Howdy, and thanks for stopping by the website! Today I’m going back to the basics a little bit and I want to teach you how to make the tenderest, crunchiest, most delicious chicken tenders this side of the Mississippi. And the other side, too.
Step 1: Select the Right Cut of Chicken
This might seem unnecessary to some folks that have been cooking chicken their whole lives, but I want to make sure y’all pick the right type of chicken.
Tip: Always select boneless skinless chicken breasts when you’re making chicken tenders, because it is the most tender part of the bird.
First, you’ll want a chicken breast. Why? Because breast meat is the most tender. When you are selecting your chicken breasts, make sure you pick up boneless and skinless breasts. The crunch in a good chicken tender comes from the fried batter, not from the skin like in fried chicken.
Step 2: Marinate
Before you get the marinade ready, put your chicken breasts in a giant zip loc bag or between two pieces of wax paper and get out your husband trainer. You don’t know what a husband trainer is? Well, get out your rolling pin and train that chicken to be flat, about an inch thick all over and no more.
Tip: Beating the chicken breast so it is flat will open up the membranes and allow more marinade inside. This will make even more tender chicken.
Take the chicken breast out of the bag or paper and trim off all of the fat. Next, and this is so important – is to cut all of the chicken tenders the same size. If you cut them the same size they will have the same cooking time. This prevents any of your tenders being over or under cooked.
Tip: Slice against the grain; making each piece of chicken the same size.
The recipe for the marinade is below. It involves soy, W sauce, liquid smoke and ketchup. Yes, ketchup! Tomato is acidic and it will help break down the chicken breast and make a tenderer tender.
Season the marinate with garlic powder, black pepper, and the other specified seasonings. Place the equal sized chicken slices into the marinade, fully covering each tender, and set in the ice box for 30 minutes.
Step 3: Dredge the Chicken
Folks, dredging something is how you get the chicken tenders breaded. I know a thing or two about this. In fact, I know so much about this that I beat Bobby Flay when he challenged me to make some chicken fried steak.
The dry ingredients for this dredge are flour, garlic powder, my mesquite seasoning, smoked paprika, baking powder, corn starch and some fresh oregano. Mix it all up.
Take the chicken right out of the marinade and coat with the dry mixture. I like to double baptize these to make them crispier, so go ahead and coat again with wet and dry dredge ingredients.
Tip: Set the chicken on a wire rack for a few minutes after dredging. This will give the batter some time to set up and stick to the meat a little better.
Step 4: Fry
Get the peanut oil to about 350 – 375 degrees and add a few pieces of chicken to the oil. Leave plenty of room in the Dutch oven so that the chicken tenders don’t stick together.
Fry for 3-4 minutes or until the chicken tenders look golden brown. Cool for a few minutes before you take a bite. It’ll be hard, but I have faith in you.
As always, I’d like to thank you for watching our videos and visiting our website. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel and look for new videos every Wednesday and Sunday afternoons. Give us a like on all of your favorite videos. Enjoy those chicken tenders and we’ll see y’all down the trail with a new recipe. Adios!
P.S. Still hungry? Check out our remake of the Dairy Queen Steak Finger basket. It has a gravy that will go great with these chicken tenders.
Chicken Tenders - Cowboy Kent Rollins
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 3 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoon ground mustard
- 3 teaspoons Kent’s Original Seasoning or your favorite all-purpose seasoning
- 3 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons coarse ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 teaspoons Kent’s Mesquite seasoning or your favorite all-purpose blend
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon whole oregano
- Oil for frying
- In a medium bowl whisk together the soy sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, onion powder, mustard, Original seasoning, paprika, pepper and minced garlic. Whisk in the eggs and buttermilk.
- Place the chicken breast in a ziplock bag and pound to flatten slightly with a rolling pin. Remove the chicken from the bag and cut into even strips. Place the strips in the wet mixture and toss to evenly coat. Cover and place in the icebox for at least 30 minutes.
- In a separate bowl combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, Mesquite seasoning, paprika and oregano.
- Add about 3 inches of oil to a Dutch oven or deep frying and heat to 350 degrees F.
- With tongs, remove tenders from the buttermilk mixture and dredge in the flour mixture to evenly coat. Repeat to double baptize. Place the tenders on a wire rack and let them set for at least 5 minutes, before frying.
- Place the tenders in the oil, a few at a time, and fry for about 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. Strain the chicken from the oil and palace on a wire rack. Serve warm.