cream gravy:

  • 2 jalapeños cut in half lengthwise, stems and seeds removed
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease or oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt to taste

Ingredients for the steak:

  • 2 pounds top round steak or cube steak
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk or buttermilk
  • Oil for frying


  1. To make the cream gravy, place the halved jalapeños skin-side up and the garlic on a sheet and place under the broiler for 5 minutes or until jalapeños and garlic are blackened. Remove from the oven. Rub off the blackened jalapeño skin and then dice. Mince the roasted garlic.

  2. In a large heavy skillet, heat up the bacon grease or oil on medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook until fragrant and lightly browned, about a minute. Slowly pour in the milk and stir until thickened, which should take a couple of minutes.

  3. Turn off the heat and stir in the diced jalapeños and garlic. Add the cumin and add salt to taste. If too thick for your tastes, add more milk. Reheat on low for serving.

  4. To make the steaks, if you using top round steak, you’ll need to pound it with a meat mallet until flattened and doubled in size. If using cube steak, you can skip this step. Cut the tenderized steak into 16 strips.

  5. Mix together the flour with the salt, black pepper and cayenne and place on a plate. Whisk together the eggs with the buttermilk. Lightly sprinkle the steak strips with salt and pepper then dredge each strip in the flour. Dip the flour-coated steak into the eggs and then dredge again in the flour.

  6. Heat up the oven to 200°F. In a large heavy skillet, such as a cast-iron skillet, heat up an inch of oil to 300°F. Place 4 strips into the skillet and cook until you see red juices bubbling on top of the meat, about 2 or 3 minutes. With tongs, turn over the fingers and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Drain on a paper towel and place in the oven while you fry the remaining strips.

  7. Serve with jalapeño cream gravy and buttered slices of Texas toast.

Recipe Notes

I keep my flour seasonings simple but feel free to jazz yours up anyway you choose. Other seasoning you could add are paprika, granulated garlic, oregano or chili powder.

  1. Clear eyes, full arteries, can't lose!

  2. Marianne

    We feel the same way about FNL! My husband and I are Texans in exile in Arizona, and FNL is like going home for a visit every Wednesday night (on DirectTV). Best. Show. Ever. You'll have to hang in there with Season 2 which really falls apart because of the writer's strike, but know it does get so. much. better.

    Oh, and YUM steak fingers! 🙂 I'm a long time reader of your blog, so a big thank you for keeping us fed as we sojourn in the desert. Can't wait for your book.

  3. Shannon Mac

    Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!

    Oh, and steak fingers help too 🙂 Thanks for this recipe — sounds like a winner for real or fictional football watching.

  4. First of all, I am so glad someone else has started watching Friday Night Lights! Such a great, great show. My husband and I are so sad this is the last season.

    And secondly, this recipe is like a walk down memory lane! I was never really into the steak fingers at Dairy Queen, but I certainly had many a cheeseburger there on first dates and after basketball games. I bet homemade steak fingers would beat Dairy Queen's, so maybe I'll give this a shot!

  5. OH – I love FNL and Dairy Queen steak fingers! I grew up in one of those towns where DQ was the only dining option and steak fingers definitely make me think of my childhood!

  6. I always think of steak fingers as restaurant food, too! And I DO think it's because of the paper-lined basket!
    But your recipe looks and sounds so delicious I may have to whip up some steak fingers soon!

  7. ooohhh steak fingers….quite possibly one of my favorite foods. Although I am not sure whether they are my favorite because of the steak fingers themselves or whether I love them because they serve as a receptacle for one of the best things in life to eat….cream gravy. In fact, I stumbled upon your blog years ago while looking for a guide to render lard… I could always have some on hand to make cream gravy. Now incorporating spicy jalapenos is next on my list!!! Thanks.

  8. How funny, Lisa! I just started watching Friday Night Lights in the last week, because several friends insisted I'd love it. I'm halfway through the third season and I'm trying to slow myself down so that it doesn't go by too fast. It's SUCH a wonderful show!

  9. Natalie at Chadwell Chonicles

    Oh em gee! Over the Christmas holiday I was sick with a cold and then a stomach bug, so I started watching the show. I had wanted to see it since it started, but just never got around to watching it. Thank you Netflix! I watched 4 and a half seasons in a week and a half. I am in love with it. It is so real and even my husband loves the show (he is hard to please when it comes to TV shows).
    Not only that, we have recruited about 4 other people to start watching it. Go to wikipedia and read about how they film it. It is incredible!
    P.S. From one Texan to another that Jalepeno gravy looks incredible. Mmmmm.

  10. lynielou

    i love love love dairy queen steak fingers!! i live in Oklahoma on the Missouri line and there are dairy queens but they do not serve steak fingers to my bitter disappointment!!

  11. I love that you also have the Texas toast on the side =)
    Where I live in NM we don't have DQ so I always eat at the one in my hometown when I visit. I always have to have steak fingers and a Blizzard when I'm there.

  12. Born in TX, unlike Hank Hill

    FNL has the best portrayal of marriage on TV in Eric and Tami Taylor. There's a plot line best ignored in a later season, but I still love the show.

  13. steak fingers & FNL are a match made in heaven. and yes, texas toast!

    (of course, frito pie in the actual frito bag & FNL would be a match made in heaven, too)

  14. Sarah in MO

    I am a native Texan (that lives in Missouri now) and I grew up on two things: Whataburger and Dairy Queen. My brother even owned a couple of DQ's in the Hill Country for a while. We did our best to support DQ. Five years ago I moved to a small town in Oklahoma and we didn't have DQ. Now, I live in a small town in Missouri. We don't have much, but we have a DQ. I made my way to the counter and ordered steak fingers. The employee looked at me like a had two heads. He had never heard of steak fingers. I think they quit serving them a while back. :0(

  15. I remember my dad and I driving to our Frio river camp north of Leakey, TX on a Friday night in October. We stopped at the DQ in Hondo for a little road dinner. We could see the glow from the high school football game in the distance. I had the belt buster burger and he had steak fingers. We chatted about how many towns had the Friday night glow going on right at that moment. Many years later, FNL became a show we watched together. Right on about the show, and your recipe.

  16. Cheri (aka "The Mom Lady")

    My CFS recipe differs in that I use 1/3 part Bisquick and 2/3 flour mixture (with ample paprika, salt and pepper). The Bisquick makes a more tender crust that stays crispy even when cold (YUM leftovers!)

    I make a "wash" of eggs and buttermilk – dredge in flour mixture, dip in wash, redredge in flour mixture and then fry up in about a 1/2-1" vegetable oil in an electric skillet on 375F, turning when golden brown. Then I use the crispy bits and a little of the oil to make a roux with flour, stirring till thick, adding in chicken broth gradually until thickness desired, then add in some milk at the end to make a rich cream gravy. I drain the steak on Viva paper towels over newspapers or brown paper bags from the grocery (if you can still find those – Central Market has them still here in Texas).

    I think CFS recipes are as personal as chili recipes, with some folks refusing to share recipes. 🙂 But this one is the one I've used for over 30 years now. A dear friend taught me, when I was engaged, how to make chicken fried steak and a chance dinner where I came up short of the flour needed and decided to make up the difference with Bisquick forever changed the way I made it.

    Don't know why particularly I felt the need to share such a long comment and thanks for obliging me.

  17. Dairy Queen is pretty awesome, I must admit. Every time we grab some for dinner, my mom always orders steak finger baskets, while I tend to order something like a club sandwich and later steal bites of the aforementioned steak finger basket. There's something about the gravy that's pretty irresistible. I love that you added jalapeños to yours–sounds like it would make it even yummier!

  18. marissa buschow

    Oh man, I'm bored to tears by football but FNL really is the BEST TV show on! Makes me homesick just to think about it. And just wait, there's some real sob-inducing moments coming up in season 2 & 3…

  19. Dinners and Dreams

    I'm diggiing the sauce because I simply love jalapenos. I'll have to give it a go.


  20. Lisa Fain

    Rob–Ha! I love it!

    Marianne–I keep hearing Season 2 is a bust but I'm willing to stick with it.

    Shannon Mac–Steak fingers and football were made for each other!

    Kallee–Oh, no! This is the last season? That's a shame. And not to brag, but I have to say that homemade steak fingers are pretty darn delicious!

    Sarah–There are many Texas towns where it's the main event. Love Dairy Queen!

    Esmer–I know, right? There's just something about that basket!

    Melanie–I hear you! I don't need many excuses to eat cream gravy though I have to admit I've never made it with lard. I'll have to try that next time!

    Marisa–Isn't it wonderful? So happy to hear I'm not the only person on the planet who wasn't watching it before now.

    Natalie–I'm so sorry to hear you were sick but I can't think of a better diversion than FNL. And I'll definitely check out the Wikipedia page.

    Lynielou–Apparently, the steak fingers are only on offer in Texas.

    Brenda–You have to have Texas toast!

    Born in TX–I love them as a couple–such a healthy relationship.

    Burkie–Most definitely! I have a friend who made Frito pie for last season's finale show. Frito pie is definitely Friday night football food!

    Sarah–I think they only sell the steak fingers in Texas DQs, which is silly, if you ask me.

    Susan–You will love it.

    Scott–So true, there's nothing like Texas high school football and how it lights up the state's small towns on Friday nights.

    Cheri–Crispy even when cold? Now I'll have to try that! I agree, one's CFS recipe is the one their family's always made and no two are alike, much like chili. And don't worry, you're welcome to leave a long comment anytime you like!

    Koci–You can't go wrong with jalapeños! Though now you have me craving a club sandwich.

    Marissa–For me, sports aren't interesting unless there's a story behind it and FNL provides plenty of narrative. And thanks for the heads up–I'll stock up on tissues!

  21. Lisa Fain

    Nisrene–Jalapeños make everything tasty!

  22. Anonymous

    Lived Friday Night Lights as many in Texas have …. and I cringe watching the movie or the TV show. So I do not watch the TV show after the first couple of episodes. Unfortunately hits too close to home.

    Interestingly enough, I have noticed that there seems to be less and less DQs in Texas…many closing. But being replaced or competing with Sonics of all things. Very sad indeed. Also see Wal-Marts in small towns that are almost unthinkable. Weird.

    Steak fingers … yum! 🙂

    -Dr. Bubba

  23. Caroline Shields

    We loved DQ growing up. Thankfully, DQ made its way to my Chicago neighborhood when I was in my mid-20s. There was always a line two blocks deep. I loved ordering a small dipped cone. I guess we did not have the steak finger option. Bummer.

  24. DessertForTwo

    I guess I'm a bad Texan too because I don't watch Friday Night Lights. I guess I'll give it a go, if you say it's good.

    As soon as I saw the title of your post, I almost didn't want to click. I knew you would give me a craving for Dairy Queen somethin' strong. Now I have to make these! Thanks for the reminder 🙂

  25. FNL is my favorite show, and I'm glad to see such a great Texan watching it! I have such affection and empathy for the characters, and the scenery plucks at my heart strings. To be sure, it's one of the best shows out there.

    Complete with the jalapeno gravy(!), these steak fingers have got to be out of this world awesome. I can't believe I've never thought to make them at home myself; to me, they've always just been a restaurant treat.

    Thanks for the wonderful, nostalgic post. 🙂

  26. I grew up in a town of about 25,000 in East Texas. We were a booming football town in the 80's and I also have never watched Friday Night Lights. You have inspired me – I will have to give it a try.

    As for Dairy Queen, the two in my home town both closed but my parents are always searching out a DQ wherever they are. We have one here in Omaha so we frequent this DQ when they visit.

    Your recipe looks amazing. I have not made steak fingers but grew up eating Chicken Fried Steak, biscuits and gravy on a regular basis. My family will love this – can't wait to try!

    Thanks for your Texas stories! I love it!

  27. Lisa, you have us completely intrigued re: Dairy Queen. We grew up with DQ in Canada where it was more or less exchangeable with Burger King or any other fast food joint. I've never heard of anyone being nostalgic for it! Apparently DQ in Texas is a very different beast…

    FNL, indeed. Perhaps where I first fell in love with Texas.

  28. Growing up in the middle of Kansas, I do understand the small town life. Our town was so small we didn't even have a Dairy Queen. Only the Sunshine Cafe where Nell cooked up wonderful hamburgers. What a great idea for the spicy gravy. Might have to make me up a batch and rent season 1 of Friday Night Lights.

  29. Kelli Nørgaard

    We are huge fans and I love that each episode brings a little bit of Texas into our living room in Denmark…..

    Sad thing is that there are only a few episodes left…..

  30. alwayshungry

    I've never been to Texas.
    I've never seen or heard of Friday Night Lights.
    I've never tried steak fingers nor chicken fried steak.

    I live in France.
    But that doesn't seem like much of an excuse now…
    this looks sooo yummy
    thanks for the recipe

  31. Loved DQ when I was a kid. I remember the luscious mint milkshakes — creamy, minty, florescent green to boot! From a kid's perspective — heaven! Don't think my DQ served steak fingers though — would have loved them if they had. So, I'm going to give these a try. I think they'd be fantastic Super Bowl party food!

  32. I believe that Dairy Queens in Tx are run seperately from the rest of the DQs around the country which is headquartered in either MN or NE. There are a number of items at TX DQs that you won't find elsewhere besides the steak fingers including the DQ Dude (steak sandwich) and Tacos; maybe a few other things. I rarely visit a DQ here in GA but just had a DQ Dude when I was home in TX for Christmas! I love your site!! Thank you for putting into words how I feel about TX.

  33. Cilantro

    Okay, I am fortunate enough to have been born in Texas and to still live here almost 60 years later, and your post has made me want to make steak fingers. Or, I could just go to Dairy Queen. Yum.

  34. Its funni Im from Texas to and have not seen that show before either so dont feel so bad! I'm going to have to watch it now, I miss home! 🙁
    And the part with a Dairy Queen in every Texas town is sooo true, it made me laugh just reading this and thinking about it! Gotta love that dang Dairy Queen and their steak finger basket!

  35. You don't know how much this recipe post hurts. Since I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance, chicken fried steak, steak fingers and cream gravy have been off the menu. Those are the things even the best gluten free cooks haven't been able to duplicate. Sometimes it's worth a few days of discomfort just to satisfy the craving.

    Our family made the green chile chowder for Christmas Eve lunch. There were no leftovers. This stuff is so good, I'd eat it on ice cream.

  36. Lisa,
    Sounds great. I think I'll try it tonight. Something to consider – next time you make cream gravy, tru a little sweet basel. Since your from Houston, you've probably eaten at Jax in Bellaire or just off I 10 W @ Shepard. They add Sweet Basel and it's great! Just to make you feel better in the freeze New York is getting ready to get, it got down to 33 at my house in Memorial last night.

  37. Heather @ Family Friendly Frugality

    We recently trekked across state from Houston to Wichita Falls. So of course we stopped at DQ and had some steak fingers! I think of it as road trip food. Probably because no matter where you go in TX you know you'll find a DQ.

    I can't even remember the last time I got ice cream at DQ…it's always a nice warm basket of steak fingers and fries.

    I will need to try this recipe (without the jalapeno…I'm allergic!) some day soon!

  38. Bria @ West of Persia

    Gosh, your post just made me so nostalgic. For Dairy Queen, high school football, and Texas! Love the recipe. Growing up, steak fingers were both home-cooked and sometimes Dairy Queen procured. Thanks for the memories.

    Btw, I read "Friday Night Lights" and loved it. I think you just talked me into watching the show on my Netflix 🙂

  39. Lisa Fain

    Dr. Bubba–The show definitely hits close to home. And that makes me sad to hear that Sonics are replacing DQs–they're not the same.

    Caroline–Wow! It was quite a popular place!

    DessertForTwo–You're very welcome and you should watch the show–it's goood!

    Amy–You're very welcome. And you can never go wrong with jalapeño cream gravy!

    Mijke–They have a completely different menu in Texas, which makes it kind of special.

    Lea Ann–You have to love a place called The Sunshine Cafe!

    Kelli–That's what I've heard, it's too bad they're going to cancel it.

    Alwayshungry–You're very welcome. Enjoy!

    Nan–Yes! They'd be terrific during the Super Bowl!

    Melissa–Yep, apparently they have a completely different menu in Texas than the rest of the world. Love it!

    Cilantro–Eat some steak fingers and enjoy!

    Kirby–Gotta love it indeed!

    Ellicia–Do none of the GF flour mixes work for breaded meat or cream gravy? I'm so sorry to hear that.

    Robbie–I'll definitely try that!

    Heather–It's definitely road trip food!

    The Gold Digger–I need to read the book. And yes, I remember those fried burritos, too. You can still find them at gas stations in West Texas.

    Bria–I think you'll enjoy it!

  40. And don't forget the Texas toast! Man, dip that in the gravy… Larrupin'!

  41. Becky LeJeune

    Strangely, Dairy Queens in Colorado seem to be ice cream shops. Imagine my surprise when I went inside one and was informed that the only "food" they served was cooked in a crock pot. No fryers, no grills, and definitely no steak fingers. Disappointing.

  42. wyldtxn53

    Well, This is a topic close to my heart. I grew up in Odessa, Texas and attended Permian (for a year before my family moved to Massachusetts)so I lived Friday Night Lights too. My very first boyfriend is now the Sheriff in Odessa and he had a small part in the movie. I didn't know it and all of a sudden there he was on the big screen!!! I was trying to remember where else you could get steak fingers besides Dairy Queen and I couldn't remember another place. I am MOST certainly going to try out this recipe. I am in Kentucky now and they have chicken fingers with gravy here at the Dairy Queen..but ya'll know that just ain't the same! I never got hooked on the FNL TV show but after reading everyone's comments I think I will watch them on DVD the way Lisa is doing. Sounds like I need to give it a try! I can't wait to try the gravy recipe either..what a way to give it some kick!! THANKS AGAIN LISA!

  43. I have loved FNL since it started – I was a homesick Texas AND a football mom (back in the Hill Country and no longer homesick). I also love the steak fingers at DQ. One addition to the homemade ones – slice the jalapeno crossways (half-inch circles), dredge them in the seasoned flour and fry them up with the fingers. They're crunchy and spicy and delicious! Thanks for all your great recipes.

  44. FreeRange Pamela

    +1 on the love for FNL and especially the relationship between Coach Taylor and his wife. We watched it for quite a while, while preparing to move back to Texas from Brooklyn. I used it as a way of showing my husband what he was getting into. (I'm the native Texan, not him.) It helped ease the culture shock!

  45. FreeRange Pamela

    Oh, and… agree on the Sonics replacing DQs. We live in a small TX town now, population 1,400 or so, and the Sonic is hopping. Unfortunately, everyone is either driving through or sitting in their cars, not mixing with each other and creating that feeling of community.

  46. Miss Meat and Potatoes

    This may very well be my favorite recipe you've ever posted. And that is saying a LOT! So glad you finally gave into the power of FNL. It took Minnesota friends berating us daily when we lived there to watch it. So funny it's us Texans who are the last to get on board with it. Such a great show! Cannot WAIT to try these Lisa!!

  47. I was born and raised in Odessa. I was a junior at Permian during the football season that Buzz visited in order to get the scoop for his book. (He should have waited a year…WE won state AND nationals!) 🙂 I have read the book, seen the movie and the series. I also have a cousin who is the manager at one of the Dairy Queens in Odessa right now! When I go home to see my parents, I always stop in for a visit and some steak fingers. I didn't realize that not everyone knew what a "steak finger" was. Not long after I moved to Colorado, I went through the DQ drive thru and ordered a Country Basket with steak fingers. When I got it, I saw the fingers were chicken strips. I told the girl at the window that I had ordered steak fingers. She looked at me and said, "What are those?" That's when I knew I wasn't in Kansas…er, TEXAS, anymore. After a stint in Germany (where a schnitzel will do in a pinch for a chicken fry) and now settled in Virginia, I still miss those Texas steak fingers. Thanks for the recipe as well as the trip down memory lane.

  48. FNL is such a blessing to us Texas expats in Ireland. Really gonna miss it when it's over. Must make these steak fingers!

  49. Anonymous

    I recently made the 20+ mile trek to my "local" dairy queen in Northern California, with the single intention of getting chicken strips with cream gravy. I ordered, and when they brought out my food, it didn't have any gravy, so I went to the front to ask for some. After requesting it, the sweet girl working behind the counter asked, "Are you from Texas?" Well, yes, but I wasn't aware that only Texans ask for gravy. She then asked, "Have you ever had steak fingers?" like they were some sort of mythical DQ menu item…

    Oh, poor CA. You have no idea what you are missing.

  50. I, a near native Texan, lived in the Pacific NW for 7 years. I went through the DQ drive thru one day and they were like "huh?" Never heard of steak fingers and only had the chicken basket. My Southern soul was crushed. Yours look delish, must try them.

  51. Oh man I love the DQ! I grew up in a town of 20,000 and we had four, count 'em FOUR Dairy Queens. The deep fried burrito was my absolute fave. To the poster who commented about still being able to get deep fried burrtios in gas stations in West Texas, you must be talking about the Allsup's. My mother is from White Deer and every family road trip to visit the cousins involved lots of trips to the Allsups for the "gut rockets" as my cousins call them.

    My freshman literature class at A&M in '91 had Friday Night Lights as required reading in the syllabus, so I've read the book, but haven't watched the show. Guess I'm gonna have to put it in my Netflix queue as well!

    Lisa, love the look of those steak fingers; gonna have to try it. My mother always breaded her CFS with saltines, uber crispy and already seasoned. Just made Chicken Fried Backstrap Sunday night. Since I have a boatload of vension in the deep freeze, I'm gonna use your recipe to make Vension fingers. Can't wait for your book!!!

  52. Wow, looks amazing, will definitely have to try this recipe out, thanks for sharing!

  53. I haven't thought of steak fingers in years! Thanks for the reminder! You know what's so great about you? You take the time to answer each person's comment. Most bloggers do not. But, that's the Texas upbringing showing, I'm sure! I also am a fellow Texan living in Arizona and I can spot a Texan a mile away by their friendliness and their manners. I just wanted to say thank you for your good manners. 🙂

  54. Melisa/Shiny Brite

    OMG, chicken fingers. I haven't thought about them in years and now I bet I won't be able to STOP thinking about them. Which of course means I'll have to make them.

    I'm from a town of about 3,000 between Houston and the Gulf Coast, and our two hangouts were Dairy Queen (of course) and the local, family-run burger place, Dairy Mart. I ate many, many a basket of chicken fingers at both places and on countless road trips to football "away" games (I was on the dance team.)

    FNL is a great show, and takes me back, too. Thanks for posting this — truly the taste of home.

  55. Veronica

    My (Texas) hometown actually lacked the DQ, and still had a general store. (It has since been replaced by a fancy new gas station. Still no DQ.)

    And, now I want steak fingers.

  56. the gold digger

    I love FNL! I loved the book, thought the movie was just so-so, and started watching the show based on the rave story about it in Texas Monthly a few months ago.

    I even got my husband, who claimed he didn't want to watch 1. a TV show 2. about football and 3. Texas (even though he went to college in Texas!), to watch and now he is completely hooked.

    We parcel the shows out slowly, although I have read ahead on Slate to see what happens. We both laughed and laughed when we found out that Landry is going to our college. Of course! Where else would a nerdy small-town Texas kid go?

    I miss the fried burritos at DQ. I was shocked the first time I had a burrito and it was not deep fried. That's how they were served at Mackenzie Junior High in Lubbock and that's how they were served at DQ.

  57. Little Black Car

    We just got a brand-new DQ up the road from my house. Woo hoo! I miss the DQ in Tomball: They built a new building out by the 249 overpass, but the old building was right in old downtown, and it was such a nice place to sit. It just reopened as a burger joint. I think the banner says they got the thumbs-up from Texas Monthly, though, so I'll have to try it.

    I wasn't hungry, but now I am. Yum.

  58. Little of This, Little of That

    This post made me smile! I grew up in Houston too and I've always been the only person I know to order the steak fingers from DQ! Obviously other people do, just not anyone I know. It's funny because I don't recall seeing them on any other menu anywhere. I remember going to the DQ across the street from my middle school and having them for breakfast sometimes.

    I will definitely try these and the jalepeno gravy sounds delish! Now, where can I find those little papers to go on my plate?

  59. How funny… I have never seen steak fingers at a Dairy Queen n New England! But they look delish, and that gravy looks amazing!

  60. the country cook

    I'm a native Texan living in California, and I instantly laughed when I started reading this post. I've had Friday Night Lights on my queue for a while but have never watched it! I guess now's the time. 🙂

    Love steak fingers, especially with a big pile of mashed potatoes.

  61. Rocky Mountain Woman

    So I'm thinking I need to put Friday Night Lights on my Netflix Que (don't you just love Netflix?) and Steak fingers on my to cook list!

  62. Anonymous

    Where in NYC did you find bread suitable for Texas Toast?

  63. I absolutely love steak fingers (the calories be damned) and that jalapeno cream gravy will put them over the top. Now I have to find some round steak or cube steaks on sale to make these on the weekend with a nice side of creamy mashed potatoes. Bliss!

  64. I loved this post so much! I'm usually a blog "lurker", not commenting nearly as much as I should, but as a Texan relocated to California (with a stint in NYC in between), I'm always really excited to read your blog. This is by far my favorite post. I'm from a tiny town called Valentine, and the nearest Dairy Queen is 30 miles away, but we never had a problem hitting the road when we were craving the Blizzards, nachos, and steak finger baskets. Can't wait to try the recipe!

    Friday Night Lights is the best. No other show comes close.

    Thanks for writing such great posts!

  65. Class factotum

    I'm sad to learn the DQs are going away. One weekend when I was in college in Houston, a roommate and I decided to go to San Antonio to see my mom and dad. We made it our mission to stop at every DQ between Houston and San Antonio. There were about 14 of them. That's a lot of dip cones.

  66. I loooooove Friday night lights, but I came to it late ss well, after years of people telling me to watch it. And I have amazing news for you– seasons 2 and on are even better than season 1. I just finished watching then all, and I feel a little tim riggins deprived these days. maybe a batch of these steak fingers will ease the pain until the final season starts.

  67. Anonymous

    Cracked UP over the steak fingers at the DQ!! Me, too – there was just something about them, even better than the real chicken fried steak served everywhere else to me. Now, finally, a worthy recipe to try.

    Thanks! Pete

  68. Kimberly

    Yum…this recipe sounds so good, probably b/c I am 8 months pregnant, lol.

    And ironically enough, there is a DQ opening up not 5 minutes from our house. I'll make your steak fingers for dinner, and send the hubby out for a blizzard afterwards. 😉

  69. I, too, showed up late for the FNL party. Folks had been raving about it for years, but I couldn't see how a show about football could possibly hold my interest for more than 5 seconds. Finally, one of my friends said, "It's a show about football, but it's NOT a show about football." Ok, then. Raced through season one with tissue at hand. Season 2 was kind of a slog, so I'm glad folks have said that it picks up again. Now I know what I'll be doing this weekend.

    When I was growing up, they had steak fingers at the DQ in Mississippi. YUM! I've never seen them anywhere since.

    I won't kid myself for a minute thinking I might find steak fingers here in Seattle. I reckon I'll have to whip up a batch myself.

    One question: How do you dispose of the leftover oil?

  70. Yes, Abby! Allsups!! Just got back from a drive to Colorado thru Amarillo (from Ft. Worth) and couldn't wait to get to a gas station with fried burritos! Must have been a high school staple because we had 'em here, too. Made our stop at a DQ for a Hungr-buster and a dilly bar.

  71. KosherCorvid

    Never considered making this at home. I live in Dallas, so I can't turn around without encountering a chicken-fried-something-that-sure-ain't-chicken, but I always eat a few bites and save the rest for the cats, because it's soggy or bland or so full of cayenne that I can't taste the steak. . .

    Okay, so the real reason I cook at home is just plain pickiness. But this is a must. Maybe replace the cayenne with Hatch pepper. Yum.

  72. gabriela

    ….oh and texas toast and white gravy (in the basket)…can't forget the gravy!

  73. gabriela

    1. Yea! You're a FNL fan too now, welcome! A few years ago I stayed up all-night watching episode after episode after episode until I ran out…then I started over again.

    2. You just reminded me of a drive-in joint we have in Albuquerque called Mac's Steak in the Rough, which I had completely forgotten about. It's like a Dairy Queen or Sonic Drive-in. They had THE BEST steak finger, fries and coleslaw basket.

    You made me homesick, but at least you provided a recipe 🙂

  74. Anonymous

    My variation has 50% cracker crumbs, 50% flour. I think this is unpopular or not often done, and I would not have mentioned it except for the thought I had, that a gluten-free cracker, made into crumbs, and added to a gluten-free flour such as tapioca, might be workable for your gluten-intolerant reader.

  75. Weekend Cowgirl

    OMG! This looks amazing!!!!

  76. Lisa, as a fellow homesick Texan, I absolutely love this photo! Can you tell me where I can order the original? Thank you!!

  77. oo steak finger baskets we would go to DQ after all my baseball games and my mom made cube steak like this all the time but the gravy sounds great have to see if i can find some peppers here in france have a great day
    jason from houston area

  78. Lisa Fain

    I had no idea that so many of you loved steak fingers and Dairy Queen!

    Anon–If you're in NYC, you can find Texas toast bread at Trader Joe's.

    Abby–Alsups' is indeed where you can find deep fried burritos. You can also find them at Town & Country in Marfa.

    Kim–I let the oil cool and then pour it into a bag and throw it away.

    Lauren–Which photo? I take all the photos on this site, though I never thought about selling them. Hmmm…

  79. I just wanted to tell you that on this, my first time reading your site, I scrolled through every single post until there were no more, book-marking more recipes than I care to admit. I just couldn't stop. I'm particularly excited about your pies. I'm making the chess pie tomorrow morning. Thanks a ton!

  80. Hornsfan

    I have to second everyone's recommendation to you about Friday Night Lights, welcome to the bandwagon, it's a terrific show and your homegrown Steak Fingers do some justice to a good round from the DQ (or Alamo Freeze) 🙂

  81. Jennie O

    I had to comment on this and say – thank you for the recipe, I can't wait to try it. I'm a big steak finger lover as well, and we "treat" ourselves once in a while to DQ steak fingers and a Blizzard. 🙂 I was tickled to see your Alamo Freeze tie-in because I live in Austin and just a few blocks down the street from my home is the very Dairy Queen that they transform into "Alamo Freeze" when shooting Friday Night Lights. It is always a little surreal to drive by and see the tacked-up "Alamo Freeze" sign over my Dairy Queen! 🙂

  82. Tasty Eats At Home

    Mmm, I am drooling! Steak fingers, with Texas toast, gravy…yum. And we love Friday Night Lights at our house. There are other shows that over-dramatize Texas and Texans and I kind of roll my eyes at them sometimes (just like I'm sure Californians, New Yorkers, etc are all over-dramatized), but with Friday Night Lights, it feels real! I love it.

  83. I grew up in Texas (DQ and Whataburger, thank you). When I was looking at grad schools, I flew into Indianapolis. Arriving in the evening and operating on a shoestring budget, I saw a DQ and whipped right in. The emotional distress was huge! Nothing but ice cream. I learned to look for the sign that said something like "Brazer DQ." That meant don't stop there.

  84. ooooh my gosh. I LOVE FNL, and I, too, was reluctant to drink that particular koolaid. i love that dillon has 3 dining options: barbecue, applebees or the alamo freeze…also, kudos to applebees for letting it be applebees. love your blog, by the way.

    a fellow texan.

  85. Wow, thanks for this! Made these tonight and they were delicious. I never would have thought to make jalapeno cream gravy, but it was just wonderful. I look forward to eating the leftovers on biscuits for breakfast.

    I've been a FNL fan since the get-go; great show.

  86. CopyKat Recipes

    Having grown up in a small town and worked at a DQ off and on for a couple of years, you have elevated the steak finger basket to well beyond the establishment that I worked in.

  87. FNL is the BEST show on television! Last season now and I am so sad to see it go. I'm so happy, however, that it has found a new fan!

  88. Anonymous

    i made the jal. pepper cream gravy to go with bbq beef rice and homemade cheese rolls. The family loved it and the hubs said it must be made a regular thing in the house ( i did add 1/8c of sharp cheddar cheese)

  89. Looks great. When you're tired of diet food, though, check out the chicken-fried bacon at Sodolak's Original Country Inn in Snook.

  90. While the ladies at church have showers for new babies and weddings, the guys have BATHs (Barbecue At The House). I made these for our most recent BATH on Saturday for a couple of new dads, and I am a hero.

    We had steak fingers, mashed potatoes, jalapeno gravy, Texas toast, Shiner Bock, and cobbler and ice cream for dessert. I am glad we set the skillet up in the backyard because we made a huge mess, but the dog didn't mind. Thanks for helping me teach these LA guys what real food's all about.

    Can't wait for the book!

  91. Justin Boggs

    Up here in Idaho we have something called finger steaks that were made popular by a local Boise bar and grill called The Torch, it's now a strip club, but that is another story. They made their fingersteaks with batter and 1/2"x1/2"x2-3" strips of tenderloin and served them with a modified cocktail/bbq sauce.

    They were good enough to spread across the Pacific Northwest, and are a damn sight better than DQ's ever thought of being.

    I'll have to try your version though. They look good.

  92. The Fashionable Traveler

    I love your Larry McMurtry Dairy Queen quote. I've been all over the world, but there is just something about Diary Queen that just hits the spot. I'm so intrigued by how the cookie part of the ice-cream sandwich is always crisp and crunchy….all other ice cream sandwiches are soggy…to me it's one of life's greatest mysteries.

  93. Anonymous

    just found your site, and I want to cry… I am from South East Texas, stuck in Phoexin Arizona, and it does not look like I will ever be back to Texas, thanks for the great recipes.

  94. Blech..I detest FNL. I'm from Odessa and I went to the infamous Permian High School. I was a sophomore the year that guy wrote the book. The movie got so much wrong it's not even funny, they even screwed up the uniforms of the other teams. And those football players werent just good old boys trying to get out of Odessa, they were wealthy and loved the attention. Abused it frequently too, but thats another story altogether.

    DQ has the best soft serve ice cream.

  95. scmom (Barbara)

    We enjoyed your steak fingers in Ohio last week — it was snowing outdoors but we had warm tasty food indoors. Thanks for sharing.

  96. I am a Texan in NYC as well. I had this with your fried pickle recipe. It was all outstanding. I had one bottle of Shiner Bock left that I had been saving for a special occasion. It went perfectly with this meal.

  97. Steak finger baskets! Yeah!
    Too bad the D-Qs around here don't serve them. If it weren't Friday, I'd head over there, right now…
    Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

  98. Realizing this sounds so hill billy…It was a sad day in January when our closest DQ closed for business. 🙁 Love them steak fingers!
    And happy to find another Texan to blog with…or at least one from Texas.

  99. Becky in Utah

    I am a native Texan, born and bred in Grapevine. I've lived out of state for over 20 years now and when FNL's came on, I gave it a shot. After watching a few episodes, I thought it was too much of a cliche'. We Texans are more than football and hometown drama. My immediate feeling was, been there…done that. My high school glory days were left at Grapevine High…no need to relive them.
    Love your blog.

  100. I made these yesterday (7/29/11) for dinner and wow! These are good. I don't even like chicken fried steak! I followed the recipe exactly, but thought the sauce was missing something. I threw the sauce in the food processor (because I didn't want to add anything) and it was delicious. I think the key for me was having the jalapeno flavor throughout the sauce. So good.

  101. I tried making these tonight. By the 4th batch, my oil was a really dark brown and the fingers were coming out with a burnt taste. Any thoughts on what went wrong?

  102. Lisa Fain

    Tammy–Maybe your oil was too hot?

  103. Made the steak fingers today – super yummy!

  104. Anonymous

    Born in Houston and lived in Livingston, Katy, Danbury, kountze, and
    bridge city raised 3 kids of my own (and several of my neighbors) my favorite memories were goin to one of our kids football games be it Thursday for younger ones or Fridays once they got older and finishing up at the local DQ with steak finger baskets and corn dogs!!!

    With kids grown and now living in Pennsylvania where a DQ has limited menu items I miss my Texas Cuisine terribly!!!! I drive trucks for a living with my NC born hubby who has NEVER had a steak basket or a "Dude" sandwich! Can you believe never having enjoyed one of either of those???? Driving OTR just not into Texas much, and I just can't find them any where but Texas!!!

  105. The Hoffmans

    Sounds great, just one question….in the last paragraph, why do I heat the oven to 200 degrees?

  106. Lisa Fain

    The Hoffmans–The last sentence tells you why! As you fry the remaining strips, place the already cooked ones in the oven to keep warm.

  107. Shauna Powell

    Oh, how i miss DQ steak fingers! They remind me of my grandmother who would let me drive her big Buick to the DQ in Weimar, TX to pick up our lunch. She would always get a hamburger and i would get the steak fingers basket. Such happy memories.

    Don’t forget the Texas toast that came with it!

    • Lisa Fain

      Shauna–What a wonderful memory! And yes, Texas toast on the side is a must!

  108. P.M. Summer

    I spent much of my money on the steak finger baskets (and pitchers of Pearl) at the old (authentic) Scholz’s in Austin back in 1970s… before Austin got ‘polluted’.

  109. Carl Wilson

    OK, this one did it for me. I own most of your books and have enjoyed making dinner over and over from them. So I decided that this was the day that I should pay up for all those delicious recipes that I have enjoyed over the years.

    From Ft. Worth TX, Thank You!

  110. I grew up in East Texas (Longview) and the population back when I lived there was between 70,000 and 80,000. I believe we had 5 DQs! (And one Dairy Creme which served many of the same things, even the steak finger basket.) And football was/is big there. They actually won the state championship this year. Being in Tennessee for the past 30 years, I don’t have to miss the Friday night football fever, we have that here too, and we have DQs. But they don’t have steak fingers with cream gravy. Thank you for the post. (And we love the FNL series too – sad when it ended.)

    • Lisa Fain

      BillieV–Thanks for sharing your memories! It’s so odd to me that Dairy Queens outside of Texas don’t have steak fingers. People don’t know what they’re missing!

  111. Sherry Jurykovsky

    I lived in Texas for 5 years before moving back home to Canada. That was when I found your website/cooking. I truly miss Texas, nearly every day. I remember when I first moved there, being in Decatur and driving passed the DQ (which we have lots of in Canada) and the outside sign said Fried Catfish $$. And I couldn’t believe that a franchise fast food place could have local food. I never did develop a taste for catfish, although every person I met said “You just haven’t had it like these guys make it” and I’d try it again. But I do miss the chicken fried steaks where you could hardly find your plate under the steak. I’m going to be looking for round steak the next time I’m out for groceries. Thanks for the memories. P.S. And I’ll be looking for Friday Night Lights as well. One of our friends from there was a 1957 Cotton Bowl champion.

    • Lisa Fain

      Sherry–Thank you for sharing your memories! You will love Friday Night Lights! May you get back to Texas soon. In the meantime, the steak fingers will definitely take you back.

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