Off Skillet Empire: Carolina Bird Dogs

First post in a while, but life has been very busy. I recently got a new CAD laptop, so I'm finally reconnected to the internet not on a phone or work computer.

A little backstory on this one: as a freshman at Clemson, I went to the notoriously-bad dining hall next to my dorm one day and saw one station serving a "bird dog", which was just a frozen reheated fried chicken tender on a hot dog bun. Underwhelming, to say the least.

Years passed, and I never thought much about that, until I moved to Anderson, SC (about 18 miles from Clemson), and very quickly discovered JC's Sandwich Shoppe through coworkers, and finally had a real "bird dog" at the home of the bird dog. In 2016, ESPN viewers were curious about Clemson LB Ben Boulware's comment that he was going to JC's to eat a bird dog, and ESPN later interviewed him at JC's, introducing many to the "bird dog". So without further ado, here's the recipe:


-1 lb. boneless skinless chicken tenderloins (chicken breasts will also work)

-2 eggs

-1 cup flour

-1-2 tsp cayenne (adjust as desired)

-Salt and pepper as desired for breading

-Hot dog buns

-Bacon strips (1 per bird dog)

-Sliced block cheese, such as cheddar or pepperjack

-Honey mustard for topping

-Vegetable oil as needed

Start by cooking up the bacon. This wasn't pictured as it was already cooked, but you can prepare it how you desire, and either crumble it or use it in strips.

Whisk the eggs and prepare the flour for dipping.


Break out the 1950's Lodge cast iron skillet and preheat the oil on high


Dip chicken in eggs and dip in flour (repeat if desired for a crispier finish)

Once the oil has reached 325°F, add the chicken to the pan and reduce to medium high


Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, then flip to avoid overcooking one side. Repeat until the chicken reaches 165°F internally.


Transfer the chicken to a cooling rack and allow the excess grease to drip off. Using paper towels will allow the grease to puddle up, taking away crispiness, so a cooling rack is a great utility here.


Allow the chicken to cool, then slice into strips, about 10mm (in memory of all the sockets we've lost from our socket wrench sets). Do the same with the cheese.


Lay a bacon strip (or crumbles, as previously mentioned) on the hot dog bun, then top with chicken strips and cheese.


Using a conventional or toaster oven, melt the cheese. Top with honey mustard and serve.


And, if you desire, add some hot sauce. This is one I recently found at my local market, and the smokiness pairs perfectly with honey mustard. Though everyone and their mom is paid these days for advertising, I'm not. I just like this one (and Orange Krush also pairs well with this). I mean I totally wouldn't object to getting free produ...just kidding. I would never do that, as if this blog is somehow noteworthy enough because of its 2 readers.


Hope everyone enjoys this recipe. It doesn't even have to be this fancy - I've been known to keep some frozen chicken tenders in the freezer and some pre-cooked bacon in the fridge for when I get a craving for a bird dog.


No, not that kind of bird dog.

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