On Sunday, I served my version of Chik-Fil-A nuggets to my parents, Josh, and Muffin. Here’s the thing: the LFam (Josh, Muffin, and me) are pretty loyal to Chik-Fil-A. A place can easily win your loyalty when they give your new very nervous puppy a puppy biscuit on her first ride home from the pound as you drive through to pick up drive thru chicken. Plus, they deserve props for the Polynesian Sauce.
There are several fabled recipes, clones, and copycats of the nuggets through the Pinteresting Blogosphere. Some use pickle juice, and some don’t. I add pickle juice to mine because I’m a rebel like that (Supposedly Chik-Fil-A’s home office denies the use of pickle juice) and because I like pickles. Some spice up the flour mixture, and some leave it pretty bland. All of the recipes I’ve found do include powdered sugar in the flour mixture, so I included it in mine (and you really aren’t going to make them like Chik-Fil-A if you don’t). Most recipes insist that you use peanut oil, something Chik-Fil-A does use. But, um, I’m a cheapie (please feel free to call it frugal), and peanut oil costs more than vegetable or canola oil. Not an allergy issue, a tightwad issue. (Conversely, I would rather have a pantry with varying degrees of olive oil “purity” than add peanut oil to the mix. I know. I’m an oddball.)
That’s why I call these my version of Chik-Fil-A nuggets. I haven’t tried it yet, but you could probably pound out tenders to get the chicken patties for the chicken sandwiches.
I recommend cutting the nuggets into fairly big chunks. And I always make more than necessary because I like the leftovers.
(This is a picture of the nuggets. The metal pot is some of the goodies that my mom brought with her to our Super Bowl celebration. My wonderful mother-in-law–shout out!–made the hot pad underneath the metal pot.)
Chik-Fil-A Nuggets (a la Muffin’s Mama)
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed into fairly large cubes (a bit larger than the ordinary Chik-Fil-A nuggets)
1 cup milk
2-3 T pickle juice (depending on supply and your desire)
1 1/4 cups flour
2 T powdered sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper (freshly ground–buy a good grinder if you don’t have one)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
oil, peanut if you insist (veg or canola if you aren’t picky)
Combine beaten egg, milk, and pickle juice in a bowl. Add nugget pieces and marinate in the fridge for a few hours.
Before you plan to fry the nuggets, add oil 3/4 inch up the side of a pan and get the oil hot. Mix remaining ingredients in a large baggie (gallon size to make your life easier). Seal and shake the baggie (the fun part–If Muffin had been awake when I made the flour dredge, he could have done this part. Make sure the bag is sealed before you do this step–especially if you let someone like Muffin do it.) until combined. Using your hands (remembering to wash hands before, at several times during, and after the process), hand-sieve with your fingers the chicken pieces out of the marinade and into the flour dredge. Shake the chicken in the baggie. Hand-sieve with your fingers the chicken pieces from the flour (I did mention that this isn’t the neatest recipe, right? Good!) and onto a cookie sheet to rest. Don’t let them rest too long or they will become a gooey mess. Add pieces of chicken into the hot oil a nugget at a time until the pan is full. Fry until desired brownness on one side; turn the chicken pieces over (Do this with a pair of spring-loaded tongs) and wait until the desired golden brownness on the other side (Use your knowledge of Chik-Fil-A to be your guide). Evacuate the nuggets from their oil swimming pool, again using the tongs, to a paper towel-lined plate. Cool slightly. Serve with desired sauce (Muffin is his father’s son and uses ketchup. I prefer BBQ ranch or BBQ sauce mixed with mayo, and Josh prefers honey mustard dressing) and other goodies. Chill leftovers for future lunches and suppers. Repeat process as needed.
For a printable version of this recipe, check out my recipe page.
The cheapie in me loves this recipe because I priced out nugget trays from Chik-Fil-A…almost 50 cents a nugget! (This recipe doesn’t cost nearly that amount)
What was your favorite Super Bowl snacky snack? Drop me a line and let me know below!