The Miracle of the Oil

A Short Hymn For Church’s Chicken’s Chicken Fried Steak

We sample the beefy dish with nothing on our tongues but "Hallelujah."

By Joanna O'Leary November 7, 2016

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A meal that tastes best when served at the Med Center, straight out of a black Mercedes.

Although I was raised on KFC (née Kentucky Fried Chicken), my residence in Texas has led me to change my fast food fried chicken franchise allegiance to Church’s Chicken. While neither can compete with the divine fried fowl I have sampled at Willie Mae’s Scotch House, I appreciate Church’s version for its moist meat and thick, not over-salted batter at a very low price point.

Thus when afforded the opportunity to review Church’s foray into chicken fried steak territory, I responded with an enthusiastic “Hallelujah.” Since many food historians claim CFS originated in the Lone Star State, Church’s recently launched this special as an homage to the restaurant’s Texan roots. Further sweetening the deal was their offer to deliver my chicken fried steak to my workplace in the medical center, so I could use it to fuel me through a particularly intense session in the OR. 

And by “OR” I mean, “orthography room,” aka my office, because, well, I’m not a “real” doctor.

Nevertheless, I know my MD colleagues were beside themselves with envy when my chicken fried steak arrived piping hot from the arms of a handsome gentlemen in a black Mercedes. Well, I can only assume they were since they were still in the hospital saving peoples’ lives or something. 

Whereas some CFS recipes utilize well-pummeled round steak, Church’s CFS is made of chopped steak, which made for a very tender, flexible texture.  The batter coating, while a bit too thin for my liking, was well-seasoned. A generous dollop of gravy added further rich moisture. Accompanying the steak were traditional coleslaw and mashed potatoes, as well as Church’s signature honey-butter biscuits. Honestly, I might have been just as content eating multiple cartons of Church’s slick, pleasantly glutinous mashed taters, but you gotta have the crispy CFS as well for balance and contrast.

Church’s chicken fried steak is not a behemoth CFS platter such as the  “Large Rancher” vended by Hickory Hollow , but for $3.99, the portion (just over 5 ounces) is plenty for a supper that sticks to your ribs but doesn’t make you hate yourself later.

But just as Church’s Chicken giveth, Church's Chicken taketh away—at least in most of the chain's locations. Elsewhere, the chicken fried steak special is only available until January 1, 2017, but in Texas, participating locations will be serving it with no end in sight, proving that Texas really is God's country.

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