Monday, February 23, 2015

It's All About the Chicken


So apparently in South Carolina popular treats are these Southern Bird Dogs.  It's not a hot dog though.  It's a fried chicken strip in a hot dog bun with bacon, cheese, and honey mustard.  When I saw these, I just knew I had to try them.

I have been on a quest to make a perfect copy of Chick fil A's fried chicken strips, so I decided to make these Bird Dogs with my latest attempt.  I've tried various recipes from the internet, but none of them were quite there.  So I did something a little different that I thought would work.  You are going to be shocked when I tell you what it was.  I know that Chick fil A serves pickle slices on their sandwiches and that a lot of copycat recipes put a little pickle juice in the milk or egg wash before coating the chicken.  But what if I soaked the chicken strips in pickle juice??  By golly that was the trick! My husband was really really worried that it would taste like pickles.  But it didn't.  What it did was tenderize the chicken and made it so juicy.  The breading combination I put together was right on the money.  For us, we thought it tasted EXACTLY like the real deal.

So back to the Bird Dogs.  With my spot on chicken strips, homemade honey mustard, bacon and cheese, these sandwiches disappeared on the fly!  And don't be afraid of the pickle juice.  It works!  Enjoy!

SOUTHERN BIRD DOGS
FOR THE CHICKEN:
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into long strips
1/2 C pickle juice
1 egg
1 C milk
1 T powdered sugar
1 T paprika
3/4 C flour
3/4 C whole wheat flour
2 T malted milk powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 T mustard powder
1 T garlic powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
Salt, to taste
Peanut oil for frying

FOR THE HONEY MUSTARD:
1/2 C honey
1/2 C yellow mustard
1/4 C mayonnaise

FOR THE SANDWICH:
1/2 lb bacon
1 C shredded cheese (any flavor)
Hot dog buns

NOTE:  I highly recommend not using any other oil but peanut oil to fry your chicken.  That's what Chick fil A uses, and it definitely contributes to the flavor of the chicken.  Also, I used about 1 T of salt in the dredge mixture.  The chicken was not too salty for us.  However, it is a lot of salt, and I tend to be heavy handed with salt so you may want to start smaller and add.  If you can stand it, taste your flour mixture to make sure the salt is where you like it.

Put the chicken strips into a bowl and pour in the pickle juice. Mix it around and put it in the fridge while you prepare the remaining ingredients.  Mix the honey mustard ingredients together and chill. 

Cook and crumble your bacon and set it aside.  Preheat about 1 inch of peanut oil in a large skillet over high heat. Mix together the egg and milk in one bowl.  Mix together the powdered sugar, paprika, salt & pepper, flours, malted milk powder, baking soda, mustard powder and garlic powder. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.  Dredge the chicken in the milk mixture and then into the flour mixture.  Fry the chicken strips in batches until they are golden brown and cooked through.  Drain the chicken on a paper towel and keep them warm on a sheet tray in the oven.  Wrap the buns in foil and warm them in the oven.

To assemble your sandwiches, place a couple of chicken strips into a bun and add some bacon, cheese, and honey mustard.  If you'd like, put the buns with chicken, bacon, and cheese under the broiler for a minute or two to melt the cheese and then add the honey mustard to them after they come out of the oven.

Adapted from She Wears Many Hats

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