Chicken fried steak is one of my absolute favorite breakfast entrees and 90% of the time when we go out to eat for breakfast or brunch, it's what I order. I just can't resist a well seasoned, crispy-fried piece of tenderized, breaded beef, slathered in hot gravy. Oh my, the gravy. It's frequently the best part and is mandatory for the dish. I flip flop between brown or white gravy when given a choice.

Credit: High Horse, used with permission
Credit: High Horse, used with permission

It's not chicken.

Typically made from a relatively tough cut of cube steak, the beef is tenderized then breaded and deep-fried. It's not incredibly difficult to make, yet I never cook it at home. Most likely because I don't own a commercial fryer and I don't want to use a gallon of oil (and stink up the entire house) just to make breakfast.

Google Street View
Google Street View

How the judging worked.

Hosted by Magic City's Best, a panel of ten judges was each given a small sample of chicken fried steak from ten restaurants in Billings (all are fairly well known for chicken fried steak). Each sample was unmarked, so judges had no idea where they originated. One by one, we were tasked with ranking each entry on a scale of 1.0 to 5.0.

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Michael Foth, Townsquare Media
Yum. Michael Foth, Townsquare Media

And the winner is?

At the end of the judging, each restaurant's entry was revealed and the top 5 were fairly evenly ranked.

  1. Rib and Chop House - score 4.53 (new entry for 2022)
  2. Local Kitchen and Bar - score 4.03 (new entry for 2022)
  3. High Horse - score 3.9 (last year #1)
  4. Stella's - score 3.4 
  5. Play Inn - score 3.3
Michael Foth, Townsquare Media
Ew. Michael Foth, Townsquare Media

The worst scores were somewhat surprising.

For the bottom five, I will refrain from posting the judges' scores, but let's just they weren't great. All were under 2.0.

  • Hog Wild
  • Western Empire Emporium
  • Sophie's Kitchen
  • Tippy Cow Cafe
  • Muzzleloader Cafe (lowest score two years running)

Were you shocked by any of these results? Tell us your favorite place for chicken fried steak in the comments.

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