Our Pecan Crusted Chicken Nuggets recipe has some history behind it. Let me explain. Years ago, we used to participate in an annual charity event organized by one of our very good friends. It was an outdoor cooking competition. Tickets were sold to the public so they could gain entrance, taste all of the dishes, and vote on their favorites. The event was a big draw for families, so it was usually held in a large, very nice outdoor venue and had all the bells and whistles that make these outings special…live music, beer, a silent auction, activities for the little ones, etc.
It was called the DiscIt Round Up and it went on for many years, successfully raising funds to benefit the local children’s hospital. The DiscIt Round Up attracted between 30-40 cooking teams and each year several thousand people attended. It was always a heck of a good time.
There Was So Much to Learn
The first year we attended was in 2011. Prior to the competition, we worked very hard to develop a recipe we thought was a winner. We came up with the Pecan Crusted Chicken Nugget. It featured our Red Chile BBQ Rub and our original Red Chile BBQ Sauce. We loved it and the crowd loved it! In fact, they loved it so much that we ran out of chicken. Twice! People flocked to our booth, but we had nothing to offer them. We had, unfortunately, grossly underestimated the turnout and this hurt our chances of winning. People do not vote for food they cannot sample.
We painfully learned our lesson, so in subsequent years we made certain that we arrived with plenty of food to feed the masses and a dynamite dish to wow their tastebuds. This approach served us well going forward and we won one of the two grand champion prizes in 2012, and again in 2014, and yet again in 2015.
While it was a blast coming up with a new dish each year, I could not stop thinking about those Pecan Crusted Chicken Nuggets from 2011. I knew in my heart (and my mouth) that this dish was a winner.
Long Live the Pecan Crusted Chicken Nugget!
Meanwhile, cut to 2016. Being old pros by this time, I convinced the team that we needed to bring back the Pecan Crusted Chicken Nugget. We owed this dish another chance at victory.
This time, we showed up prepared and stocked with enough chicken to feed an army of Baby Yodas. BTW, does Grogu even like “chicky nuggies”? We’ve been watching The Mandalorian from the beginning and haven’t seen him down even one. The internet is a mysterious place.
Back to the event, our team operated with the speed and precision of a well oiled machine. We shoveled fresh out the fryer Pecan Crusted Chicken Nuggets into the hands of every attendee there and we won. We took home the People’s Choice award that year. I felt vindicated!
Sadly, this would be the last year for this event. The Pecan Crusted Chicken Nugget was our intro to the DiscIt Round Up and our farewell.
Even though this charity event is no longer being held, we’re still frying up these tasty little morsels and we thought you might like to fry up some, too!
Pecan Crusted Chicken Nuggets
2 quarts of your preferred frying oil (we use peanut oil)
2 lbs boneless chicken breasts (cut into 2″ pieces)
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 cup pecans (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons AlbuKirky Seasonings Red Chile BBQ Rub
AlbuKirky Red Chile BBQ Sauce (for serving)
Honey (for serving)
- Add the oil to a deep, heavy bottomed pot and heat until it reaches a temperature of 350-375 degrees. Keep the oil temp in this range so that the nuts in the bread crumb coating do not burn.
- Mix the panko, bread crumbs, pecans and Red Chile BBQ Rub together in a medium bowl.
- In separate medium bowl, add the eggs and whisk thoroughly.
- Dredge the chicken pieces in the beaten egg, shaking off the excess. Roll in the breadcrumb and pecan mixture until completely coated. Set aside in a pan until you have 10 or so pieces ready to fry.
- Carefully add the breaded chicken pieces to the hot oil one by one occasionally turning them over in the oil to ensure they cook evenly. Fry until they hit an internal temperature of 165 degrees (approximately 3-minutes).
- Remove nuggets from the oil and drain on paper towels.
- Repeat steps 4-6 with remaining chicken pieces.
- Allow the nuggets to cool for a few minutes then serve with AlbuKirky Seasonings Red Chile BBQ Sauce and a drizzle of honey.
Serve these Pecan Crusted Chicken Nuggets for Dinner!
This dish is a crowd pleaser! Young foodies will enjoy the crispy, handheld portability and sophisticated palates will appreciate the warm, rich flavors of the Red Chile BBQ Rub and the pecans. Serve them with a side of our Broccoli Slaw and you’ve got the whole meal taken care of!