Bird Dogs

Picture it: Belton 2001. One day when the Marshall Primary School menu for the next week was released everyone’s attention was immediately captured by something we never heard of, bird dogs. None of the other kids knew what it was, and to add insult to injury none of the adults did either. Not even the lunch ladies!

What we got was a total game changer. Bird dogs consist of chicken fingers, bacon, honey mustard, and cheddar tucked into a hot dog bun. When I explain it to people who never lived in Anderson county, South Carolina they never seemed to get it, but honestly it’s so perfect. Somehow the hotdog bun proportions are so much more satisfying than the normal chicken sandwich and I will die on that hill.

Clearly I’m not the only one to think so because these little buns of glory became a cultural icon in my hometown. They worked their way into mom and pop restaurants, sleepovers, and I even went to a banquet where they were served!

If you ever wanted a super obscure southern dish that you can’t even find on Google that doubles as stoner food then look no further! I mean come on, look at that!


  • 8 chicken tenderloins, lightly pounded
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sriracha
  • 8 slices bacon
  • Hot honey mustard barbecue sauce (recipe follows)
  • 2-4 cups neutral oil for frying
  • 8 hot dog buns (I like using brioche buns)
  • 1/2-2 cups cheddar, grated
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, get your bacon on there and cook for 15-20 minutes depending how crispy you like it. Set aside.

Now to set up a frying station. First get your oil heated between 350-375 degrees. Then line up one plate with the flour and cornstarch that’s seasoned with 1/12 tsp each salt and pepper, and a bowl with the buttermilk and sriracha mixed together.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Then dip in the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk mixture shaking off any excess, then back in the flour. Add in the oil and cook for 7-10 minutes or until just cooked through. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Turn on your broiler and get ready to assemble. On a sheet tray open your hot dog buns. Dip your fried chicken into the hot honey mustard sauce and place in the bun, tuck a slice of bacon in there. If you want it really saucy then spoon some extra hot honey mustard over the top. Finally top liberally with the grated cheddar.

Place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes just to melt the cheese and toast the bun. Try not to eat them all at once.

Hot Honey Mustard Sauce


  • 3/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/4-1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot wing sauce depending how spicy you like it
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper

Combine everything in a small saucepan over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

This recipe makes more than what’s needed for the bird dogs, but the remnants are great to keep in the fridge as a dipping sauce, salad dressing, etc.

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