Chicken and Hot Sauce Brine
2-3 pounds skinless chicken breasts, cut in 4-5 inch, strips, 1 ½ inches thick *
1 1/2 cup hot sauce, pref. Trappey's Red Devil brand
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt * (if sea salt, use 5 teaspoons)
4 teaspoons sugar
Special Seasoned Flour Coating Mix
4 eggs, beaten, for dipping chicken
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup finely ground soda crackers
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teapoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup cornmeal
Hot, Sweet and Sassy Drizzle Sauce
3/4 cup hot sauce. preferably Red Devil by Trappeys
1/4 cup salted butter, melted
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Canola Oil for Frying, about 5 cups, or as required
Make sure salt is fine, kosher or seas salt. It is available in the kosher section of most food markets or through food suppliers. If it is not available, reduce salt 20% (and use sea salt. Kosher salt is pure (no iodine aftertaste) and less salty than regular salt and is ideal in cooking and baking. Sea salt is also very good in this recipe.
Cut chicken into 4-5 inch lengths, about 1-1 ½ inches thick. Some pieces will be smaller (inner filet of chicken, etc).
In a large, non-reactive bowl, blend vinegar, hot sauce, salt, and sugar together and still to dissolve salt and sugar. Add in chicken pieces. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 12 – 6-8 hours is best.
For the Seasoned Flour Coating, first, whisk the eggs together in a large bowl. Set aside.
Place two large sheets of parchment paper on your work surface. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line two large, doubled-up baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large (6-8 quart) bowl, blend all dry ingredients for Seasoned Flour Coating.
Drain chicken pieces (discard brine) and dip each first in flour, then in eggs, and then in flour again – as generously as you can. Lay each piece out on the parchment paper on the working surface. Repeat until all pieces are coated.
Place two 12 inch skillets on the range, and fill each 1/3 full with oil.
Heat to 375 F. Place a few pieces of the chicken back in the Seasoned Flour and re-coat them, shake off, and fry each, a few minutes each side, to golden brown.
Repeat (gently reflouring a few pieces at a time) and use tongs to remove browned pieces to baking sheets.
When all the chicken tenders are done, place in oven about 15 minutes until chicken tests done. (Oven finishes the cooking and shortens frying).
Serve in baskets, with carrot sticks, celery, Tropicana Mango, Grilled Onion and Vidalia Onion Salsa. I also suggest Cilantro Steamed Basmati Rice as a side dish or chili crusted Yukon Gold potato wedges.
Just before serving, drizzle some Hot, Sweet and Sassy Drizzle Sauce on the chicken, OR offer as a dipping sauce on the side.
For Hot Sweet and Sassy Drizzle:
Heat up ingredients to just simmering, about 3-4 minutes, on low, in a 2 quart saucepan. Remove from stove and offer as a dipping sauce or drizzle on chicken pieces.Serve chicken in individual baskets as a main dish.
Makes about 30-40 pieces, depending on size,
Serves 4-6, depending on if it is appetizer or main dish
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