Often called Poor Man’s Steak, Salisbury Steak has earned a spot on the table as a delicious comfort dish that has stood the test of time.
Salisbury Steak is a common main dish in Southern kitchens and served at diners and Meat and Three restaurants across the South. This popular recipe is typically served with mashed potatoes and with sides like green beans and fried okra in southern states.
What is Salisbury Steak?
Basically, a Salisbury Steak is a hamburger (made with ground beef or minced beef) that can be fried, baked, or broiled and then is served without a bun and usually with some type of gravy. The most common Salisbury Steak gravy in the South is a brown gravy, but some versions have a tomato based gravy.
History of Salisbury Steak
Ironically, Salisbury Steak was invented in the north in New York, although the dish has been adopted by Southern cooks and restaurants and would now be considered a staple Southern dish.
Dr. James Henry Salisbury, the inventor of Salisbury Steak, was a medical doctor and nutritionist during the 19th century. He thought that diet played a key role in heath and asserted that vegetables were unhealthy. Salisbury advocated eating lean beef three times per day along with drinking lots of water to flush the digestive system.
Militia members, during the Civil War, turned to Salisbury Steak to treat diarrhea which was rampart during the war between the states. Salisbury Steak is still a common entrée in military MRE (meals ready to eat); however, the ground meat meal is not considered to be a cure for any health ills.
Salisbury Steak Recipe
More modern Southern Salisbury Steak recipes often feature canned soups to make the gravy; however, the old fashioned or traditional gravy was made with a grease base with flour for thickening.
- 1 pound ground beef (or mined meat)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup saltine crackers (crumbled well)
- Mix ingredients together by hand and form meat into patties basically the size and shape of steaks.
- Brown the ground beef patties in a skillet until cooked through.
- Remove patties from pan.
- Drain fat from skillet – leaving around 3 tablespoons for the gravy.
Salisbury Steak Gravy Recipe
- 3 TBS flour
- 2 beef bouillon cubes
- 2 cups hot water
- In the skillet used to fry the Salisbury Steak patties (still hot), whisk or stir in flour with a fork until dissolved.
- Dissolve bouillon cubes in hot water and then add water mixture to skillet.
- Cook on medium high while stirring until gravy thickens.
- Add Salisbury Steak patties to gravy, put lid on skillet, and let simmer on low until patties are heated through and flavored by gravy.