Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Carl's Jr. Chicken Tenders

Carl's Jr has exploded onto the fast food scene with a new product. They are now offering hand breaded chicken tenders on their menus. Some of you are not quite grasping the hotness of this item.

Upon entering the drive-thru for the 5 piece box, ($4.50) I noticed that there was a long line around the building. There was a fog of tail pipe smoke in front of me as people braved the cold weather for a taste of this rumored irresistible chicken. Somehow I found myself reminiscing on the free fried chicken episode of The Boondocks.

The tenders are marketed as hand breaded which leaves me wondering how else the chicken is breaded. Should I even ask? After seeing the four-legged chicken on a PETA expose' I think not. The rumor is that the chicken is so juicy that you don't even care that you are paying almost a dollar piece. Executive vice president of marketing Brad Haley said, "We love to be able to give Carl's Jr. customers a 'wow' experience, as in, 'Wow, I can't believe I can get something that good at a fast-food place.'"

Well, after watching people for the past week honk their horns and yell at the attendants for running out of the tenders during the lunch rush hour, I finally got a box of my own. The above is a picture of what they actually look like. For a better idea of the size, they are about the 3/4 of the size of the ones on the commercial. I was disappointed with the size I must say, but only because the commercial made them look so large. The ones in the commercial wouldn't even fit in the box. That was a bit misleading. Then there is the infamous hand breading. It was not the same texture or consistency as the the chicken in the commercial. Basically, I paid $5 for some chicken tenders that I made at home the week before. Only, mine were bigger.

I will say this for Carl's Jr, the chicken was juicy and flavorful. I would rather eat their chicken tenders than any of the chicken tenders I have paid more for at any restaurant. My 4 year old agrees. Though the size of the tenders was off-putting, you will get full off of the flavor. As a recovering Carl's-aholic, I was used to eating until I couldn't eat anymore. Eating the chicken tenders made me want to stop. It had so much flavor that you didn't want to mess with it by eating the fries or eating too much.

The Verdict

Buy the tenders alone with a drink instead of a burger combo meal. Yes, I could make these at home but if I don't feel like cooking I could easily pass these off as my own. For that, they get my approval.

Want to make it yourself?

Buy a bag of large boneless, skinless chicken breasts. One really large breast is enough for a 5 piece. So you will need 1 breast per person.

Slice the breast into 3-5 strips each.

In a large bowl, season 2 cups of flour with Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning. Don't overdo it.

Heat enough canola or vegetable oil in a cast iron or non-stick pan to cover the chicken.

Toss the tenders into the seasoned flour, tap off the excess and lay in the pan to cook.

Here's the catch. Do not overcook the breasts. Make sure your oil is piping hot when the tenders go in. This is how to accomplish the crunchy outside and the juicy inside. Leave the tenders on one side for 3 -5 minutes depending on the thickness, before turning.

Drain on a paper towel.

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