Finger Steaks

Finger steaks were invented right here in my adopted hometown of Boise, Idaho. The story is that Milo Bybee, chef at Milo’s Torch Lounge, created them in 1957 as a means of disposing of leftover tenderloin.

To be completely honest, I really don't care who invented them and when; they are seriously good.

Many of you now have a look on your face that resembles a dog that just heard a strange noise. "What in the world is a finger steak?!", you ask.

It's simply a strip of steak that is battered and deep fried. Deep fried steak... Just sit there and let that marinate in your brain for a minute.

Yeah, it's way good.

I've eaten my fair share of finger steaks and, while the originals were apparently made with tenderloin, most are dry and forgettable. I decided to try to make a version that is true to its roots without breaking the bank.

My recipe calls for flat iron steak. It's a vastly under-appreciated cut that is often referred to as the second most tender steak on the steer. It offers great flavor and outstanding tenderness at a small fraction of the price of tenderloin. As an added bonus, it's long and slender shape and generally uniform thickness is tailor-made for finger steaks.

OK, that's enough history and anatomy. Let's get cookin'!

1 1/2 to 2 lb Flat iron steak (or top round)
1 cup flour
1 Egg, beaten
1 1/2 Tbsp Seasoned salt (or a salty BBQ rub)
1 tsp Black pepper
1/4 cup Buttermilk
1/4 cup Dark beer
1 Tbsp Hot sauce (I use Frank's® Red Hot® or Crystal)

Note: If you're using round steak, tenderize it with a meat mallet first.

Season each side of the steak with a teaspoon of the seasoned salt/BBQ rub.

Combine the flour, the remaining seasoned salt/BBQ rub, and pepper in a small bowl and mix well.

Combine the the buttermilk, beer, egg and hot sauce in another bowl and whisk to combine.

Cut the steak into half-inch wide strips that are about three or four inches long.

Dredge the steak strips in the flour mixture, then into the egg batter, then back into the flour.

Put the battered strips in a flat rimmed container pan and freeze. This really helps keep the batter intact when you fry them.

Finger Steaks

Deep fry the frozen steaks at 350º degrees until golden brown.

Finger Steaks

Tip: Fry in small batches (5-7 at a time) and keep them warm in a 175º oven on a rack in a sheet pan (as seen in the picture below).

Finger Steaks

Serve with french fries (of course) and cocktail or BBQ sauce for dipping.


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Anonymous Hoochie said...
John, you need to travel to Texas a little more often!! "Steak fingers" (as they are more commonly known down there) are a "staple" - and are found at any/all Dairy Queens there (but rarely found at most DQ's outside of Texas)... Yours look tremendous, though... Forget the BBQ sauce, though... You want some cream gravy for dipping!!
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Can't wait to try your version! My hubby loves finger steaks, but I haven't found a recipe for them that is his favorite yet......yours may be the winner! Thanks.
Blogger Unknown said...
Hoochie - Texas? Oh, that small state south of Oklahoma? Leave it to Texas to get the name backwards and to use gravy. :-) I kid, of course. Hoochie is a good friend, y'all.
Blogger 2 Tramps said...
Oh, steak fingers... Hard to find and so good! Thanks so much for the recipe - the picture kicks it up a notch for sure!
Blogger Chris said...
Giving us the finger are ya, John? ;) :)

These are spectacular. I've never had them or even HEARD of them before but this is 100% on my short list to do soon. You rock!
Anonymous Anonymous said...
i have no doubt these are delicious. i have a hard time deep frying at home. . . and since you're in Boise, you should swing on up to the Big Bun (Overland / Curtis) their finger steaks are pretty fabulous, too! =)
Anonymous Anonymous said...
I grew up on finger steaks a the Torch in the late 50s early 60s. I've searched the internet to purchase pre-made fingers. As I recall the only suppliers were from Idaho. There are a few taverns in Oregon where you can get them. I make my own! Similar to this great looking recipe. BUT, at the Torch we dipped them in HONEY!! Make them VERY spicey (add some cayenne) make sure they're salty enough, dip them in honey - heaven! Also great for venison. GREAT way to get people hooked on venison.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
The town I come from in Montana called them finger steaks and served them with bottled chili sauce. I have their recipe but I will try yours too.
Blogger Unknown said...
Of course they're called finger steaks in Montana. It's only Texas that has it backwards. :-) Again I kid, my Texas friends.

Hey, I went to bootcamp there, so I'm an honorary Texan, right? ;-)
Blogger Memória said...
Hey! I'm a Texan haha. Your words didn't offend me, though. As long as you give me some of those STEAK FINGERS, I'll forgive you. They look amazing!
Blogger Unknown said...
Do you people see what I have to put up with in the name of food?! :-) Hey, I went to Texas once, ONCE! That was where USAF bootcamp was, so I had no choice.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
BBQ sauce? Gravy is where it's at! Good ol' cream gravy.
Blogger BobbyCarol said...
Finger Steaks are my absolute favorite thing ever. Really. Sooooo yummy. I'm from WA originally, and you could get really good ones all over. Here in SD, what they consider a finger steak is really depressing, honestly. Either you get something that resembles a NAKED finger steak (ie, no breading, not fried), or you get something that is absolutely soggy with grease beyond belief. Oh how I am looking forward to moving back to WA!
Anonymous Anonymous said...
I believe I come from the same town in Montana (Miles City??). Our favorite place to eat for a special occasion was the Airport Inn for the finger steaks. Ah, yes, the chilin sauce! I also have a recipe for finger steaks that taste like the Airport Inn ones, but I will try your recipe for sure. My husband ordered them in a restaurant in Billings, MT recently and hated them.
Blogger Unknown said...
Thanks, but I'm not from Miles City. However, an acquaintance of min (Bridgier Wood) is. Sorry, but I've never even been to Montana. -John
Anonymous Anonymous said...
I love finger steaks. When I was a kid my mom would get them from Ore-Ida Food where she worked. I make my own at home, but the batter always falls off. Youm said to freeze them but for how long? Thanks You
Blogger Unknown said...
Just freeze them long enough for the batter to freeze solid. That should take about 30-40 minutes.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Ok, so I grew up in Idaho and enjoyed the finger steaks from Red Steer. The last time I was home, there was only one Red Steer left, I believe it's on Overland (?) OMG good. I fully intend to try your version of finger steaks, they look delish. I now live in Washington and after hours of research found that I could get the very finger steaks from Red Steer from a local company, much to my dismay, they no longer sell them. So I am left to try out several of the recipes I've found. I do believe yours will be the first I try. Thanks for posting
Anonymous Scott Wilde said...
Original Recipe to be coming out soon. Stay tuned
Anonymous Anonymous said...
So here's my report:

I used 2 lbs of flat iron steak
For that I needed to about double the flour mixture (but had leftover liquid mixture)
It was easier to shake them in a gallon ziplock with the flour mixture since so much of the "dough" ends up on the fingers
I used Lawry's seasoned salt and they turned out a bit too salty for me. When I make again, I will probably cut it to half in the flour mixture or eliminate it altogether in the flour mixture (I found a tsp on each side of the meat before flouring and dipping was probably enough for me).
I used Guinness Stout, which was yummy!
I used Tabasco hot sauce because that's what I had on hand. I can't say I even really tasted it so should probably follow your recommendations next time.

I froze the steaks for an hour. They were not frozen completely but the batter stuck very well so maybe they didn't need to be? I am going to experiment with making and freezing solid ahead of time to see how they fry up quickly.

I did not use a deep fat fryer -- just used a 4qt. pot on the stove and a fryer basket. My steaks stuck to the basket a bit and maybe that was due to the quality of the metal the gridded fryer basket was made from.

Finally, at 350 degrees, I found 4 minutes to be just about perfect. Since I'm not a regular fryer, I wasn't sure so had to experiment.

Anyway, delicious recipe, my kids were happy (they dipped in ranch dressing because that is the universal dip at our house -- they are 11 and 9).

Thanks for posting it!
Anonymous Stacie said...
We call them Steak Fingers in AZ too! I'm so glad you gave us this recipe - the one place we could get them out here is an hour and half drive from us. I never thought of making them myself! My husband had never had them, so I fixed these last night - he LOVED them!
Blogger Unknown said...
I'm so glad that you enjoyed them, Stacie. I love happy eaters.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Where I come from they are called Steak Sticks. They are seasoned and rolled in beaten egg and then in crushed saltine crackers and then fried in a skillet with oil.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
My Mom would make Finger Steaks for Sunday dinner & I remember she would marinade them in egg & then roll them in crushed corn flakes before frying in oil. They were soooooooo good
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Torch finger steaks were the best anywhere around. Loved them!! And we ate them with the special sauce they served
(had Horseradish in it) YUM!
Anonymous gina b said...
Had them all the time when I lived in Boise at a Place called Manley's. Love them.

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