Vegan Honey BBQ Chick'n Strip Sandwich
Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich! Another genius combination by Whataburger, made even more genius by making it VEGAN!
I’m continuing my veganization of the Whataburger menu! This time, I tackled another one of the All Time Favorites! It's hard to beat Fried Chick'n, Honey BBQ Sauce, Cheese all on grilled TEXAS TOAST! I gotta say, I’ve never had the Whataburger version of this, but this was one of the best sandwiches I ever did eat, so I get the hype. Also, why did it take me 42 years to experience Texas Toast? Better late than never I suppose, but I’ll definitely be making lots more sandwiches with it (and probably some more Whataburger creations as well!)
We're making a homemade Honey BBQ sauce, but you can use some storebought BBQ sauce and sweeten it with some vegan honey. What's vegan honey you ask? Well you can always use maple syrup, I'm using some Vegan Honey I found on Etsy by Sweet Summer Farms in Arizona. It's made from APPLES! You can actually make your own too if you like, it's not too difficult, or expensive and you can store it for a long time!
Mary's Test Kitchen has a good vegan honey recipe HERE!
As for the Vegan Chick'n, I'm using Gardein as I usually do! You can always use seitan, tofu, or you can even slice some portabella mushrooms into strips too!
Tips for Fried Chick'n:
If using Gardein Chick'n products, thaw them overnight in the fridge or on the counter top for about an hour. DO NOT microwave or you'll end up cooking them and they won't be pliable.
Use an electric Deep Fryer like this FryDaddy.
If not using an electric deep fryer, get a deep fry thermometer. You can use a different one if you fry in a pan, but for my money, the deep fry thermometer has been a big help. I like to fry at 375° F.
Use a wire rack after frying to prevent the chick'n from steaming itself and getting soggy. You can also keep the Fried Chick'n warm in the oven on a wire rack. Just set the oven to lowest setting possible. Mine goes down to 170° F as an example.
Don't use olive oil to fry. You need to use something with a high smoke point, I usually fry with peanut or vegetable oil.
For the vegan buttermilk, really let the plant-milk and vinegar sit for a good 5 -10 minutes. I have found that different plant-milks will thicken more or less. If it's not thick enough, add some more vinegar.
The seasoning for the dry mix is something you can and should tailor to your tastes! I personally like using a Cajun Seasoning most the time.
Shake off the excess flour and batter when you dredge.
Make sure you press the flour into the chick'n so it sticks!
You can freeze these for later, just Air Fry to reheat (I would do it at 380° in 5 - 6 minute increments and check until it's heated through). Or if using an oven, preheat to 400° F and let the Chick'n sit at room temperature while the oven heats up. Then cook on a wire rack for 10 - 15 minutes.
I'm using Gardein Scallopini filets in this recipe, but you could just as easily use my recipes for Tofu Fried Chick'n HERE or my recipe for Fried Seitan Chick'n HERE or even my recipe for Fried Oyster Mushrooms HERE.
Air Fryer Option
If you prefer less oil, you can use the same technique for Air Frying with THIS RECIPE.
Additionally, you can use half the ingredients for the dry and wet batter and Air Fry this recipe too. All you need to do is line your Air Fryer with some parchment paper that you've poked holes with (the parchment paper keeps the batter from sticking to the air fryer). Then do a single dredge and place your chick'n in the air fryer. Make sure not to crowd the air fryer, you don't want any pieces touching. Next, spray the chick'n with some cooking spray, you want to make sure you don't see any dry flour. Then flip them and spray again.
Air Fry for about 6 minutes at 380° F, then flip and spray them again, and repeat the process until they are at your desired doneness!
One important note, DO NOT preheat your Air Fryer with the parchment paper. Otherwise the paper will fly into the coils and cause a fire! NOOOO!
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Makes 4 Sandwiches (and some leftover chick’n strips)
6 Gardein chick’n scallopini filets (thawed) or any Vegan Chick'n you like!
4 slices vegan cheese
BBQ sauce (or make the BBQ sauce recipe below!)
4 slices Texas Toast (mandatory)
Vegan butter or mayo
Oil for frying
Honey BBQ Sauce
1 cup ketchup
1/4 apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp hot sauce
1 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp onion powder
Black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp vegan honey (more to taste)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 Tbsp seasoning of choice (or make spice mix below)
Spice Mix (for Dry Dredge)
1 tsp Garlic Salt
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Onion powder
1/2 tsp Ground sage
1/2 tsp Ground coriander
1 tsp mushroom seasoning
1/2 tsp Chipotle powder
Black pepper to taste
1 cup plant milk (unsweetened)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp hot sauce
To make the BBQ sauce, simply combine everything in a saucepan, simmer on low heat until reduced to desired thickness (I did mine for about 10 minutes), add to the fridge until needed.
Cut each chick'n filet in half lengthwise. Form the strips with your hands so they match the length of your Texas Toast. You should have 12 strips. So you'll have 3 per sandwich. Once strips are formed, add them to a parchment paper lined baking tray and freeze while we prepare the dredging station and heat the oil
Heat oil in a large pot to 375 degrees F.
While oil is heating up, prepare your dredging station. Combine and whisk the ingredients for the dry and wet batter in separate bowls respectively.
Once oil is up to frying temperature, dredge your chick’n strips in the wet batter, then the dry dredge, shaking off any excess, and repeat to Double Dredge. Carefully add to oil and fry until golden brown. Once fried, let them rest on a cooling rack.
While Chick’n rests, heat up a pan and spread some vegan butter or mayo on one side of each piece of Texas Toast. Add to pan over medium low heat. Add a slice of vegan cheese on one piece of bread (per sandwich). Cover to help melt the cheese.
After the Cheese is melted, remove the Texas Toast from the pan, top with BBQ Sauce, 3 chick’n strips per sandwich, more BBQ Sauce, and then top with the other slice of Texas Toast and DIG IN!!