Finger steaks consist of 2–3” long by 1/2" wide strips of steak (usually sirloin), battered with a tempura-like batter, and deep-fried in oil. Typically they are served with French fries and a buttered piece of thick toast. They are commonly found in restaurants, bars, and fast-food joints (either handmade or of the frozen variety) in Southern Idaho and less frequently in nearby states but are not well known outside the Inland Northwest.
Finger steaks are purported to have been first served in a restaurant setting at Boise, Idaho’s “Milo’s Torch Lounge” (aka The Torch) in 1957. Milo Bybee claimed to have invented finger steaks while wondering what to do with leftover tenderloin scraps when he was working as a butcher for the U.S. Forest Service in McCall. Bybee went to work as a chef at the Torch in 1946. Others claim that Milo himself did not invent the recipe but that it was passed onto him by the original owners of The Torch. Either way, Finger Steaks are somewhat of a local specialty in Boise with many different homemade varieties.
Their legendary origin is so closely tied to Idaho that one suggestion for the Idaho state quarter design was to “do something with the fact that Idaho is the home of finger steaks,” submitted to the state arts commission on a napkin.
Finger steaks were produced as a frozen food by B and D Foods, which was founded in 1972 to supply its Signature Finger steak to a chain of fast food restaurants, the Red Steer, a now defunct chain of fast food burger joints in Idaho.
- Finger Steaks recipe -- one of the recipes from the cook off
- Finger Steaks recipe -- Patio Daddio BBQ
- Finger Steaks recipe -- ManTestedRecipes
- Idaho Statesman finger steak cook-off results, with recipe voted "most like" Milo's original
- Video of Finger-steak cook off