Popeye's Chicken Tenders

2 cups buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
12 chicken tenders (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
a few drops hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
vegetable oil to fill skillet to 2-inch depth
blue cheese dressing, ranch dressing or your preferred sauce for dipping

Place buttermilk and hot sauce into a thick zip-top bag and add the chicken. Massage with your fingers to coat all the pieces well and chill several hours or overnight.

In another zip-top bag, combine flour, cayenne, black pepper and paprika. In a flat bowl or deep plate combine egg with buttermilk, hot sauce and salt and beat well.

Using a deep skillet or wok, add vegetable oil to a 2 inch depth and heat over medium hot heat until it reaches 350º F on an instant read or deep fry thermometer. While oil is heating, arrange 2 wire cooling racks on bake sheets lined with foil. Remove chicken from its overnight marinade and place on one of the racks to drip and drain several minutes. When oil reaches 350º F, dip pieces of chicken into the buttermilk mixture, then back into the bag of flour, shaking to remove excess. Set on the wire rack to drip and dry again a few minutes before frying.

Fry pieces of chicken about 5 minutes (depending on size of the strips) turning with tongs until the chicken is evenly browned and cooked through. Drain on the second (clean) wire rack for a few minutes before serving with your desired dipping sauce.

I’ve never had Popeye’s chicken tenders, but they sure look good. Sound like they are a bit zippy with the hot sauce and cayenne pepper; I like it.

This is a great recipe for CAJUN Chicken Tenders, but that is NOT the same as Popeye’s Chicken Tenders. Using this recipe, as is, the tenders do not look nor taste anything like real Popeye’s Chicken Tenders. Just sayin’ . . .