These zesty chicken fingers get their flavor from a tangy buttermilk marinade and a breading spiked with smoked paprika. Be sure to plan ahead—these chicken pieces taste best when marinated for 24 hours before they a’re cooked.

INGREDIENTS

  1. For the buttermilk marinade:
    • 3 1/2 cups buttermilk
    • 3 1/2 cups whole milk
    • 1 small Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
    • 2 medium jalapeños, sliced
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    • 1 tablespoon Tabasco pepper sauce
    • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2×4-inch strips
  2. For the seasoned flour:
    • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
    • 2 tablespoons onion powder
    • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 2 teaspoons ground sage
    • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
    • Canola oil, for frying
    • Homemade or store bought ranch dressing, for serving
  3. Special Equipment:
    • deep fry/candy thermometer, two 13×18-inch rimmed baking sheets, 2 wire cooling racks

PREPARATION

  1. In a wide, shallow bowl, combine buttermilk, milk, onion, jalapeño, salt, and Tabasco. Add chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 250°F. Set cooling racks over rimmed baking sheets. In a large bowl, combine the flour, granulated garlic, onion powder, thyme, sage, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
  3. In a large pot, pour in enough oil to come up to 2 inches. Set over medium-high heat until oil registers 350°F on a deep-fry thermometer. Working in batches of 4 to 5 pieces, remove chicken from marinade, shaking to remove any vegetables and excess liquid, and dredge in the seasoned flour. Fry chicken pieces, turning once, until golden and cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes total per batch. Transfer chicken to wire racks and warm in oven while frying remaining batches.
  4. Serve chicken fingers with ranch dressing, if desired.

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