Ask Tim: Got a finger steak recipe? : comments

Return to Ask Tim: Got a finger steak recipe?

Finger Steak Recipe Right Here

Tim:

in answer to the question in your headline, I do have a recipe for finger steaks, although it may differ from the Torch's. A little background first.

My mom grew up in Boise, graduating from Boise High in 1965. She of course knew finger steaks from The Torch when it was a family restaurant.

But I was raised in the Vancouver/Portland area where I only knew finger steaks as my mom cooked them. Lucky for us, there is a local batter maker in Vancouver called "Pride of the West," just blocks from my childhood home. Our favorite home cooked meal was finger steaks: who can deny the greasy, chewy, fat saturated batter fried steaks!! (Incidentally, my mom's married name became Yinger and we always joked about opening up a restaurant in Washington called "Yinger's Fingers." Probably wouldn't have made it to franchise status.)

When I moved to Boise, my mom came to visit and said, "Hey, let's go down to the Torch for some finger steaks."

I replied, "Uh mom, there's something you should know about the Torch now...." We opted to make them at home.

In any case I am happy to pass on our family's not-so-big secret for finger steaks: go to your nearest meat department (Winco, Albertson's, and Walmart all carry this) and ask for a little yellow package of Pride of the West batter. Mix according to instructions (the beer batter recipe works great) and season the batter to taste. I usually add some cayenne pepper, onion powder or black pepper, but everybody has their tastes. (Incidentally this batter is killer for onion rings or fried zuchinni too. But not all in the same meal or you'll get really greased out.) And deep fry in vegetable oil till done.

I have long been chagrinned that Idaho Statesman's annual Best of the Treasure Valley review does not include a finger steaks category. For being the birthplace of such a cherished Northwest-only specialty, I think this is a travesty and deserves a reprimand by (or for) your editorial board. There are some great restaurants in Boise that are worthy of commendation that don't just serve the frozen steak nuggets distributed by B&D foods. A short list includes Westside Drive In, Dutch Goose, Westy's, Big Bun, and believe it or not, the Kopper Kitchen by the airport. And it's too bad Red Steer isn't still around.

I hope this helps.

Steven

worthy restaurants

Hey Steve, let's not forget to add the Capri diner to the your list. They've been around for decades and have never wavered from being a small town friendly atmosphere, and excellent food as well.

Finger Steak

If you get the recipe please pass it along. We miss the taste of them.

Finger this out

The worst part of eating finger steaks is having to spit out the nails.

I worked there as a cook

during my misguided youth. I thought about copying down the recipe, but I never did. However, I do remember it being fairly simple, and I do remember that it contained chicken bullion, some standard stuff from a one gallon jar.

There are enough people around who used to work there that the recipe is very likely to show up.

Your Facts Are Incorrect

Hi Tim,
It's been entertaining over the years to hear the stories about the Torch finger steaks. I do feel the need to correct you on a couple of points.
Milo did not invent the finger steaks. He worked as a "cook" for my grandparents, who bought the Torch when it was a night club in the 1940's. They are the ones who remodeled, put in a kitchen and turned it into a restaurant. Milo came along later. He even leased the business from them at one time. However, fingers steaks were something my grandfather knew about and wanted to tweak to his own personal taste.
I have the original family recipe and it does not have chicken bullion in it. It also was not the same batter used for the onion rings. Milo may have shared the recipe over the years, but everyone who has claimed they know it so far have not been correct.

Thank you,
Shellie J.

I do have the family recipe

Shellie,

A year after he turned it into a "gentleman's" club, and before he died, the owner of The Torch gave me the recipe of the infamous fingersteaks. Don't know if he was an uncle, brother, father, or step brother of yours, but I was very honored that he gave it to me.
I used to take my son there for his birthday every year, until one year we pulled into the parking lot and I realized my 11 yr. old couldn't go in. And I sure didn't want to. A single mom of three kids, I was working a second job, and he came in for an order for his strip club when I was working. I told him how disappointed I was (ok angry) that he not only tainted the amazing family restaurant, but destroyed a tradition for my son and I. For months I laid a guilt trip on him, and obviously it bothered him quite a bit, because one day he came in and asked if he gave me the recipe for 'the' fingersteaks, would I forgive him. Of course he made me promise to never give it out, which I never have, or ever will. I think he was having some guilt from other sources...perhaps family? And as a mother, I have the market cornever on guilt.
So, I do have the recipe, written for 5 gallons, which I need to figure out how to scale down to a quart, however haven't been in a hurry. I've told people I have it, as most like me, are natives and used to go there for the fingersteaks (now some go there for the nudity) but I've not made it yet.
Not sure why I'm telling you about it, really. I read the article from the statesman, but I chose to email you instead of Tim. Who the heck is this Eric dude? Whomever he is, I doubt he has the real recipe, and I'd like to speak to your grandmother. Again not sure why, except that I feel I have a great treasure, as well as a well kept secret, and no one to share memories with that I wouldn't be breaking a promise to.

You should, as I'm sure you know, be very proud of your family history and legacy. I promised him I would never share it with anyone, and I intend to take it to my grave.

Thanks for your time,

Mel

Good morning Mel,

The guy who died was not a relative, however was a good client of my grandmother's who "always paid the rent". She was somewhat shocked (to say the least)when he turned the business into the "club", but she was just happy the rent checks kept coming in. Her friends gave her quite the ribbing after the change.

Have you had a chance yet to look over the other recipes and compare them to what you have? If you have (and your recipe is the original family recipe) you probably noticed a substantial difference. I too have the same problem as you because I haven't spent the time to condense it down to a user-friendly amount. :)

I don't know who Eric is, and I couldn't tell from what I was looking at on the other website if he is from Meridian. I do know that his recipe has too many spices and is missing something very important. As I said before, I'm sure the recipe has evolved over the years. Who knows if people would even like the original anymore.

One time back in the 90's I went into the Torch and placed an order to go. I was so disappointed after getting home to open it up, put it on a plate and bite into the frozen center of a finger steak. I did put them along with the onion rings into the microwave, but they just weren't very good. This leads me to believe that what the Torch was selling back then wasn't an original recipe but what they were ordering from their food service provider along with their other supplies, previously frozen.

I am proud of my family history, my grandfather was quite the character. I miss him, a lot... and he's been gone for several years now.

Have a wonderful day Mel!
Shellie

Hey Tim, I have two

Hey Tim,

I have two questions for you. In your article, the person that posted the question about the Torch Finger Steaks said that he found "a close substitute" on the internet. Did he by chance list what that recipe is? I would be glad to find anything even close!! The second question is, would you use your powers of persuasion to try to convice Shellie J. to share her Grandfathers's recipe? Something so good, and that means so much to so many people should be shared. Don't you agree?

Thanks for any info you can round up!

Steve W.

Is this the one?

Milos-Torch-Cafe-Original-Idaho-Finger-Steaks

It appears to be from someone named Eric.

not even close

There is only one ingredient that is the same as the original besides meat and flour. Other than that the recipe is way off. They sound pretty good though. Just not the Torch's recipe.

Sorry no...

Nope, the recipe claiming to be Milo's from the Torch is not my grandfathers original recipe. Milo may have changed it though out the years but that is NOT the original.

And sorry Steve, talked with Gramma and the recipe stays in the family!

Thanks for the recipe

Thanks for the recipe Randall. It is closer to the original than anything I have seen so far.

Shellie,
Thanks for checking with your Gramma! I understand her wanting to keep it in the family. Are you married? :O)