Fried Chicken Nuggets

These fried chicken nuggets are everything: Flavor-wise, they’ve got tang, subtle brine, and peppery heat. Texture-wise, they fry up uber-crispy on the outside and super juicy on the inside.

The secret? Our culinary team invented a marinade made with pickle juice and our favorite hot sauce, Cry Baby Craig’s Habanero & Garlic. This magical marinade not only tenderizes the chicken but also adds loads of flavor. The team also breaded the chicken in a perfect blend of starches and fried the nugs at an optimal temperature, creating a beautiful golden brown crust while keeping the meat nice and tender.

Drizzled with the spicy-sweet comeback sauce (which, by the way, is also laced with Cry Baby Craig’s), fried chicken nuggets are the ideal food for game day get-togethers, kid-friendly dinners … or you know, stuffing your face while watching Love Island for the umpteenth time.

Servings: 4

Ingredients

For the dipping sauce:
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp Cry Baby Craig’s Habanero & Garlic Hot Sauce
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Pinch kosher salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

For the fried chicken nuggets:

1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups buttermilk
1 Tbsp Cry Baby Craig’s Habanero & Garlic Hot Sauce
1 Tbsp dill pickle juice
1 Tbsp kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
1 ½ lbs chicken breasts, cut in to 1 ½” pieces
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup cornstarch
¾ tsp baking powder
4 cups canola oil

Directions

  1. To make the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and black pepper. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill the sauce in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. To make the fried chicken: In a small bowl, whisk together the smoked paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Set the spice blend aside.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk, hot sauce, pickle juice, 2 teaspoons salt, and 2 teaspoons of the spice blend. Reserve remaining spice blend.
  4. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, and add it to the marinade. Toss to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 to 12 hours.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, remaining spice blend, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the marinade.
  6. Remove the chicken from the marinade, shaking off any excess, then dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess.
  7. Repeat the process: coat the chicken in the marinade, then dredge it in the flour, shaking off any excess as you go. Transfer the chicken to a sheet pan lined with a cooling rack.
  8. Pour the oil into a large, heavy-bottomed pot fitted with a candy thermometer. Heat over medium-high heat to 350°.
  9. Add ⅓ of the chicken to the oil and fry, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain an oil temperature of 325°. Stir occasionally, until the crust is golden brown and the nuggets’ internal temperature reaches 165° on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes.
  10. Transfer the nuggets to a pan lined with paper towels to absorb the oil, then move them to a clean cooling rack. Fry the remaining batches of nuggets.
  11. Arrange the nuggets on a platter and garnish with a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of dipping sauce. Serve hot with bowls of dipping sauce.
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