Chick-fil-a Style Chicken Tenders

Feed that Sunday craving.

I was lucky enough to grow up in the South with a Chick-fil-a close by.  Basically anytime I wanted it (in moderation). Back when they were in malls across the South and in an occasional airport.  I’d like to think that I was a little spoiled that way.

However

Sundays.  Totally respect and understand why Chick-fil-a closes their doors.  My stomach & brain sometimes disagree.  Why is it that we always want something we can’t have?  So, I decided I would try to replicate that #1 Chicken Sandwich flavor as best I could.  And it is really good.  Pickles are the key.  I truly don’t think you can get that flavor without them.  And (crazy I know) I don’t actually eat the pickles.  However I do use the juice and pop some extra on my sandwiches to have that extra pickle-y flavor. So, if you have a craving on say, a Sunday or you just happen to live far away from one of the best chicken places around, this should ease your pain.

This recipe is composed of three major parts.  Making the marinade, blending the seasoning flour, and then (of course) the whole frying part.  If you go ahead and make the flour as your oil is heating up, the whole process goes pretty smoothly.  I’ve broken down the ingredients between the marinade and the flour, instead of having you divide when you get to the different points in the recipe.  That seems to be easier for me to remember.

IMG_5699

Chick-fil-a style Chicken Tenders

Ingredients:

  • 4 Chicken Breasts or 8-12 Chicken Tenders

Marinade

  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Salt1/2 teaspoon Pepper1/2 cup Pickle Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • Oil for frying (I use peanut oil)
  • 2 Eggs

Seasoned flour

  • 2-3 cups Flour
  • 1 TB Cornstarch
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp paprika (optional)
  • 1 tsp cayenne (optional)

Cut chicken breasts into strips and season with salt, pepper. Place in a sealed bag with sugar, garlic salt, pepper, pickle juice, and milk.  Let marinade for at least 4 hours to overnight.

When ready to fry the chicken, fill a high walled pot with oil (about 4” high) and heat.  Mix seasoned flour mixture together and place in a pie pan or shallow dish.  Sit the flour mixture next to your oil if possible for quick placement into the pot.  Whisk together 2 eggs and place in a dish on the other side of your flour mixture.

Once your oil is hot, take the chicken strips out a few at a time and dust lightly in flour mixture. Dip into the egg mixture until completely wet, shaking of excess liquid.  Dredge wet tenders back into the flour mixture until coated and place into the hot pot of oil.

Usually I place about four chicken tenders at a time in the oil, working in batches to keep the temperature of the oil from dropping too drastically.  Cook for 8-12 minutes depending on the size of the strips, flipping in the oil for even cooking.  Once the tenders look golden brown, use a fork or tongs to remove from the oil. Measure the internal temperature with a meat thermometer in the thickest spot of the tender.  The chicken should be at least 165 degrees and the juices will run clear.  If the tenders have not reached that temperature, continue cooking in the oil until the 165 is reached.

Place finished chicken tenders on a wire rack with paper towels underneath to catch any excess oil. Serve on buttered buns, with your favorite dipping sauce, or just right off the rack once cooled (make sure you don’t burn your tongue!).IMG_5699.JPG

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