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Chicken Tender Help

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone, I operate a small Bar & Grill. Until recently we have purchased precooked frozen chicken tenders that you just drop strait in the fryer. We are wanting to expand to hand breaded made to order chicken tenders. After many attempts, the problem is getting the breading to stick to the chicken. It seems the chicken shrinks inside the breading causing it to fall off. We have tried using only seasoned flour. We have tried flour dredge, buttermilk then flour again. I would like to avoid egg because we don't use egg for anything else on our menu and our vendors only carries eggs in large quantities. We are limited on space. Any input would be greatly appreciated. 

post #2 of 18

This sounds like your chicken is the problem. First, and no offense but let's make sure you are not battering and frying frozen chicken tenders? I only say that because the amount of moisture that is present in a typical frozen chicken tender will absolutely blow off any breading because of the steam generated during cooking. Your remark that it shrinks during cooking is also a dead giveaway of way too much moisture being lost during the fry.

 

You can buy frozen tenders but you need to ensure you have a sufficient supply of fully defrosted, and drained tenders on hand. Pat them dry before dredging. It may take a few runs but if you keep your oil a consistent temp and buy the same product you should be able to time it to get a consistently cooked juicy tender without having to burn or blow out the batter.

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Lol. I should have been more specific. Our old chicken tenders are also pre-breaded. Our new way is using thawed raw chicken breast and cutting them into strip then breading them in flour. They just don't seem to come out rite.
post #4 of 18
And you've tried letting them sit in buttermilk then packing in seasoned flour and gently slipping them into the fryer at 300/350? More delicious is double breading, going back into buttermilk and redredging in flour once more before frying. Maybe pack harder and be more gentle while frying?
post #5 of 18

What temp is your oil? I'm feeling like it might be low. Also how are you timing your cooking? A chicken tender is a piece of muscle next to the breast. Cutting breasts into strips unless you are careful is going to create uneven thickness and those are not chicken tenders. Here's a diagram

 

 

I'd call them chicken "fingers" since you are using breast. Pat them dry, then dredge and into a 350 oil bath.. Should work. It's not complicated, keep the moisture off the meat, dredge, and fry at a proper temp without beating them with a stick.


Edited by eastshores - 12/23/14 at 1:10am
post #6 of 18

You don't have to buy eggs from your vendor, you can buy them from a local grocery store in small quantities. The egg dredge will help the breadcrumbs adhere better.  Eggs keep for a while.  

 

And don't be afraid to add egg to other things on your menu.  They're fantastic poached for topping salad, burgers, you can put a poached egg on a steak!  

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #7 of 18

Another thing to consider is the chicken natural or plumped?

post #8 of 18

Straight flour?  Baking powder at all?  How much time are you drying after the first dredge?  It needs at least half an hour to an hour in the fridge to air dry with the first dredge before batter or buttermilk, or it'll slip right off.

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all your responses. I have been using a 6oz butterflied breast. We keep the chicken on ice in the reach in fridge so they are damp when they come out. We also use the same breast for a chicken sandwich. When we get a chicken strip order We remove them from the ice and cut them into 4 equal strips. We do not dry them. We put them directly in the flour, then buttermilk, then flour again. I guess i didnt want to precut strips because i was concerned with waiste.
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Fyi, we season the flour with lawerys and black pepper. Our oil is 350 degrees at all times.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
It sounds like i need to precut the strips then dredge them in flour and let them sit in the fridge for awhile. Then remove them to order and place them in buttermilk, then flour again. Dose this sound rite?
post #12 of 18
That's a slightly more ideal method but unless you fry it that day the buttermilk/flour batter gets really gummy and when fried the batter will burn before the chx cooks. There's more than one way to skin a cat, this concerns everything and while we are all throwing different ideas out there what your doing should work just fine. It sounds like what your main problem is, is that you're not drying your chx off right when you pull it out so your breading has nothing to stick to. I always have a stack of what we call 'c' folds on my station; paper towels from the hand wash sink, to dry off all proteins before seasoning and searing. Pat your chx down and make sure it has no water on it before going into buttermilk, then flour. If you choose to do the breadcrumb method, then it would be flour egg wash, breadcrumb. Either way double breading assures a more consistent solid coating.
post #13 of 18

I think it's great that you're making attempts at making a better product.  

 

A wet chicken product is the first step to disaster, no matter which way you're going to cook it.  This is not good for your grilled chicken sandwiches either!  Always pat dry your chicken so it is completely dry.  This ensures not only that your coating will stick better but that your chicken will not steam in the fryer.  And I agree that pre dredging makes for a much crisper chicken tender.  

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you very much guys. I will try some of these suggestions and report back.
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
I guess the thing that is confusing me the most is the drying part. If i dry the chicken then place it in buttermilk doesn't the buttermilk create moister? Therefore steaming underneath the flour. Sorry, hope I'm not asking stupid questions.
post #16 of 18

You need a binder  Try putting some cornstarch in your seasoned flour then dip in egg whites

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
So i just made the perfect chicken tenders. 1st i removed the 6oz chicken breast and cut them into strips. 2nd I dried the chicken completely. 3rd I dipped the tenders in buttermilk. 4th I placed them flour and gently pressed the chicken into the flour to fully coat. 5th I gently laid the tenders into 350 degree oil and cooked for exactly 3 1/2 minutes. The tenders came out crispy, moist and best of all the breading stuck. The only problem is that i am soooooo sick of eating chicken tenders the last few days that I will probley never eat one again. Lol. Thanks so much for everyone input!
post #18 of 18

Awesome! Kudos to you for having a desire to improve things and sticking with it to see it through!

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