A Flavor of Cincinnati — Grip a Grip of Grippos

9 Jun

Those who know me know that when it comes to Ohio cities, I’m a committed Columbus partisan.  For the longest time I considered Ohio’s oldline cities—especially the “C” denominated ones—to be well past their prime.  Regionally biased much? Perhaps.  But unabashedly so at least.

I must admit however, after several years of being prevailed upon by transplants to Columbus from some of those more far flung regions, that perhaps, perhaps, our fine capital city could learn a thing or two from those others to the north and south of us.  Would I say that I was wrong? Of course not. Never.  But, I will say without hesitation that Cleveland’s West Side Market is by far the best public market in Ohio.  And, I will, if a little more begrudgingly, say nice things about Cincinnati as well.

For example: Grippo’s potato chips are kind of awesome.  In the, if you open a bag for a snack you may mysteriously find that you’re holding an empty bag and are now covered in crumbs with no memory of the intervening 45 minutes, kind of way.  And there may or may not be an accompanying hit to your self-esteem to boot.

So yeah.  If I was listing “good” things about Cincinnati, Grippo’s would definitely be on that list.

Grippo's AND Grippo's BBQ sauce!?  A match made in heaven?

Grippo’s AND Grippo’s BBQ sauce!? A match made in heaven?

While there are a handful of places in Columbus where Grippo’s can be obtained (the downtown Hills Market for one), they’re not nearly as prevalent as they are in the Cincinnati area.  That’s why, whenever we’re down there, I make sure to pick up a bag or two.  Most recently, Tania and I were at Jungle Jim’s and I was about to stock up as per usual.  That’s when I noticed a new (or at least new to me) product sitting next to the chips: Grippo’s BBQ sauce in a bottle.

I was torn.

I love BBQ sauce. Love it.  My pantry is currently stocked with a wide variety of sauces from the obscure local to the readily available mass market.  So it’s not like I needed more sauce.  But on the other hand, it was Grippo’s.  In a bottle.  I was tempted.

But, I was able to resist.  I turned my back.  I prepared to walk away.  That’s when Tania said, “You know, you could make Grippo’s potato chip crusted chicken tenders and dip them in the Grippo’s BBQ sauce.”  I turned back around.  And faster than you can say “yoink!” snatched a bottle of sauce.  “Yes,” said I, “that will happen.”

Grippo's, prior to the heart-wrenching crushing that they had to endure.

Grippo’s, prior to the heart-wrenching crushing that they had to endure.

And so it was that I found myself recently emptying out an entire bag of perfectly good Grippo’s into a shallow dish and, somewhat counter-intuitively, smashing them into little pieces.  (When you spend time being careful to protect the structural integrity of your chips by not jostling them too much, it’s somewhat startling to suddenly find yourself doing the exact opposite.)  As I smashed, I thought to myself:  “This better be worth it; otherwise I just wasted a perfectly good bag of Grippo’s.”

Thankfully they were quite delicious.  This is the process I used:

Grippo’s Crusted Chicken Tenders

1 lb-ish of chicken tenders

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1 8oz bag of Grippo’s

1. Beat together egg and buttermilk.

2. Place chicken tenders in buttermilk/egg mixture.

Chicken tenders, just hanging out in the buttermilk/egg mixture.

Chicken tenders, just hanging out in the buttermilk/egg mixture.

3. Pour Grippo’s into shallow dish. Smash into little pieces.

4. Working with one tender at a time, remove from buttermilk/egg mixture and roll in dish containing Grippo’s until coated.  Make sure to press relatively hard in order to get Grippo’s to stick.

5. Place on wire rack on a baking sheet.

A full tray of Grippo's-crusted chicken, ready for their closeup . . . with the oven.

A full tray of Grippo’s-crusted chicken, ready for their closeup . . . with the oven.

6. Repeat for all tenders.

7. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Making these was quite easy.  Probably the hardest thing about the whole process was summoning up the willpower to resist eating the Grippo’s prior to using them to coat the chicken.

Fully baked, and fully juicy, Grippo's tenders.

Fully baked, and fully juicy, Grippo’s tenders.

Now, you may be asking yourself: was the combination of Grippo’s and Grippo’s BBQ sauce overkill?  Honestly, the answer is probably yes.  There was a whole lot of flavor going on though, that’s for sure.  In the future, I may stick with just the Grippo’s crusted chicken.  They were good enough on their own that they didn’t really need any additional sauce—even if it was Grippo’s branded.

(Note: the foregoing mocking of Ohio’s other fine cities, such as Cleveland and Cincinnati was mostly in jest.  No offense was intended and hopefully none was taken.  All are great cities in their own right.  Especially Cleveland.  Now Toldeo on the other hand…that’s a whole different story. 😉  )

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