Sunday, April 11, 2010

Deep fried steak aka pitchfork fondue

This is not a recipe for stir fried beef or chicken fried steak. I'm talking about deep frying an entire cut of steak. Never heard of such madness? I hadn't either until seeing it on Jamie's American Road Trip, a British miniseries that features Jamie Oliver exploring lesser-known corners of America's culinary landscape. One episode begins with a group of cowboys in Wyoming putting huge pieces of steak onto pitchforks and deep frying them in a cauldron of bubbling lard. Absolutely spectacular. This old school cooking technique dates back to the 1800s and is known as pitchfork fondue. This ain't no dainty French fondue bourguignonne, though, with tiny cubes of beef. I'm talking about "half a cow on a stick in a big ol' cauldron of fat!"

(serves 2)
2 8-10 oz. sirloin steaks, ~1 in. thick (strip steak or ribeye would also work)
64 oz. canola oil (if you can get beef tallow, more power to you)
  • Fill a dutch oven about half full with canola oil. Heat over medium high to 375°F.
  • Pierce steak with large barbecue fork (the poor man's pitchfork) and place the whole piece of meat in the oil.
  • Fry steak for about 2-3 min for medium rare. Once the outside develops a dark brown crust, test for doneness by taking the meat out of the oil and (carefully) feeling how firm it is. Fry a bit longer if it feels too soft.
  • Remove steak and place on paper towel-lined plate to drain. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.

The meat came out brown and crispy on the outside and perfectly pink on the inside. It was juicy and flavorful, not greasy or heavy. Deep frying also cooks the steak perfectly evenly on all sides. On Jamie's show, he says the meat tastes amazing even without any seasoning. I found that adding salt and pepper after frying added a lot of flavor. I even added a bit more salt after slicing the meat up. Maybe the animal fat they fried the meat in imparted more flavor than my canola oil. Regardless, those cowboys are onto something because deep fried steak kicks ass. I served it with a baked potato topped with butter, s+p, sour cream, and green onion, and a mixed green salad with balsamic vinaigrette. Baked beans would be another great accompaniment and in keeping with this dish's cowboy cooking heritage.


  1. can this be accompanied with quinoa?

    1. I enjoy quinoa balls packed with egg lard and rich cheese and fried deep till very brown. Sometimes even have them with a salad

  2. It was what I've been missing from my steak game and f'ing screaming.. I used a fry daddy still good

  3. Click Here for Deep Fryer clearance
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