Westside Drive-In Finger Steaks

A specialty unique to Idaho, get the recipe for finger steaks. These battered beef shoulder strips, served with cocktail sauce, are an addictive bar snack.
Finger steaks with cocktail sauce at Boise's Westside Drive-In.

Courtesy Westside Drive-In, Boise, ID.

In a more just world, these battered beef strips would be on bar menus nationwide. In the meantime, finger steaks remain a uniquely Idaho treat. Be careful, these are a near-addiction for many locals.

Fast-Growing Boise Has a Wine and Food Scene to Match
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups flour, divided
  • 4 teaspoons black pepper, divided
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons granulated garlic, divided
  • 1 tablespoon seasoning salt
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon, chicken bouillon powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 3–4 drops yellow food color (optional)
  • 1 pound beef shoulder tender (also called “teres major”), cut into ½-inch by 3-inch strips
  • Vegetable shortening or high-heat oil, for deep frying
Directions

Combine 1 cup flour, 2 teaspoons black pepper, 2 teaspoons granulated garlic and seasoning salt. Set aside.

In large bowl, whisk together remaining flour, pepper, garlic, cornstarch, bouillon powder and baking powder. Slowly pour in water, whisking constantly, and mix until smooth. Stir in food color, if desired.

Fill small Dutch oven or wok with shortening to a depth of at least 2 inches. Heat over medium-high heat until it reads between 350°F to 375°F with candy or deep-fry thermometer.

Coat beef strips in reserved seasoned flour, and shake off excess. Dip strips individually in batter, let drip and carefully place into hot oil. (If necessary, cook in batches to avoid crowding). Cook for 30 seconds, then turn and cook additional 30 seconds. Coating should be crisp and deep golden.

Remove finger steaks with slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels. Serve with cocktail sauce (recipe below). Serves 2–4

Cocktail Sauce Ingredients
  • 1 cup chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Cocktail Sauce Directions

Mix ingredients well, and refrigerate for up to three days.

Pair It

Telaya 2014 Mourvèdre. The varietal wine is unmistakable, with generous amounts of freshly ground black pepper along with lemon twist, herb and raw meat. The medium-bodied palate brings more of the same, with fruit and savory flavors that provide intrigue.

Published on August 15, 2017
About the Author
Nils Bernstein
Contributing Editor, Food

A fan of sweet wines, sour beers, and old-school Rioja, Bernstein is an exhaustive traveler in search of new and unsung chefs and restaurants, innovative wine and food pairings, and eating and drinking at the source. In addition to Wine Enthusiast, Bernstein has written for Bon Appetit, Men’s Journal, New York Times, Men’s Fitness, Hemispheres, and Kinfolk, among others.

Email: nbernstein@wineenthusiast.net



SUBSCRIBE TO
NEWSLETTERS
The latest wine reviews, trends and recipes plus special offers on wine storage and accessories
Please enter a valid email address
privacy policy