Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Crispy BBQ Chicken Fingers

I’ve told you many times how Stan’s not a foodie and how that’s hard for my food-obsessed brain to comprehend. That being said, there are certain foods that I know my hubby loves. His mom’s traditional Russian cooking, pretty much any dessert with cherries, Trader Joe’s lime popsicles… Yeah, he’s a random one. I also know that at the end of a long day, there’s nothing Stan likes more than some finger food that tastes like junk food (but really isn’t since I’m the one making it).

Enter these Crispy BBQ Chicken Fingers. I made these the other night for Stan after he’d been up ‘til all hours writing a paper for school, gotten three hours of sleep, worked all day, and then went to class for three hours. Needless to say, by the time he got home at 9:30 at night, I thought he could use a little culinary comfort – and a big hug. I gotta say, I think he was more excited about these chicken fingers than the hug. The tater tots I served with them didn’t help. Guess I know my place. Joking… he wanted the hug before the chicken. Then again, that was before he saw the chicken...

All kidding aside, we loved these chicken fingers. They have all the crunch of traditional chicken fingers, but they are baked instead of fried so you can feel good about eating them. Marinated in buttermilk and bbq sauce, the chicken is tender and juicy. The crispy coating has just the right amount of spice, and the bbq sauce you brush on at the end gives them the perfect amount of smoky tang. Plus you get to eat them with your fingers (if you are so inclined), and that’s always a good time.

P.S. These would make an awesome appetizer for a Super Bowl party!

One Year Ago: Chicken with Wild Mushroom and Balsamic Cream Sauce

Crispy BBQ Chicken Fingers
Adapted from How Sweet It Is

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken tenders (or breasts, cut into strips)
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup bbq sauce, plus more for dipping
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 tsp. fine grain sea salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

In a large dish, whisk together the buttermilk and 1/4 cup of the bbq sauce. Add the chicken and submerge as much as possible. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

When you’re ready to eat, preheat your oven to 450. Arrange a wire cooling rack over a baking sheet.

Combine the panko, flour, salt, and spices in a large flat dish. (I like to use a pie plate for this.)

Dredge the chicken pieces in the panko mixture and lay them on the wire rack. Spray each piece with cooking spray or olive oil.

Bake the chicken for 10 to12 minutes. Turn the chicken fingers over, spray them with cooking spray, and continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Just before serving, brush the chicken fingers with a little bbq sauce.

Serve immediately with extra bbq sauce on the side for dipping.

Serves 6 as a main dish, more as an appetizer.


  1. Looks yummy! I'll have to try this soon!

  2. Adventures - Thank you! Please let me know how you like them :)

  3. Heather - You are quickly becoming my biggest fan! I love all the comments! I think you will love these :)

  4. Those look yum! I'll have to print the recipe and give it a go. I have a recipe for potato wedges which is very, very similar, and they are quite tasty also!

    Can't wait to try this out!

  5. WoW! I'm off to Bed, Bath and Beyond for a wire rack! Also, do you have a particular brand of prepared BBQ sauce that you favor?

  6. Tracy - Those potato wedges sound delicious! Any chance you'd be willing to share the recipe??

  7. LC - I'm so excited that you are trying and loving some of my recipes! I really appreciate you keeping me posted on what you're making!

    As far as the bbq sauce, I don't really have a favorite brand. For these chicken fingers I used an inexpensive bottle my from local supermarket called Montgomery Inn. Montgomery Inn is a restaurant in Cincinnati that I've been to, and it's sort of an Ohio favorite. Since I'm a Southern transplant, I went with what I know!

  8. WOW!!! These look amazing. I'm bookmarking this recipe. I think it might be the first one I try after I finish my diet. (Stupid diet.) I recently tried panko for the first time, and I still have a bunch left in my pantry.

  9. Susan - Thank you! Oh man, a diet that won't even let you eat baked chicken fingers? You have my respect... and my sympathy! Good luck staying strong! These are worth waiting for!

  10. Oh my, these were delicious! I couldn't find your Ohio barbeque sauce here in Huntsville, so I stopped by our local joint (Lawler's) for a bottle of their sauce. This is now my go-to chicken recipe.

  11. LC - Glad you liked them! Getting sauce from a local restaurant is a great idea! We have some good bbq places here in Nashville. I'll have to see if any of them sell their sauce!

  12. I laughed out loud at your opening line. I can relate to having a husband who is not into food. Andrew thinks it's weird/cute how excited I get about something delicious, while he couldn't care less. That said, he too is a chicken finger sort of fellow. Can't wait to try this out with him!

  13. Monica - As long as he's willing to indulge your foodie passion, that's all that matters! Stan loooved these though, so I'm sure Andrew will too!

  14. hey! did a little write up about these-

    they were AWESOME! nick loved them. i tried them with hot sauce instead of bbq- game em' a little kick- i think bbq would be better though. SO crunchy!!

  15. Heather - Just read your post. I love that you gave my mom a shout out too!

    Using hot sauce is a great idea. I've been planning for a buffalo version, too!

  16. I just have to say I seriously LOVE all of your recipes. I'm a terrible cook and in my first year of marriage. You have been a life safer. I made this tonight and it was delectable! Thank you so much!

  17. Danielle - Thank you so much! I'm sure you're a better cook than you think :)



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