Steph’s note: Give a hearty welcome to my guest blogger, Cassy from Fed & Fit. Cassy is a quadruple threat: She has mad kitchen skills, is an ace behind the camera, gets her sweat on at CrossFit and is one of the nicest folks you’ll ever meet. On her blog Fed & Fit, Cassy brings approachable yet flavor-packed recipes with her signature step-wise photography that always leaves me drooling on my keyboard. I’m super excited to introduce you to her today! Make sure to make these Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers and go follow her on social media…you won’t be disappointed. Take it away, Cassy!
Oh my word…I’m on Stupid Easy Paleo! I just adore Steph, and you know what? I adore you, too. I adore you because you’re here, you’re a part of the Real Food movement, and you probably have a thing for crispy chicken fingers. All reasons we can be great friends.
Crispy buffalo chicken fingers and I go way back. Once upon a time, I was a student at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX and I LIVED off of buffalo chicken fingers from a lovely little dining establishment called Wings ‘n More. While my health was rapidly declining, I was rapidly falling in love with comfort foods. Since going Paleo about 4 years ago, I gave up those delicious little strips of perfectly spicy, salty, gooey, but still miraculously crunchy chicken wonders. I gave them up plus the fries and ranch dressing that went with them.
Like a message was sent to me from above, I woke up one morning with the conviction a Paleo version MUST exist in this world. It needs to happen for you, for me, and for all those 20-something college students who think the gluten-coated, MSG-dusted, filler-fed restaurant chicken is their only option.
This Paleo-friendly crispy buffalo chicken finger is made possible by my good friend, the pork rind. Sometimes called chicharrones, sometimes called cracklin’s, pork skins are a crunchy, light, fluffy chip made by frying pork skin in it’s own rendered fat. They make for an occasional crunchy treat or can substitute as breading!
In an effort to create that reminiscent thick buffalo breading, I crafted a hybrid between my famous Paleo buffalo sauce and an egg wash.
Keep scrolling for my step-by-step photo instructions, tips and tricks.
I also recommend you check out my Paleo-friendly ranch dressing! Crispy buffalo chicken fingers and ranch dressing are a match made in heaven. Just saying.
Our recipe starts with about one pound of (ideally, pastured) chicken strips.
Next up, the buffalo egg wash! Crack two eggs into a bowl.
Now add 2 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
Then the juice of one lemon.
Now add 2 teaspoons of garlic powder.
2 teaspoons of onion powder.
And then 2 teaspoons of paprika.
Now you get to choose your level of spice! For HOT add 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper, add 1 teaspoon for medium, or add ½ teaspoon for mild. I opted for medium.
Lastly, add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt or sea salt.
Got all your ingredients loaded up?
Whisk until well combined and set aside while we focus on our crunchy breading.
The most important thing to remember when you’re buying pork skins is to read the label. You want to make sure the ingredients only read, “pork and salt.” Avoid bags with anything else listed.
Measure out about 5 cups of pork skins into a gallon-sized plastic bag.
Smash ‘em up! You’re also welcome to pulse the pork rinds in a food processor for a few minutes but A) I like to avoid washing more dishes than necessary and B) think smashing things is fun and therapeutic.
Once they’re mostly broken up, pour them in a bowl.
Make sure your oven is set to 400°F (200°C) and grab all your components!
Dip each chicken strip in the buffalo sauce.
Make sure it’s well coated.
Then lay it in the breading.
Pull it out when the crunchy pork goodness has it all covered up.
Lay the strips on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Pop them in the oven for about 25 minutes or until cooked through.
I recommend you plate with some crunchy vegetables and a side of Paleo-friendly ranch dressing.
Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers
Prep Time: 10 minutes; Bake Time: 25 minutes
Ingredients for Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers:
- 1 pound (~500 grams) chicken strips
- 2 large eggs
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper for MEDIUM hot (2 teaspoons for HOT or ½ teaspoon for MILD)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
- 5 cups pork rinds, crumbled
Directions for Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers:
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Whisk the eggs, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, onion, paprika, cayenne and salt together in a medium bowl.
- Dip each chicken strip into the buffalo egg wash then lay in the pork rind breading, coating both sides.
- Place breaded strips on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until cooked through.