The airwaves have been inundated with the talk… 10 nuggets for $1.49.
How good could they be, really. And that’s the basis of this whole exercise. The thing is, I don’t make very good fried chicken, and Jane knows it. I didn’t get that grandmotherly gene of tempering flavor / heat / coating to make bone-in Southern Fried Chicken work. So… a dollar forty-nine, a cheap, easy way to get that crispy fried soulful satisfaction – it seemed like a doer.
It’s not. Aside from the questionable oil that it’s fried in, it honestly isn’t even chicken. I’m not sure a chicken walked very close to the factory where they were made. They’re stodgy, spongy… kinda rubbery…. with the most notable flavor being an overabundance of soy protein. And to be brutally honest, it’s the same with any mass-produced, faster – than – prudent establishment serving up the little crispy jewels.
So, it’s back to the drawing board and finding a way to get maximum flavor out of a relatively tasteless piece of protein where you don’t have the added benefit of crispy, crackly skin pushing your oil bathed chicky into southern fried nirvana.
And for that… we need brine – and buttermilk.
We’re basing some of the process on that “other” faster food establishment, and using a brine – and dill pickle juice.
Double-Dipped Buttermilk Fried Chicken Nuggets
Makes 30 Nuggets…. or 1 serving (for me).
For the Brine:
3 (6 to 8 ounce) Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts – Whole
1/4 Cup Dill Pickle Juice
1/2 Cup Whole Cultured Buttermilk
1/2 Teaspoon Poultry Seasoning
1/4 Teaspoon each Salt & Pepper
1 Large Zipper Bag
For the Nuggets:
1 Cup AP Flour + 1/4 Teaspoon each Poultry Seasoning, Salt & Pepper – for the dredge
1 Cup Buttermilk + 1/2 Teaspoon Poultry Seasoning – for the dip
4 Cups Canola Oil
Deep Fat Fryer
2 Large Bowls
Place the breasts and all the brining ingredients into the zipper bag. Squitch everything around until well mixed and refrigerate overnight (minimum 12 hours)
The next day,
Cut each breast into 10 (1″) pieces. The easiest way is to cut the breasts into 3 long strips, then divide the strips into 3 to 4 even sections. You should get between 9 to 10 “nuggets” per 6 ounce breast.
Set up your coating station – Flour & spices in one bowl / buttermilk and seasoning in the other.
Once your nuggets are made, heat your oil to 350 degrees. While that’s getting ready, dredge each nugget into the seasoned flour and set on a rack until all the nuggets are done
Once complete, dip each back into the buttermilk mixture, back into the dredging flour, and replace back on the rack to set for a bit (10 minutes)
Be careful to work near a sink… and only use one hand for this – you’re going to end up with gunky southern fried fingers… there’s nothing you can do about it.
Working in small batches, carefully drop 6 to 7 nuggets at a time into the oil, and fry for 5 minutes.
Drain them on paper toweled racks
Serve them up with a little ranch dressing or honey mustard, and you’re good to go.
And so what if they are a little more work. It’s real chicken, with real chicken flavor, and real granny’s fried chicken crunch. And seeing that it’s a dollar a breast, and about another dollar for the rest – you’re still doing better than $1.49… for something you really have no idea what it is.
and…. if you REALLY have a problem making nuggets, clip this –
– and paste it over the other picture….
There, all fixed.