Nashville Hot Chicken Tenders

2016-02-06
  • Yield : 24
  • Servings : 6-8
  • Prep Time : 10m
  • Cook Time : 25m
  • Ready In : 60m

This recipe is legitimately hot, maybe fiery depending on your constitution. The textures of crispy against tender chicken, and a bit of oiliness from the brushed on spice oil is nothing compared to the flavor. First bite is garlicky which soon turns to a scorch from the cayenne then it is up to you. Take a bite of pickle, relish here, and the heat meter amps up, or bite into some bread to dial it down. This is a heat seeker’s heaven. Nashville Hot chicken is usually fried, but here it is shallow fried, and can also be air fried. The picture is of air fried tenders.

Ingredients

  • Marinade:
  • 4 cups (1 qt) buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 2 TB salt
  • 2 TB sugar
  • 3 - 3-1/2 # chicken tenders
  • Spice Oil & Coating:
  • 3 TB coconut oil
  • 1 TB cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • vegetable oil for shallow frying

Method

Step 1

Make the marinade by whisking together buttermilk, hot sauce, salt, and sugar in a large container. Add chicken tenders arranging so they are completely submerged. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour up to 8 hours.

Step 2

Prepare the spice oil by adding coconut oil, cayenne, paprika, 1/2 tsp salt, garlic powder, and sugar to a skillet over medium high heat. Once oil starts sizzling, turn off heat. Give everything a stir. Set aside until needed.

Step 3

In a gallon zip top bag, combine flour, remaining 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper. Add about 1/3 of tenders to bag and coat all over with seasoned flour. Shake a little to remove excess. Lay aside on a wire rack. Continue with remaining tenders. Don't discard flour.

Step 4

To shallow fry, heat 2" of vegetable oil in a heavy skillet with high sides (cast iron if you have it) until it shimmers. If using a thermometer, it should read 350 degrees for medium high heat. Re-coat about 1/3 of tenders or as many as will fit in skillet without crowding. Put into hot oil and fry until a deep golden brown before turning to fry other side. Try to keep the oil between 300-325 degrees. Once tenders are done, transfer to a clean wire rack, and hold in a warm oven while frying the remaining tenders.

Step 5

Once all tenders are fried, brush both sides of each tender with the spice oil. Serve with white bread, and pickles, or pickle relish. Refrigerate any leftovers. Leftovers can be turned into an awesome fried chicken salad by shredding leftover tenders into a bowl, adding enough mayonnaise to make a creamy base, add some chopped onion, pickle relish, and adjust salt and pepper. It is hard to give specific measurements since the number of leftover tenders will vary. Just add, then taste, and adjust. You can do it!

Step 6

To air fry, place 4-5 tenders in the air fryer basket. Air fry at 330 degrees for 10 minutes. Flip tenders over. Air fry at 390 degrees for 7-10 minutes. Don't be dismayed the flour will not become golden. It will harden, and mostly remain white with a few dark spots. Once you brush the oil on, the tenders take on a golden hue. The picture is of air fried tenders.

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