Buttermilk Chicken Fried Chicken Fingers Wendy Goodfriend
Buttermilk Chicken Fried Chicken Fingers (Wendy Goodfriend)

Get Your Super Bowl On: Buttermilk Chicken-Fried Chicken Fingers

Get Your Super Bowl On: Buttermilk Chicken-Fried Chicken Fingers

I’m not much of a deep-fried person, but I’m a sucker for fried chicken in all its glorious guises. Southern-fried, spicy, Vietnamese tangy-sweet, chicken fingers, as long as they are great quality, I’m there. Whatever the type, fried chicken just begs for a party too, so why not make it for The Big Game (or really any gathering, it doesn’t need to involve sports).

Chicken-fried chicken is a Texas staple, and it may sound strange but dang is it good. Usually, it’s made with a whole boneless chicken breast, deep-fried, and served with creamy country gravy. Wow. Not for the faint of heart. This simplified recipe is more party-friendly (and definitely kid-friendly) and easier to eat with your fingers.

This Southern-fried version is actually quite simple. I like to brine mine because I think it makes the chicken much more flavorful and juicy. It’s all about locking in the juiciness of the meat, and adding just enough herbs and spices to make it interesting.

Here, I brine the chicken in an herbed and spiced buttermilk mixture. You can adjust the spiciness level by either omitting the cayenne or adding more to your taste. I like doing it for a few hours because it ensures there is loads of flavor, but you can do it for just 30 minutes if you like.

Prep them before the game starts and fry them during halftime or fry them before the game and just pop them into a 375F oven to re-warm and crisp up before serving.

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You can serve them on their own, or set out BBQ sauce, lemon wedges, honey mustard dressing, or just some ketchup. Or if you are really feeling nostalgic for this Texas relic, make some country gravy.

Buttermilk Chicken Fried Chicken Fingers
Buttermilk Chicken Fried Chicken Fingers (Wendy Goodfriend)

Buttermilk Chicken-Fried Chicken Fingers

Makes 8 to 10 servings (as appetizers)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 large halves), trimmed and cut into 1-inch-wide strips
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Canola or peanut oil for deep frying
Trim and cut chicken into 1-inch-wide strips.
Trim and cut chicken into 1-inch-wide strips. (Wendy Goodfriend)

Instructions

    1. In a large bowl, whisk together the salt and all the herbs and spices. Whisk in the buttermilk, then add the chicken, turning them to coat evenly in the buttermilk mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
In a large bowl, whisk together the salt and all the herbs and spices. Whisk in the buttermilk.
In a large bowl, whisk together the salt and all the herbs and spices. Whisk in the buttermilk. (Wendy Goodfriend)
Add the chicken, turning them to coat evenly in the buttermilk mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
Add the chicken, turning them to coat evenly in the buttermilk mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. (Wendy Goodfriend)
    1. Spread the flour in a shallow baking dish. Pick up a chicken strip and let the buttermilk mixture drip off (but leave some of it coating the chicken). Dredge each strip in the flour mixture, coating it evenly, then set it aside on a plate.
Pick up a chicken strip and let the buttermilk mixture drip off (but leave some of it coating the chicken). Dredge each strip in the flour mixture, coating it evenly, then set it aside on a plate.
Pick up a chicken strip and let the buttermilk mixture drip off (but leave some of it coating the chicken). Dredge each strip in the flour mixture, coating it evenly, then set it aside on a plate. (Wendy Goodfriend)
    1. Preheat the oven to 200F and place a baking sheet lined with a wire rack onto the middle rack of the oven.
    2. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 1/2 inch of oil until 350F.* Fry the chicken fingers in batches, turning occasionally, until they are crisp and golden brown on all sides, about 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to the rack in the oven to keep warm while you finish frying the remaining chicken fingers.
Fry the chicken fingers in batches, turning occasionally.
Fry the chicken fingers in batches, turning occasionally. (Wendy Goodfriend)
Fry until they are crisp and golden brown on all sides, about 5 to 8 minutes.
Fry until they are crisp and golden brown on all sides, about 5 to 8 minutes. (Wendy Goodfriend)
Transfer to the rack in the oven to keep warm while you finish frying the remaining chicken fingers.
Transfer to the rack in the oven to keep warm while you finish frying the remaining chicken fingers. (Wendy Goodfriend)
  1. Serve at once with dipping sauce (see above for suggestions).

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*NOTE: If you are deep-frying other things, you can also deep-fry these: Fill a large heavy pot with about 2 inches of the oil (make sure that the pot is no more than half full; I like to use an enameled cast iron Dutch oven). Warm the oil over medium-high heat to 350F (it’s best to attach a deep-fry thermometer to the pot to keep an eye on the oil temperature). Regulate the temperature as you fry by adjusting the heat to keep it as close to 350F as possible.

Buttermilk Chicken Fried Chicken Fingers ready to eat!
Buttermilk Chicken Fried Chicken Fingers ready to serve! (Wendy Goodfriend)

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