Why brine your chicken bites in sweet tea? Because it makes chicken tasty, moist and delicious, that's why!
If you haven’t heard, brining meats is all the rage these days. And with good reason!
Brining lean meats like chicken keeps them moist and infuses them with lots of flavor. It’s definitely worth the extra effort, since brine is really just some herbs and flavors mixed with sugar and salt.
Instead of mixing up a whole batch of brine next time, here's an easy secret: Try sweet tea with some extra salt mixed in. I used it for these sweet tea chicken bites and it was the perfect quick-brine solution!
You can use any sweet tea you can find. Just stir in an extra tablespoon of kosher salt into the mix to up the salt content for this brine recipe.
For this appetizer, cut the chicken into even, one-inch cubes.
Mix the brine ingredients in a bowl and add the chicken. Let it brine in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
Normally, I would brine chicken overnight but since these are small cubes, you don’t need to brine them for as long.
When you’re ready to cook the bites, prepare your breading station. I used a really simple one here: Flour with a big pinch of salt and pepper, a few whisked eggs, and Progresso Italian bread crumbs.
Drain the chicken well and give it a quick rinse under cold water, then toss the chicken cubes in the flour mixture to dry them off.
Transfer them next to the eggs and coat them well. Then finally cover them completely in the breadcrumbs.
The finished bites should have a nice crust of breadcrumbs on them.
To fry these you could use a deep fryer, but I just heated a few cups of oil in my cast iron skillet and cooked them for about 7-8 minutes total at 350ºF. Since the oil won’t completely cover the bites, flip them once halfway through cooking.
You’ll definitely want to cook in batches and not crowd your pan. When the bites are done, just let them drain over a wire rack or on a few paper towels.
Serve with some ranch dressing or mustard for dipping and a tall glass of ice-cold tea. Then dig in while they are still warm!
Nick says “Howdy y'all to sweet tea marinades!” Check out his blog, Macheesmo, and follow him on his Tablespoon Profile.