For the chicken fried steak: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Cut the steak into 4 equal portions.
Combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a bowl. Divide between two baking dishes. Place the buttermilk in a medium baking dish, add the remaining half of the spices and season with salt and black pepper.
Dredge the steak pieces a few at a time in the first dish of seasoned flour and pat off any excess. Then dip in the buttermilk and allow any excess to drain off. Dredge in the second dish of seasoned flour and pat off the excess. Put the steak pieces on a baking rack set over a baking sheet while the oil heats.
Place 1 inch of oil in a large cast-iron skillet until it reaches 350 degrees F on a thermometer. Add the steak, 2 pieces at a time, and cook until golden brown on both sides. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels and season with salt. Repeat with the remaining meat. Transfer the meat to a rack set on a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm while you make the gravy.
For the gravy: Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the skillet, leaving the crunchy pieces from the breading. Add the bacon and cook until golden brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.
Return the skillet to the stove over medium heat. Whisk the flour into the skillet and let cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the warm milk and continue to cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened. Stir in the heavy cream and thyme and season with salt and lots of black pepper.
Serve 1 steak piece per person ladled with some of the gravy and garnished with a few pieces of bacon. Garnish with thyme and parsley sprigs.