6(5 ounce)cube steakspounded to 1/3-inch thickness
4 to 5cupspeanut oilor vegetable oil
For the gravy:
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the steak:
In a large shallow dish, whisk together flour, cayenne pepper, 5 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.
In a second bowl, beat egg with baking powder and baking soda. Stir in buttermilk.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil for easy clean up and set a wire rack coated with oil or nonstick spray on top. Pat steaks dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
Working with one steak at a time, drop into seasoned flour and turn to coat. Shake to remove excess flour, then dip in egg mixture and turn to coat.
Dredge again in flour mixture, shake off excess, and set on wire rack. Repeat with remaining steaks.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat oven to 200 degrees and line a second rimmed baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup. Top with wire rack. Line a large plate with paper towels.
In a Dutch oven or large stock pot, heat 1 inch oil to 375 degrees. Working in batches, fry steaks until deep golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes.
Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Transfer to wire rack and place in oven. Return oil to 375 degrees and repeat with remaining steaks (do not discard fat). Keep warm in oven while making gravy.
To make the gravy:
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the pan (drain the oil through a fine-mesh sieve if desired). Heat over medium heat and add onion and thyme. Cook until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk in flour until cooked through, about 1 minute. Whisk in broth, scraping up any brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
Whisk in milk, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste (I like 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Bring to simmer over medium-high heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. The gravy will thicken more as it cools.
Serve steaks hot with gravy on top. Pass any remaining gravy separately.
Adapted from Cook Country's Texas Chicken-Fried Steak.