Southern Fried Chicken Tenderloins
by Seth Kingsbury, Chef , Pazzo!, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside—these classic fried chicken strips are destined to become a family favorite. Make them the night before a picnic or potluck for something fun, simple, and satisfying. Don’t forget the dipping sauce!
- 2 pounds chicken tenderloins
- 1 pint buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- 1 cup fine ground corn meal
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 3 cups oil for frying, as needed (peanut or canola oils work well)
In a medium bowl, combine hot sauce and buttermilk. Soak the chicken tenderloins in buttermilk mixture for a least one hour but not more than four hours. (Keep refrigerated.) Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine corn meal and flour. Season with salt and pepper.
In a heavy pan (cast iron pots work best), preheat oil to 350°F. Do not let the oil fill more than half of the pan. Drain chicken from buttermilk. Toss chicken tenders in flour mixture, making sure they are evenly coated in the flour mixture.
Working in several batches, add chicken tenderloins slowly to hot oil making sure the oil does not raise more the 3/4 of the way up the side of the pan. Cook chicken tenderloins until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove chicken tenderloins and place on a plate with several layers of paper towels to absorb oil.
Serve fried chicken tenderloins hot, or chill overnight to serve at picnics