Guy Fieri brines the chicken before coating with seasoned panko and frying for extra-juicy, crunchy tenders finished with his special seasoning.
These fried chicken tenders are the star of his Bourbon Brown Sugar BBQ Fried Chicken Sandwich, which also comes piled high with his coleslaw and Special Sauce. Complete the meal with Guy's over-the-top Cereal Milk Milkshakes.
- 3 lemons, halved
- 2 ½ quarts cold water
- ½ cup kosher salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled (about 1 head)
- 1 ½ teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
- 5 quarts ice water
- 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
- ⅔ cups pickle juice
- 8 chicken tenders
- Two 1.25-ounce packets store-bought fajita seasoning
- 1 tablespoon garlic salt
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup panko-style breadcrumbs
- 2 cups flour, plus ½ cup flour, divided
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- Canola oil, for deep-frying (optional)
- Cooking spray, for air-frying (optional)
For the brine, in a large pot, combine the lemon, cold water, salt, sugar, bay leaf, garlic and black pepper. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes while stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.
Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain the brine, reserving the liquid and discard the lemon, bay leaf and garlic. Stir in the ice water to dissolve.
Once brine cools, stir in the buttermilk and pickle juice. Add the chicken tenders and brine for no more than 2 hours.
For the Fry Seasoning, in a mixing bowl, whisk ingredients until evenly combined.
For the breading, whisk together in a shallow plate the panko, ½ cup flour, the cornstarch, spices, and 1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper.
Prepare the rest of the breading station by placing the remaining 2 cups flour in a separate shallow plate and the eggs in another shallow plate.
Remove the chicken from the brine, pat dry, then season with salt and pepper. Coat the chicken in the flour, then the egg, then the panko mixture and place on a baking sheet.
If deep-frying the chicken, fill a large pot with enough oil to reach a depth of about 1 inch and heat over medium-high until a pinch of flour sizzles immediately when dropped in. If air-frying, set the temperature to 400˚F and lightly coat the chicken tenders with cooking spray.
Deep- or air-fry the chicken tenders until golden brown, about 6 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 165˚F for deep-frying, or 10 to 12 minutes for air-frying. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with 2 teaspoons Fry Seasoning.