Hot sauce brined popcorn chicken bites deep fried and tossed in a spicy pepper blend of cayenne, scotch bonnet, jalapeno powder and black pepper cooled down with garlicky ranch.
WHAT’S GOING ON HERE:
Chicken bites do well with both dark and white meat. It’s all about preference. Use whatever you have on hand. Cut the bites into small bites sized pieces to get the most consistent cook.
The recipe for the brine is simple its just half and half with hot sauce. The lactic acid in the half and half tenderizes the chicken while the hot sauce adds a nice spicy kick.
the dredge is simple, flour, starch to make it extra crispy and spices. Toss it all together and this recipe is ready to go. Toss it in a brown paper bag to make cleanup even easier!
Hot Pepper Blend
The hot pepper blend is a combination of spicy peppers. It features green jalapeno powder for moderate heat, cayenne and scotch bonnet pepper powder for the overall mouth numbing heat and black pepper and garlic for extra flavor.
Roasted Garlic Ranch
The roasted garlic ranch is a combination of sweet roasted garlic and zesty raw garlic. Blending it with tangy sour cream and mayo make it the perfect dip for the spicy chicken bites.
TIPS & TRICKS FOR THE BEST POPCORN CHICKEN BITES + ROASTED GARLIC RANCH
roasting the garlic
roasting the garlic is simple and great to do in bulk. just lop the stem off of the garlic, horizontally. drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle it with sea salt. for smaller batches folding the garlic into foil packets steam and roast them easily. for larger batches a small glass pan works well. adding too many to a foil pouch may cause the oil to pool and spill.
hot pepper blend
The hot pepper blend features all store bought finds. cayenne, black pepper, and garlic are really easy to find. jalapeno and scotch bonnet which gives this blend its signature heat, may be a tough one. although i did find both ingredients in a big box store they may be tricky to find. the scotch bonnet powder i found in the Caribbean section of the supermarket, while the jalapeno powder was found tucked amongst the spices in the baking section. all ingredients can also be shopped online just make sure it is pure 100 percent of the ingredient.
building the ranch
building the ranch is simple, skip all the chopping and toss all the ingredients into the blender. keep the blender on low to chop the ingredients to a fine mince. turning the blender too high will pulverize the garlic and herbs which will give the ranch a stronger flavor. let the ranch sit for 20 minutes prior to using to give both the roasted and raw garlic a chance to settle. keep refrigerated in an air tight container for up to a week.
cutting the chicken
whether using breast or thighs you’ll need to cut the chicken. cutting the chicken into bites will lover the cooking time and give you super crunchy chicken pieces. keep the bites all the same size to ensure an even cooking time.
frying the chicken
fry the chicken according to bites size. small bites need around 6-8 minutes. you’ll know the chicken is done once the chicken pieces are golden brown and floating.
the seasoning works best tossed onto hot sizzling chicken. the spices in the pepper blend are enhanced by the heat of the chicken. also the residual oil gives the seasoning something to cling onto. if you want you can toss the chicken into a metal bowl, dust with seasoning then place onto a mesh baking sheet.
making this recipe ahead is super easy just make sure you dust the chicken with seasoning prior to serving a a future time. the seasoning sticks best fresh from the fryer.
SIMILAR INGREDIENTS TO
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