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Beer Brined Chicken Bites with Cook’d Right™ Sensors

This recipe was developed at the request of Volk Enterprises Cook’d Right™ Sensors, for compensation. All opinions are 100% my own.

‘Tis the season for tailgating. In truth, I’ve never actually been tailgating, unless high school games count. And that was a loooooooong time ago. Longer than I care to admit.

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.

The other day I was thinking about Beer Butt Chicken, or Beer Can Chicken, whatever you’d like to call it. It’s always delicious, but I’ll be honest – firstly, a whole chicken is a LOT of chicken for just the two of us (two and a half, really, now that Evan eats table food, but still..). Secondly, I really don’t have time to hang out in front of the grill for hours while it slowly cooks, or the kitchen space to keep one of those special beer can roaster things that makes it feasible.

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.

One thing that’s always a little difficult when you’re making your own nugget-sized chicken, is figuring out when they’re cooked through. Homemade nuggets and bites should be made of 100% chicken breast, which means cooking can be a little uneven. Some chunks will be thicker than others. Sometimes the outer breading looks much more done than the insides would indicate, but there’s no great way to tell unless you slice one of those little nuggets open.

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.

The guys at Cook’d Right™ Sensors have figured it out though. Simplicity is the key to this entire problem. Little toothpick-sized probes you can keep handy next to the grill, stove and oven and easily check meat temperature without removing it from the pan. How genius is that?

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.

Let’s talk about brining chicken in beer. HOLY MOLY. Why did it take me so long to think of such a thing?! All the flavor of Beer Can Chicken, in half the time. You could totally do this with full sized chicken breasts or thighs, but for true tailgating enjoyment, poppable bites is where its at.

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.

You can get full on Autumnal by serving these bites with roasted peppers and butternut squash, which are also delicious dipped in anything you like – I’m partial to ranch dressing mixed with hot sauce.

Claim your own Cook’d Right™ Sensors! The first 50 readers to complete this Google document will receive their own sample sensors to try! And don’t forget to visit Volk Enterprises on YouTube for tips on Thanksgiving prep!

Ask for Cook’d Right™ Sensors by name at your grocery store and butcher’s.

Beer Brined Chicken Bites

Beer Brined Chicken Bites

Yield: 36 bites
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes

Beer brined chicken bites are spicy, savory, and perfect for your big game day spread. Everyone will love these poppable bites.

Ingredients

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

Instructions

For the Brine

  1. In a large plastic container or bowl, combine dark wheat ale, buttermilk, hot sauce, garlic salt and parsley. Whisk together to evenly combine ingredients.
  2. 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

  1. 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.
  2. Whisk 2 eggs together in a small bowl.
  3. Pour panko or homemade breadcrumbs into a second larger bowl or plate.
  4. 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.
  5. Place coated chicken bites directly onto the cooling rack.
  6. When all pieces of chicken are coated and placed on the cooling rack, place the baking tray into the oven.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Allow to cool slightly. Serve immediately with dipping sauces, fresh roasted vegetables, and a nail-biting football game!
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Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

Thursday 16th of October 2014

I love that these are brined in beer, what a fantastic idea! And those sensors - no more dried out over done chicken!

Amy @Very Culinary

Monday 13th of October 2014

Those so sensors sound genius. And the chicken delish!

Julie

Monday 13th of October 2014

This chicken looks so good! And I signed up for one of the sensors, because I don't know anyone who can get me one. It's like the cobbler not having shoes for his kids, and I need a sensor! ;)

Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Monday 13th of October 2014

This chicken looks delicious!

Carla

Monday 13th of October 2014

I've been using my Cook'd Right Sensors too and just love them! I didn't even own a meat thermometer before I got mine. I would've just cut that chicken bite in half to see if it was still pink. Oops. Smart idea brining in beer rather than make the whole beer can chicken. It's just me, so a whole chicken is unrealistic.