Printed with the permission of the Alpine Avalanche
On the many trips we’ve made back and forth between Boerne and Fort Davis, we’ve always considered Ozona our half-way point. Sometimes, we’re on the road at lunch time, and other times, we are in-between meals and just cruise on through Ozona.
On our most recent trip from the Davis Mountains down to the Hill Country, we decided to stop for lunch at the Hitchin’ Post Steakhouse in Ozona. We’ve been to the Hitchin’ Post Steakhouse several times and have enjoyed everything we’ve eaten there. The chicken fried steak is almost as good as my own, and I didn’t have to lift a finger to make it or the creamy gravy.
The “small” chicken tenders plate with fried okra. I’m a sucker for fried chicken tenders. And cream gravy. And fried okra.
Ozona, located in Crockett County, was created in 1875 and named after Alamo hero David Crockett. San Angelo is the closest city at 82 miles away, with the town of Junction a mere 92 miles the other direction. Ozona is known for its hunting leases and wool and mohair production, as well as oil and gas.
The structure the restaurant is in was built in 1950 as a sheep barn, and converted to a restaurant in 1989, where they strive to serve the “finest cuts of meat available.” They cut their steaks by hand daily, grind their own hamburger, hand-batter chicken-fried steaks and chicken strips, steak fingers, fish, onion rings and more.
The British Burger – a British man once wanted a burger with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, grilled onions, two types of cheese, bacon, mustard and a secret sauce… and it was good.
While the Hitchin’ Post is a steakhouse, they also serve a variety of large salads, sandwiches and burgers. They have “small” chicken fried steak, steak fingers and chicken strips plates “for the not so hungry folks” and they are served with two sides, as the regular-sized portions are served. The children’s menu offers a child-size chicken fried steak, steak fingers or chicken strips, and a “Big Bowl of Macaroni & Cheese.”
If you are traveling between here and there and happen to have a growling stomach in Ozona, do yourself a favor and stop by the Hitchin’ Post Steakhouse.
The “regular” chicken fried steak… that’s a huge plate, by the way.
Chicken Fried Steak and Gravy
(inspired by the Hitchin’ Post)
4 (1/2 pound) beef cube steaks (although my best results have been with NY Strip and Ribeye steaks)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
Oil for frying (I like grapeseed oil and put about 1-1/2 inches in fying pan)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
Pound the steaks to about 1/4-inch thickness. Place 2 cups of flour in a shallow bowl. For the batter, in another shallow bowl, stir together the baking powder, baking soda, pepper, and salt then add in the buttermilk, egg, pepper sauce, and garlic and mix well. Dredge each steak first in the flour, then in the batter, and again in the flour. Pat the flour onto the surface of each steak so they are completely coated with dry flour. It can get messy here.
Heat the oil in a deep cast-iron skillet to 325 degrees, hot enough that if you drop a bit of batter it will sizzle. Fry the steaks until evenly golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Place fried steaks on a plate with paper towels to drain. Drain the oil from the skillet, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid and as much of the solid remnants as possible.
Return the skillet to medium-low heat with the reserved oil. Whisk the remaining flour into the oil. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to release solids into the gravy. Stir in the milk, raise the heat to medium, and bring the gravy to a simmer, cook until thick, 6 to 7 minutes. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Spoon the gravy over the steaks to serve. Yum.