Today, we celebrate those three little words that stir every Texan's heart.
(And their cardiologist's bank account.)
Friday is the second annual Texas Chicken Fried Steak Day, when restaurants statewide celebrate the battered and, preferably, skillet-fried slabs of beef we've loved for at least 60 years.
Nobody really knows the origin of fried steak, or the name "chicken-fried." Based on newspaper archives, the term first appeared in print in Colorado in the 1920s, years before the more popular West Texas chicken-fried creation myth.
All we know is that restaurants still serve plenty.
"On a Tuesday night" -- the weekly half-price night -- "almost everybody here is eating chicken-fried steak," said "Tiny" Williams, cook at the rustic, West Texas-style M & M Steak House on Northwest 28th Street near the Fort Worth Stockyards.
"We don't try to serve one big, single steak. We use two steaks and double them up on the plate. It comes out a lot more tender that way."
The M & M flours the steaks and griddles them with extra garlic and pepper on request. (The best chicken-fried steaks come out of an iron skillet or off a griddle, not out of a deep fryer.)
The Zentner family of San Angelo, famous for a definitive chicken-fried steak, also griddles them.
"We still do it the same way, with fresh-cut beef and a flour-and-buttermilk batter," said Jolene Tabor of Zentner's Daughter Steak House. She has been a manager eight years for Betty Zentner, carrying on the legacy of the late John Zentner.
"Somebody asked the other day whether we still sell a lot of steak, so we checked," Tabor said. "By far, we sell more rib-eyes and chicken-fried steaks than anything else."
More than 50 Texas restaurants have agreed to promote a special chicken-fried steak celebration Friday.
The Petro Iron Skillet Restaurant in Weatherford and at other locations nationwide leads the way, selling $5 chicken-fried steak breakfasts or dinners from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; 2001 Santa Fe Drive at Interstate 20, 817-594-0245, petrotruckstops.com.
Other local restaurants celebrating with specials include Olenjack's Grille in Arlington, Whistle Stop Cafe in Decatur, Jake & Dorothy's Cafe in Stephenville and legendary, top-rated Mary's Cafe in Strawn, plus all Bone Daddy's and Razzoo's locations and the two Norma's Cafe restaurants in Dallas.
For a list of all the specials statewide, see facebook.com/texaschickenfriedsteakday.
The "home of the puffy taco" will become the home of the Dirty Love Burger.
The long-awaited Love Shack burger stand will return to southwest Fort Worth as soon as next weekend in the former Caro's restaurant at 3505 Blue Bonnet Circle, chef Tim Love says.
More next week on the new Shack, which will include a full bar. It's next door to his Oui Lounge.
Bud Kennedy's Eats Beat appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in DFW.com Weekend. 817-390-7538
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