Idaho Finger Steaks with Spicy Cajun Dipping Sauce

This Idaho Finger Steaks with Spicy Cajun Dipping Sauce post is sponsored by the New York Beef Council, but the opinions are entirely my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Spiced!

Have you ever heard of Idaho Finger Steaks?  Sometimes called Idaho’s best kept secret, finger steaks are a delicious finger food…perfect for appetizers or a comfort food meal!

Have you ever heard of Idaho Finger Steaks?  Sometimes called Idaho's best kept secret, finger steaks are a delicious finger food...perfect for appetizers or a comfort food meal!

When you think of Idaho and food, there’s a good chance potatoes are the first thing that comes to mind.  After all, Idaho does rank 1st in the US in potato production.  But did you realize that cattle play a significant role in Idaho’s agriculture, too?  Indeed, cattle and calves rank 2nd behind dairy in terms of cash receipts for Idaho agricultural commodities.

Aside from the importance of cattle within the overall Idaho economy, one of the more unique features of the Idaho beef industry is the fact that most beef cows are raised on open pastures.  While the concept of open pastures might be common in the western half of the United States, this practice is not seen much in the eastern states.  More than 2/3 of Idaho’s land is owned by state and federal government.  In an open pasture system, farmers and ranchers lease open ranch land from the government.  In turn, their cattle are allowed to graze and roam freely on that land.

Have you ever heard of Idaho Finger Steaks?  Sometimes called Idaho's best kept secret, finger steaks are a delicious finger food...perfect for appetizers or a comfort food meal!

Did you know that cattle have the right-of-way in Idaho?  It’s true!  Given the open nature of Idaho’s grazing lands, cattle – not the driver – have the right-of-way.  Fun facts to know and share!

Idaho Finger Steaks

Any discussion of the beef industry in Idaho has to include Idaho Finger Steaks.  So what exactly is a finger steak?  Some Idahoans like to think of finger steaks as Idaho’s answer to Southern fried chicken.  Think juicy steak that is cut into strips, breaded and battered and then fried until crispy.  They’re unique…and they’re delicious!

Growing up in the eastern half of the country, I wasn’t aware of finger steaks.  They are wildly popular all over Idaho, and nearly every casual restaurant has their own secret recipe for finger steaks.  In fact, finger steaks are so engrained within the culture of Idaho that the finger steak was one of the art designs submitted for the Idaho quarter!  Somehow Idahoans have managed to keep this recipe as their best kept secret.  Well, the cat is out of the bag!

Have you ever heard of Idaho Finger Steaks?  Sometimes called Idaho's best kept secret, finger steaks are a delicious finger food...perfect for appetizers or a comfort food meal!

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit an Idaho ranch virtually.  As part of this program through the Idaho Beef Council, I got a chance to visit with Wyatt and Christie Prescott.  The Prescott are ranchers who live in south-central Idaho, and it was fascinating to hear them describe an average day in their lives.  Christie pointed out the nearest town was over an hour away…but she can carve a bit of time off the trip by using a secret short cut through the mountains!

During the virtual tour, I not only learned about the importance of the Idaho beef industry, but I also learned about finger steaks…and I can’t wait to share this recipe with you today!  There’s a reason why finger steaks are so popular in Idaho!

Have you ever heard of Idaho Finger Steaks?  Sometimes called Idaho's best kept secret, finger steaks are a delicious finger food...perfect for appetizers or a comfort food meal!

How to make Idaho Finger Steaks

Idahoans use a wide variety of beef cuts to make finger steaks, but the most common cuts are either top sirloin or cube steak.  I used cube steak to make this version, and it worked beautifully!  Cube steak, also known as cubed steak, is a cut of beef that is tenderized with a meat tenderizer.  The name comes from the shape of the indentions left in the meat after the tenderizing process.

Cube steak is the most common cut of beef for chicken fried steak.  As a Southern boy, I grew up eating chicken fried steak – it’s delicious.  Finger steaks are similar to chicken fried steak, but they are a finger food…and I personally love finger food!

Have you ever heard of Idaho Finger Steaks?  Sometimes called Idaho's best kept secret, finger steaks are a delicious finger food...perfect for appetizers or a comfort food meal!

How to serve Idaho Finger Steaks

Idaho Finger Steaks are often served with French fries, a piece of buttered toast and a cold beer.  Talk about comfort food at its best right there!  Unlike chicken fried steak which is typically served with gravy, Idaho Finger Steaks are served with a dipping sauce.  Christie noted that steak sauce is popular in her house, although Fry Sauce seems to be one of the most popular sauces across the state.  (Fry sauce is a tasty combination of mayonnaise and ketchup.)

There’s no right or wrong way to make Idaho Finger Steaks.  You can play around with the breading mixture – although I have to say that the saltines used in this version worked very well!  I served these finger steaks with a Spicy Cajun Dipping Sauce.  This sauce is a riff on fry sauce in that it uses both mayonnaise and ketchup, although the proportions are a bit different.  Oh, and there’s a little splash of dill pickle juice in there, too.  Don’t skip on the pickle juice – just trust me!

Have you ever heard of Idaho Finger Steaks?  Sometimes called Idaho's best kept secret, finger steaks are a delicious finger food...perfect for appetizers or a comfort food meal!

If you’re looking for some mighty tasty comfort food, then try making a batch of Idaho Finger Steaks with a Spicy Cajun Dipping Sauce.  Finger steaks are popular all across Idaho, and now they are popular in our house, too!  Enjoy!

Did you make a batch of these Idaho Finger Steaks with a Spicy Cajun Dipping Sauce?  Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – I’d love to see your version!

Have you ever heard of Idaho Finger Steaks?  Sometimes called Idaho's best kept secret, finger steaks are a delicious finger food...perfect for appetizers or a comfort food meal!

Idaho Finger Steaks

Have you ever heard of Idaho Finger Steaks?  Sometimes called Idaho's best kept secret, finger steaks are a delicious finger food…perfect for appetizers or a comfort food meal!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 695kcal

Ingredients

For the Finger Steaks

  • 16 oz. cube steak
  • 1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • ½ Tbsp black pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 sleeve saltine crackers 4 oz., or ~36 crackers
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • vegetable oil for frying

For the Spicy Cajun Dipping Sauce

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp cream-style horseradish sauce
  • 2 tsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp dill pickle juice
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Instructions

For the Finger Steaks

  • Cut cube steak into strips and season with Cajun seasoning and black pepper.
  • Using a large, shallow bowl, add the eggs; whisk until well combined; set aside.
  • Using a food processor, add the saltine crackers and pulse until finely ground. Mix garlic salt into the cracker crumbs. Place crumbs in a separate shallow bowl.
  • Using a heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven, add enough vegetable oil to cover 1½-2” of bottom of pan. Place over medium-high heat and heat to ~350°F. (Note: To test oil temperature, drop a pinch of cracker crumbs into the oil. If it sizzles right away, then the oil is ready.)
  • Working with one strip of steak at a time, dip steak into egg mixture and then into the cracker mixture. Place finger steaks in the hot oil and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and fully cooked. (Note: If necessary, work in batches so you do not crowd the pan.)
  • Transfer cooked finger steaks to a plate lined with a brown paper bag or paper towels.
  • Serve with Spicy Cajun Dipping Sauce.

For the Spicy Cajun Dipping Sauce

  • Using a small bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk together until well combined. (Tip: This sauce will taste better if you make it earlier in the day and then cover it and refrigerate it for a couple of hours.)
Have you ever heard of Idaho Finger Steaks?  Sometimes called Idaho's best kept secret, finger steaks are a delicious finger food...perfect for appetizers or a comfort food meal!

Looking for more tasty beef recipes?  Check out some of these other favorites, too:

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Starting with a classic chuck roast, these Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches make for an easy and delicious comfort food meal!

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17 Comments

  1. Will be making this soon can i use tempeh or tofu / flax eggs and vegan mayo as am a vegan perfect for my after office meals will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya

    1. Hey Ramya! Hmmm, I can’t speak to those substitutions as I haven’t tried them. However, I think the concept and cooking style could totally be replicated. If you do try it out, let me know…I’d be curious as to how it works out! 🙂

    1. Idaho finger steaks need to be more popular – they are awesome! And the saltine cracker crust is both easy and delicious. Thanks, Marissa!

  2. finger steaks? what a great idea. i’ve never actually cooked a steak in my life, can you believe? I do eat steak once or twice a year when i go out tho. I will definitely give way to cows when i am in idaho:) the dipping sauce sounds very tasty!

    1. Never cooked a steak in your life? Gosh! I do remember you saying that you don’t eat steak too often. I’m guessing it might be a little hard to find Idaho finger steaks down there in Australia…haha! And, yes, when in Idaho, let the cows go first. 🙂

  3. Holly steak finger David, you’ve hit on another one of my weaknesses. In my past working days, I traveled through Idaho often and always ordered finger steak when it was on the menu. However, I don’t remember the cajun dipping sauce. I’ve got to try this.
    We used to deep fry up Texas steak fingers in my young days, but I liked those Idaho finger steaks better. It’s all in the batter you know.
    As I’m off of fried food, I’ll have to give this a try baked in the oven.
    Cows having the right of way? Always in my book no matter what the law says…

    1. Man, you really did travel everywhere didn’t you, Ron? I haven’t had the chance to visit Idaho myself (yet), but it was fun to learn about Idaho finger steaks. (The Cajun dipping sauce is my addition…although it is highly recommended!)

      The saltine cracker crust is unique here, but it totally works. I remember you saying saltines aren’t a thing over there, but perhaps you could use your homemade saltines? And I bet baking these could work, too.

      Either way, let the cows go first. That’s my rule, too. 🙂

  4. Oh my goodness, this takes me back to childhood! My mother used to make finger steaks (from cubed steak or “minute steaks,” as she called them), I hadn’t thought about a finger steak in years and years. But the weird thing…my mother lived in the South all her life and never visited Idaho. And she never made chicken fried steak. Now I’m wondering where she learned about it —or maybe it’s also a thing peculiar to Mid-Tenn. I just don’t know! Hmmm…but I do know I’m going to be making them soon!

    1. Yes! I’ve heard that term ‘minute steaks’ before. That’s so funny that your mother called them that, too! That is a really interesting question you raise about the origin of this recipe, though. The recipe originated in Idaho, but I wonder if perhaps your mother got the recipe from somewhere else – or even a magazine? I initially thought about the chicken fried steak angle, too, but you said she didn’t make that one. Who knows! Either way, this recipe is a good one – we had a lot of fun with these! Thanks, Kim!! (P.S. We’re heading down to Tennessee later this summer…I can’t wait!)

      1. I’ll never know where she got the idea or recipe, but I’ll forever wonder now. Enjoy Tennessee this summer!

  5. I have to admit, I’ve never heard for finger steaks, but they sound really tasty. Since the weather isn’t going to be cooperating this weekend, a cookout looks unlikely. This could be a fine alternative…

    1. Our long weekend was pretty dull here, too – the weather just didn’t cooperate. I hear ya about finger steaks – they were new to me as well, but these are quite fantastic! In fact, I could see these being a great tailgate food in the fall. Either way, hope your weekend was relaxing, Frank!

    1. Ah, interesting! Thanks so much for sharing, Jonny. I have heard of using elk for finger steaks. Elk isn’t common here in our part of the country, though. Either way, I appreciate you sharing the insight! 🙂

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