Beer-Brined Fried Chicken Tenders
by Benjamin Maides, Chef, Au Courant Regional Kitchen, Omaha, Nebraska
This chicken requires an overnight brine and a few-hour soak in buttermilk—but it’s definitely worth the wait!
- 1 package Smart Chicken tenders
- 2 quarts buttermilk
- Canola or peanut oil for frying
- 1 small bunch thyme, for serving
- Maldon salt, for serving
- For The Brine:
- 3 quarts water
- 1 quart beer
- 1 cup + 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 head garlic, halved
- 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
- For The Flour:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons cayenne
- 2 tablespoons paprika
In a large pot, combine the water, beer, salt, honey, garlic, and peppercorns and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, let cool, then refrigerate until chilled. Once cold, add the chicken tenders, cover, and return to refrigerator to brine overnight. Strain the chicken from the brine, removing any remaining peppercorns or herbs. Soak in buttermilk for 4 hours, or up to 12.
When ready to fry, heat oil to 325°F. Combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and paprika and mix. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture. Return to buttermilk, then dredge again in flour mixture before frying in hot oil until internal temperature reaches 165°F. Garnish with thyme leaves and Maldon salt.