This recipe comes from my grandmother, Florence Mama, and it’s one of the dishes I crave the most whenever I head back home to South Carolina.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless rib-eye steaks, cut ½ inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons table salt, for brine
  • Vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
  • 4 cups self-rising flour, such as White Lily (see Note)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 scallion, green part only, chopped

Method

Using the smooth side of a meat mallet, gently pound the steaks; this will tenderize the meat and also will create a thinner, faster-frying steak. Place the steaks in a shallow baking dish. Cover with cold water and add the table salt; this is called a brining solution. Cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours. This brining process will give the steaks a wonderful seasoning to them, as well as making them extra juicy.

In a deep skillet or heavy, wide pot, heat 4 inches of oil over medium-high heat to 350°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, another way to test the oil is to drop in a 1-inch cube of white bread. After 60 seconds of frying it should be golden brown. If the bread burns after 30 seconds, the oil is too hot; if the bread does not brown, the oil is not hot enough.

In a shallow bowl, stir together the flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper until combined. One by one, lift the steaks out of the brining solution, shaking off the excess, and drop them into the seasoned flour. Pat the flour on well, then shake off the excess. Repeat the entire process again, dipping the coated steak back into the brining solution and then back into the flour. (Double-dipping the steaks ensures a nice, thick, delicious crust.)

Shake off the flour one last time and gently slip the steaks into the hot oil. Do not fry more than 2 pieces of steaks at a time, as this will lower the temperature of the oil too much, making the crust soggy. Fry the steaks for 10 to 12 minutes on each side. Remove from the oil and let the steaks rest for 10 minutes before cutting. If you like your steak well done, place the fried steaks on a baking sheet and bake in a 400°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

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