When In Nashville…

You that saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

Well when in Nashville, do as the Nash-Villains do.” That is exactly what my husband and I did while spending a long weekend there over New Year’s eve. We only ate from the 3 primary food groups offered in Tennessee:

  1. Pork BBQ
  2. Hot fried chicken
  3. Biscuits (with sausage gravy or with country ham)

Let me break down the food groups for you:

  1. BBQ: Always pork – no beef – this is hog country. Ribs, pulled pork, and often a strange dish of “BBQ Nachos” offered at most places.  the Nachos consists of tortilla chips piled high with pulled pork, BBQ sauce, jalapeños & cheese. One side note: incase you needed to lighten things up a bit – BBQ chicken was offered at most place as well. Each place had it’s small unique touches too like “Kool-Aid pickles” or “pimento Mac-n-Cheese.” Our favorite of all the places was a joint called “peg leg Poker” and it didn’t disappoint! click here!
  2. Hot Fried Chicken: A unique Nashville style fried chicken preparation. Think fried chicken doused in a thin, spicy sauce coating. Served on white bread with a pickle or in sandwich. Totally different than “buffalo style”  – it is hard to explain. Be warned, it is not for the faint of heart. Even the “mild” (supposedly not hot) is totally spicy. Don’t go above “medium” unless you know what you are getting into! We waited 45mins in line at “Hattie B’s” for ours and it was worth every minute of the wait! click here!
  3. Biscuits: A staple at every meal. If I told you how many biscuits I ate each day I would have to kill you. Let’s just say it was an embarrassing amount! At breakfast you eat them with country sausage gravy  (white cream gravy with lots of black pepper and bits of sausage) or at supper time with slices of country ham. Country ham is hard to explain – it’s salty, (cured but not usually/always smoked) kinda dry, thickly sliced ham. Served on biscuits. meat on bread. nothing more. Some do enjoy some mustard or if you are feeling sweet some honey or sorghum or jam. Just plan on eat ing at least 2 or maybe 12. We saw them everywhere but here is the most famous and we thought very delicious. click here! (bonus points – they ship!)

 

P.S. If you go – be sure to get some boots!

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Hot Sauce And Cereal

Sounds weird, but not what you think…

Corn-flake fried chicken tenders flavored with Frank’s® Buffalo Wing Sauce!

Served with homemade diner style mac-n-cheese and bleu cheese dressing for dipping.

SO YUMMY if I say so myself!

The whole thing started with a stroll thru the hot sauce aisle  – that started an immediate craving for wings. But being a bit lazy I decided that I didn’t want to deal with bones. So as I picked up some chicken tenders, I thought about how I would get a crisp exterior on them before tossing them in the tasty mix of hot sauce and margarine. (That’s tradition, don’t mess with tradition.)

As I was putting a box of corn flakes in the cart, I noticed on the back they had printed their recipe for “corn-flake” fried chicken. (If you haven’t tried this kind of fried chicken, try it.) So it was fate. I knew exactly how I would make my crisp chicken tenders. Buffalo-style.

I marinated my tenders in a mix of milk, hot sauce, salt and pepper. I think an hour is a minimum and longer would be better. Buttermilk would be good too, instead of milk, but who has that lying around?

Crush up plenty of corn flake cereal. It is good to have most of it pretty small, like bread crumbs, to get good coverage. But you also want some not as finely crushed so you have all the texture of the “crevices.” Now set up your stations: flour* – egg – crushed cereal. (standard breading technique, ya’ll) Tip: Let them rest on the rack for a few if you plan on shallow or deep-frying, so the coating can really adhere.

I was baking these – so I sprayed my pan and the rack I would be baking on with non-stick spray. Lay the tenders carefully on and now spray those with some “spray butter.” (This is a great – but – chemical- laden product that I keep on hand for “healthy” un-frying in the oven – you can lightly drizzle the tenders with some melted, organic, low-sodium, butter instead) It is important that the coating on the tenders have some kind of “fat” moisture so they will crisp up in the oven.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30-40 mins depending on the size/thickness of your tenders. Watch carefully to be sure they don’t burn. Flip once if you dare – carefully – to crisp the other side. Drizzle with melted margarine-hot sauce mix and serve more on the side for dipping if you want.

The leftovers make spectacular sandwiches!!

Production Notes

The amounts I used…

2 lbs +/- boneless chicken tenders

1 cup milk

1/2 cup +/- hot sauce

*flour (or for gluten-free: use cornstarch or masa) for light dredging

1 egg

3 1/2 cups corn flake cereal (measured pre-crush)

Non-stick spray

“Spray butter”

For the sauce:

1 stick of margarine and 3/4 cup +/- hot sauce – melt together on low in sauce pan