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Wingin’ It: Chicken Tenders with Wild Card Sauce

The sauce is a Buffalo and Teriyaki fusion

Can you believe it? Season 5 of Wingin’ It. Where has the time gone? For any newcomers, here’s the premise: It’s hungry work being a fan of the Buffalo Bills. Every week of the regular season and postseason, Buffalo Rumblings brings you a recipe to try out with a “Buffalo” twist.

It’s Super Wild Card Weekend! Eat every Wingin’ It meal like it might be our last (for the season). Because it might. We start things off big with a family favorite in chicken tenders. I’m not here to debate wings vs. boneless wings vs. nuggets vs. tenders. In the world of Wingin’ It, all chicken has a special place in my heart as a delivery mechanism for delicious sauces. Besides, we have enough sauces to go around. The sauce this week is a blend between Buffalo and Teriyaki that breading will pull right in.

Chicken Tenders with Wild Card Sauce

Serves: 2-4
Active Time: 30 min
Total Time: 50 min


14 cup hot sauce
14 cup soy sauce
12 cup orange juice
5 Tbsp honey (or packed brown sugar)
3 tsp garlic powder, divided
14 tsp ginger powder
3 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp onion powder
1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken cut to “tender” size (many stores will sell it pre-cut)
Vegetable oil
1 cup all purpose flour
1 egg
3 Tbsp water
4 Tbsp butter (half stick)

You’ll need: Dredging pans — one for flour and one for the egg/water mixture

  1. Combine hot sauce, soy sauce, orange juice, honey, 1 tsp garlic powder, and ginger in a medium sauce pan on MED/HIGH. Stir until simmering and reduce heat to LOW. Continue stirring periodically while preparing chicken.
  2. Combine salt, pepper, 2 tsp garlic powder, and onion powder in a small bowl. Lightly sprinkle about half the salt/seasoning mixture on the chicken; allow to rest at least five min.
  3. Add enough vegetable oil to reach around quarter-inch depth in a large sauté pan; preheat oil in pan on HIGH. (See below for illustration of depth and always be careful with hot oil.)
  4. Place flour in one dredging pan and thoroughly combine egg and water in another.
  5. Dredge each piece of chicken in flour.
  6. Dredge one piece of floured chicken at a time in egg-water solution, and then flour again.
  7. Sprinkle remaining seasoning mixture over each piece of chicken after being re-dredged in flour.
  8. Carefully place chicken into oil. Shallow fat fry until golden brown, about 10 min, turning coated tenders at least once halfway. (You may have to do this in two or more batches depending on pan size.) Remove chicken to a serving dish. (You can line this with paper towels to reduce grease.)
  9. Add butter to prepared sauce from Step 1 and stir in.

Wingin’ It Tips and Prep Gallery

For the pictures, the first is my dredge set up. I like to make disposable pans for certain tasks with foil. Raw chicken is one thing I always do this for. I fold the corners up to make edges and prevent and gross runoff. Anyway...

Raw, seasoned chicken to the right. Bring it over into the flour up top. Then to the staging area on the left. Once all pieces have the initial flour coat, they’re near to the egg-water solution to dunk, then back to the flour, then back to the staging area. You can see on the left I’m piling the chicken multiple layers high. That’s to leave room at the top for the second dredge run to be single layer. That allows the final seasoning step to go smoothly. Note: You will have very breaded fingertips doing this.

The second picture shows my oil depth. Aim for about half the depth of the chicken. If you’re doing batches, you might need to add more between rounds. I note you should flip at least once. I often flip several times. This extends cooking time by cooling whichever side is out of the oil, which leads to crispier breading. Another note, when you’re shallow fat frying the food will also be touching the pan. There is a risk of hot spots and some burning if you’re not watching.

This week leans heavily toward the salty side of the world. You do not need to use as much salt as I have listed above. Another avenue is to only do the seasoning on the chicken and not the breading step as well. Or remove the salt from the equation at that step. If you want to play around with the sauce itself, reduce the soy sauce.

The sauce is also intended to be a little thinner than usual to soak into the breading easily. If you’re looking for a thicker sauce close to a traditional Buffalo or even so far as a BBQ thickness, you can either increase the sauce cooking time, or temperature to reduce the water content. Teriyaki also uses corn starch as a thickening agent. A bit of that can be a safe add too.