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.
- 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
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
- 1 cup chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Mix ingredients well, and refrigerate for up to three days.
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.