I have a friend who blogs. You might have seen his name there in my blogroll – Rock Star Dad. He’s pretty awesome. If you’re a cook, gourmand, foodie, aesthetician, or if you just enjoy eating good stuff, you definitely need to check his blog out. Not only do you get some kickin’ recipes featuring common items, you also get some hysterical how-to videos filmed live in his personal kitchen. So yeah, you should go there.
I bring up Rock Star Dad because tonight I hacked three chicken breasts into tiny pieces and fried up some good old fashioned chicken nuggets for the kiddies. Nothing too fancy, just small friend chicken pieces like grandma used to make (still makes, actually), served warm on a styrofoam plate. Cause, you know, we roll huge.
Anyway, to make the nuggets a little more adult, I decided to make my own buffalo sauce. I’m a huge addict of Zaxby’s Buffalo Fingers (Tongue Torch or Insane, take your pick) so something in me loves eating fried chicken with a spicy sauce. Knowing what precious little I do about food, I was vaguely aware that buffalo sauce is made by combining buttloads of butter with truckloads of Tabasco sauce. I can’t stand traditional buffalo sauce, so I decided to mix in some of my own stuff and see what happened.
Me like. My wife not-so-much like. Oh well. I’ll probably do it differently next time, but for a first effort it was surprisingly not horrible, and it left a pleasant after-burn on my tongue, just like a good spicy sauce should. I had some fun, tried something new, and in the end had something fun to post on Facebook for a few minutes.
Then it got really fun. I tagged Rock Star Dad in my FB post, and his wife (affectionately known as the Groupie Wife) asked if I’d shared my recipe. I hadn’t. But it gave me an idea for a blog post (which I desperately needed for today) as well as a fun little cross-blog challenge.
I’m going to post my nugget recipe, along with my buffalo sauce recipe, and hereto challenge the Rock Star Dad to post his versions. Then, he can cook mine, I’ll cook his, and we’ll post our thoughts on who’s better.
So here’s the JasonMuses recipe for homemade chicken nuggets and buffalo sauce (all measurements approximate):
For the nuggets:
- 3 boneless chicken breasts (we use Kroger, and they’re pretty good, but sometimes you have to trim the nasty little veiny-things off)
- 3/4 cup plain flour
- Garlic Powder
- Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
- Lemon Pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup of whole milk
- A whole lotta vegetable oil
First, dump your oil into your Fry Daddy and plug it in. Fancy cooks would tell you to get the oil to a certain temperature that’s just right for cooking chicken, but I’m a writer and a speaker and what do I know? The Fry Daddy seems to know what the right temperature is, so I trust him. That’s the way my grandfather did it, and his grandfather before him, and it’s worked pretty well so far.
Second, trim and hack your chicken into the desired nugget sizes. I prefer for mine to be around 1-inch wide, 1/2-inch thick, but that’s just me being weird. My wife would tell you to just chop the blasted bird up and get on with the cooking, but where’s the art in that?
Third, take the flour and all of the dry stuff and dump it into a large bowl, then mix it around with a fork. Take care not to mix too hard, otherwise you’ll end up spraying flour all over creation, including the utensils your wife just pulled out of the dishwasher, thus earning you the evil eye. You want to avoid the evil eye.
Next, crack the eggs into a medium bowl and whisk until they are creamy smooth. I hate the little egg-white lumps, so I beat the crap out of my eggs until they’re one consistency, then add the milk to them and whisk again. This is your nugget egg-wash, and it will make the flour mix stick well to the chicken. Chicken that is not egg-washed will not fry well (and for some reason, I just thought of The Green Mile).
Okay – here’s the easy part. Take your chicken chunks and put six pieces at a time into the egg-wash, stirring them around to guarantee that they are well-coated. Then, dredge the egg-washed chicken in the flour, again making sure you get even coverage. Now, shake the excess flour off the nuggets and drop them gently into the screaming hot oil one at a time. You dump ‘em in all at once and you’ll be making a visit to the local burn unit, capiche? Stir the nuggets around in the Fry Daddy to make sure they get good and brown on all sides, then take them out when they start to float and the little grease bubbles around them begin to vanish.
Now you simply repeat this process until all of your nuggets have been fried.
If you want, you can put the nuggets on a sheet pan and stick them in a 250-degree oven to keep them warm and help ensure that they are cooked through. But that’s a personal choice on your part.
On to the buffalo sauce:
- Half a stick of butter
- 1 bottle of Tabasco sauce (preferably the Original)
- 1 bottle of ketchup (your preference, but good people use Heinz. Just sayin’…)
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- A drop of apple cider vinegar
- A smidge (if you’re feeling exotic) of Coca-Cola
Put the butter, cayenne, apple cider vinegar and Coca-Cola in a microwave safe bowl and nuke it for two minutes on 50% power. Take a whisk and make sure the contents achieve a uniform consistency, then nuke it again for one minute on full power. Remove and whisk once again.
Now add as much Tabasco as your nose can stand, and squirt a generous dollop of ketchup on top of that. Whisk once again.
The mixture should just be slightly warm to the touch, and should coat the outside of one of your chicken nuggets the way a snot hangs on a toddler’s lip. You can either toss the nuggets directly into the mixture and completely coat them (known as “saucing your nuggets”, which just sounds wrong), or you can be a cultured individual and pour a little sauce into a small ramekin and simply use it as a dipping accoutrement.
So there you have it – my recipe for homemade chicken nuggets and buffalo sauce. This will most likely be my first and last how-to-cook blog post (but then again, if it garners enough hits, who knows?), so I hope you enjoyed it.
The gauntlet has been laid down, Rock Star Dad. I await your response.