Buffalo Chicken Bites

I feel as though Buffalo Chicken anything is everyone's favorite thing.  There's buffalo chicken dip, buffalo chicken salad, buffalo chicken wraps - YUM.  I love anything buffalo, too.  That's how I came up with these little bites of heaven.  Honestly, Guy Fieri had made something similar on the Rachael Ray show a few weeks back, but mine are better for lots of reasons.  He didn't have any hot sauce inside his balls.  He used Crystal Hot Sauce and not Frank's Buffalo Sauce (EPIC FAIL on his part).  He drowned the crispy balls in hot sauce after frying them, making them soggy after a few minutes. He added too many complicated ingredients.  He has frosted tips.  'Nuff said.

Anyway -- these delicious balls are time-consuming and a minor pain the ass (I feel like frying anything in a pan is time consuming and a pain because you have to be very careful, oil splatters, and it needs to be discarded properly) but I would forget about all of that and make these suckers everyday if I had the time.  HEY, enough chit-chat from me, let's get to the good stuff.

What You'll Need:
  • 7 lbs. finely shredded chicken (I used canned white meat chicken to save time)
  • 1 bottle of Frank's Buffalo Sauce 
  • 2 tbsp. cumin
  • 2 tbsp. celery salt
  • 8 oz. bag of shredded cheddar cheese OR a 4 oz. bag of shredded cheddar and 4 oz. of crumbled Bleu cheese (I hate Bleu Cheese!)
  • 2 packages of Ranch salad dressing mix
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 sleeves of Ritz crackers, finely minced (like breadcrumbs) Separate into 2 and 2.
  • 4 eggs, beaten with a tablespoon of milk or heavy cream
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

How To Make Little Balls of Deliciousness!

Combine the first five ingredients in a large bowl.  The chicken will need to be broken up with a fork to shred it to a good consistency. Add one packet of the Ranch salad dressing mix to the chicken.  Fold all ingredients with each other until all the chicken is covered with the hot sauce, and the spices and cheese are mixed through.  Add 2 sleeves of the finely minced Ritz crackers to the bowl and mix that thoroughly, too -- the crackers are just to make the chicken mixture a little bit thicker for rolling good balls ;)

Using a tablespoon or a melon-baller, roll medium-sized balls and place on a baking sheet or a large dish (this recipe will probably make close to 60 balls, depending on size, so you'll need a big plate).  After you have rolled each ball until your mixture is gone, cover the balls with plastic and put in the fridge.  They'll be easier to handle if they are colder/slightly hardened.

Meanwhile, get three shallow bowls. Fill one with the flour, one with the beaten egg mixture, and one with a combination of the second packet of Ranch dressing mix as well as the remaining Ritz crackers.  When you retrieve the balls from the fridge, start by rolling them, one-by-one, first in the flour, then the egg, then coating them with the Ritz-Ranch cracker combo (say that three times fast!).

Fill a large frying pan with vegetable oil.  Heat oil until you can throw a small piece of breadcrumb in the pan and it sizzles immediately.  Also, have the oven set at 200-degress, to keep the fried balls warm and crispy.  After balls are coated, place a batch in the frying pan and fry about 5 minutes on each side, or until they are to your desired "crispiness"! Place cooked balls onto a paper-towel lined plate to drain any excess oil, and then place on a broil-pan and pop them in the oven.  Use a broil pan so the heat in the oven circulates and doesn't leave the bottom of the ball soggy.  Repeat until all the balls are done!  You can serve with Ranch dressing or Bleu Cheese alongside some celery and carrot sticks.  Thoroughly enjoy! :)

*Pictures (besides the crappy paper-towel one) courtesy of http://soufflebombay.blogspot.com/!


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