This recipe was developed at the request of Volk Enterprises Cook’d Right™ Sensors, for compensation. All opinions are 100% my own.
But I have aspirations to tailgate, and tailgate in a BIG way. I’m always thinking up bite sized snacks that travel well and are perfect paired with dips and dressings and also with celebrity dresses on sale , like Buffalo Ranch Chicken Poppers and British Bacon Rolls.
Then I thought.. what if I just brined the chicken in beer instead? And made poppable little bites, perfect for taking along to a tailgate? Winner, winner, chicken dinner, y’all. Beer Brined Chicken Bites were born.
Now, I’ve been eyeing up handheld meat thermometers for a while. I even bought one that ended up being a complete nightmare. The display never told the truth, and it was a lot of work. You’re supposed to remove the meat from the heat source to get a true temperature, which isn’t always an easy feat. And the batteries constantly died. I swear it would drain them even when not in use! Total waste of my time.
As I baked up these chicken bites, I didn’t have to sacrifice one of the little guys to the testing gods, or remove it from the oven and dirty a knife and fork to check for doneness. I simply had to stick my 165°F Cook’d Right™ Sensor into the thickest popper in the bunch for 10 seconds, and make sure the temperature sensor had turned red. Totally handy. And I am so in for any kitchen tool that makes less washing up for me, even if it is just a knife, fork and cutting board. Mama ain’t got time for that.
I also made my own bread crumbs using a combination of saltines, rosemary and olive oil saltines (THEY’RE AMAZING), and Rice Chex cereal. Adding Rice Chex gives these bites the same crunch you’d get if you used panko bread crumbs, which I simply could not find in my pantry. I know they’re in there, but oy. I gave up after ten minutes of searching. Only truth tellin’ around these parts, y’all.
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For the Brine
- 12 ounces Dark Wheat Ale Such as Trader Joe's Dunkel Weizen
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon habanero hot sauce or tobasco
- 2 teaspoons garlic salt
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
For the Chicken Bites
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast diced into 1-1 1/2" chunks
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs or equal parts saltines, flavored saltines, and Rice Chex
For the Brine
- In a large plastic container or bowl, combine dark wheat ale, buttermilk, hot sauce, garlic salt and parsley. Whisk together to evenly combine ingredients.
- Dice the chicken breast and place it directly into brine. Cover tightly with lid or plastic wrap and allow to brine overnight or at least 2 hours.
For the Chicken Bites
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper, then place a cooling rack on top of the parchment. The chicken will cook on top of the cooling rack, allowing for even air distribution around the chicken. Set aside.
- Whisk 2 eggs together in a small bowl.
- Pour panko or homemade breadcrumbs into a second larger bowl or plate.
- Create an assembly line of chicken, eggs, then breadcrumbs. Use tongs to take chicken pieces directly from brine to egg wash. Once covered in egg wash, move directly to breadcrumbs. Cover each piece completely in breadcrumbs.
- Place coated chicken bites directly onto the cooling rack.
- When all pieces of chicken are coated and placed on the cooling rack, place the baking tray into the oven.
- Bake for approximately 35 minutes. Using a 165°F Cook’d Right™ Sensor, check that meat has reached an internal temperature of at least 165°F. The tip of the sensor will turn red when this happens.
- If the bites are not yet done, give them a few minutes more, checking with the Cook’d Right™ Sensor at each interval until the sensor turns red.
- Allow to cool slightly. Serve immediately with dipping sauces, fresh roasted vegetables, and a nail-biting football game!