Sesame Jack Chicken Strips

When I was in high school and college I worked at Disneyland….

{working Big Thunder Mountain Railroad}

The popular after work hangout was TGI Fridays. I used to go with my friend Barbie, who was, and still is, two years younger than me. For two years, that meant that I could buy alcohol and she couldn’t, so we’d go to Fridays, and I’d buy her drinks. (Please don’t tell the authorities, this was many, many years ago!) Anyway, that’s when I first tasted their yummy Sesame Jack Chicken Strips.

{Barbie, my cousin and I at Fridays circa 2002.
If you look at the plate in front of me,
I’m pretty sure there are Sesame Jack chicken strips on it.}

For years I’ve been perusing different web sites, checking to find a recipe that successfully recreates those yummy appetizers. I’d never found anything. Then last week, I found something that I thought would be a good starting point for my own recipe! I tried it out last night and….success!!! Woohoo! So here’s what I did….

PS…this is not a quick, whip it up when surprise guests come over recipe. This is long and labor intensive. The good news is, you can make the sauce the day before, then you’ll just have to cook up the chicken. I’m thinking this recipe is perfect for Super Bowl Sunday.

Start by cutting the top of two heads of garlic. Peel as much of the papery skin off as you can, while keeping all the cloves still attached. Place in small baking dish and drizzle with a little olive oil. Cover with foil and bake at 325 for one and a half hours. (See what I mean about not being quick…we’re just getting started here.)

While the garlic is roasting, finely dice up a large onion. Drizzle some more olive oil in a large skillet and toss in the onions. Cook over med/low heat until carmelized, about an hour. Stirring every few minutes to prevent burning.

Remove garlic from oven and allow to cool until you’re able to handle them.

Squeeze them over a small bowl to get all the garlic out.

(The next time you’re making Italian food for dinner, cook up some garlic in this way, mix the roasted garlic with some butter, and smear on a loaf of French bread. Sprinkle with a little parmesean cheese and broil for a few minutes. Such fantastic garlic bread. Roasted garlic is so flavorful!)

When onions are carmelized…

add garlic in and stir well. Cook for 1 minute.

Add in crushed pineapple and cook one minute more.

Add brown sugar and cook until melted.

I realize this will seem strange when you try it, and will seem like it’s too much sugar and not enough liquid, but it will melt down, trust me. Just stir it every minute or so. It will become thick and syrupy.

In separate bowl, mix together pineapple juice, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, cider vinegar and red wine vinegar. Add a little cayenne pepper.

Then add in the Jack… 

Pour the liquid mixture over the onion/garlic/sugar mixture and stir well.

Bring it to a boil, the reduce heat and allow to simmer. Simmer it until it’s thick and syrupy. It will be reduced by at least half. It took me about an hour of simmering until it was thick enough.

When the sauce is almost done, start on the chicken. Mix together flour, cornmeal, bread crumbs, and sesame seeds.

Cut chicken into bite size pieces. I used chicken breast tenderloins and cut them into thirds, but you can use whole breast strips, or whatever cut you have on hand. Just cut them up into small pieces. Dip the chicken into flour, then buttermilk, then bread crumb mixture.

In large pot, or deep fryer, heat oil to 350 degrees.

Very carefully, place chicken into hot oil. Watch your thermometer and adjust your heat to keep the temp at 350. I usually start with just one piece, and check it after about 4 minutes to make sure it’s done. If it’s fully cooked, you’ll know how long to cook the rest of the chicken.

(I dated a guy a few years ago, who, while we were dating, burned his foot on hot oil that caught on fire while his brother was cooking. He had to have skin grafts and everything. So I always get my fire extinguisher out whenever I’m deep frying anything. Be careful out there guys! Cooking is dangerous!)

Place 5 or 6 pieces in the fryer at a time, removing them to paper towel covered plate when done, to drain. 

Continue until all the chicken is cooked.

Place a few pieces of chicken in a bowl, and pour some sauce on top, making sure they’re coated. Remove to a plate and continue until all the chicken is covered.

Sprinkle with additional sesame seeds. Eat and enjoy!

Again, I realize these are a bit labor intensive, but try them someday. If you’ve had the ones from Fridays, you’ll be surprised how much they taste the same, and if you haven’t had the ones at Fridays, you’ll love them anyway.

here’s the printable….sesamejackchickenstrips

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Sesame Jack Chicken Strips — 6 Comments

  1. <3 it. I am so impressed :) I cant wait to make these! I love TGI Fridays Jack Daniels entree. Awesome job Jen, and the pictures make it look so yummy!!

  2. I thought the chicken from TGIF was coated with panko bread crumbs..the sauce does sound delicious, and I will be making these. Thank you Jen

  3. Please, write how much ingredients needed to make this delicious dish. Proporcion. I dont want to cook blind. Thank you.

    P.S. Sorry for my english. I hope you understand me. ;)

    • At the bottom of the recipe there is a printable recipe link. Just click on this and a pdf will pop up that you can print out. It has all the measurements and directions. Every recipe on the site has a printable recipe link on the very bottom.

  4. The chicken is made with panko. If you go on their website and look at the menu it says asian inspired sesame chicken jack coated with panko.. Im just not sure if its just panko or panko mixed with regular bread crumbs.

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