These are a favorite around our house and I never make them the same way twice, so the recipe isn’t set in stone. You can do scores of delicious variations. Experiment until you find something you like, then remember how you did it. This “recipe” will get you started though.
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Cajun Seasoned Salt
Uncle Franks or Louisiana Hot Sauce
Candy or Deep Fry Thermometer
Start with a package of boneless skinless chicken breasts. Pat them dry with a paper towel and trim off any excess fat or skin. Slice them into nugget size (about 1½ inch cubes).
You can use your favorite fried chicken seasoning, but for the buffalo nuggets I prefer to use a spicy seasoning. If you don’t have a favorite mix already I recommend starting with about 2 TBSP of Cajun seasoning per cup of flour (Tony Chachare’s is a good choice). Adjust to taste. I like to add a little onion and garlic powder, and a little extra cayenne as well. You’ll probably need 2 to 3 cups of seasoned flour for 5 lbs of chicken nuggets.
Get an extra-large zip-lock baggie and put 10-15 nuggets in at a time. Sprinkle a little of the flour mixture in the bag and shake it until the chicken pieces are dusted. We aren’t try to bread them at this point, but just give them a light flour dusting. Do this with all of the chicken and set aside again.
Now we’re going to dip our chicken in the buttermilk, shake off the excess, then roll it in the seasoned flour until thoroughly coated, and lay them out on cookie sheets in a single layer. You can do this one piece at a time in a bowl, or do several pieces at a time using the large zip-lock baggie method. Once all the chicken is breaded you will want to leave it sit for about an hour until the flour mixture soaks up all the buttermilk and chicken juices and goes from floury white to a wet looking creamy pink color. At this point they are ready for the fryer.
Heat about 1½ inches of oil in a stock pot, fryer or dutch oven (enough to completely cover the nuggets). Using the candy thermometer make sure the oil is 375° before adding the chicken. Once the oil is at temperature, add the chicken pieces to the oil in a single layer (don’t stack them or crowd them together), and set your timer for 10 minutes. They should be crispy and golden brown – you don’t want them going chocolate-brown. The smaller your nuggets the less the cooking time will need to be. Larger chicken pieces may require a minute or two more. I find 10 minutes is perfect for nuggets 1 to 2 inches.
You will probably have to cook your chicken in several batches. Use your thermometer between each batch to make sure the oil is at temp, as adding cold chicken to the oil lowers the temp. You may also need to add oil if you’re doing several batches.
As the chicken is frying you can mix your buffalo sauce. For 5-6 lbs chicken you will need about 1½ cups hot sauce and 1½ sticks butter. Heat them in a sauce pan until butter is completely melted and mix together well, then turn off the heat and let it sit. If you’re like me and you like them really hot and spicy, you can mix in about a teaspoon of Dave’s Total Insanity, or a little Tobasco Habanero Sauce, or you can just use some Uncle Franks Xtra Hot Sauce (like ¼ to ½ cup) as a portion of your 1½ cups of sauce.
Once all the chicken is fried add the nuggets to a large Tupperware or plastic salad bowl with a snap on lid. Pour the Buffalo sauce over them. Snap the lid on and roll the bowl around for a minute until all of the chicken is thoroughly coated in Buffalo sauce. In about 10-15 minutes the sauce will get absorbed into all the breading and they will be dry, un-messy and delicious finger food snacks. Of course, the police won’t arrest you if you eat one right away while it’s still gooey either.
You can also try honey-barbecue sauce, or sweet-n-sour sauces, etc.. If you try any other variations of this recipe, let me know what you did and how you liked it.
A printable PDF version of this recipe is available here.