Grilled Chicken Nuggets Recipe: Campsite Chick-fil-A Copycat

Get the flavor of Chick-fil-A’s nuggets even on a Sunday in the wilderness! This Grilled Chicken Nuggets Recipe is one of the best easy camping meals that is fast to prep and cook.

Grilled Chicken Nuggets Recipe by CampingForFoodies features a blue camping plate filled with golden brown chicken nuggets. The char marks and caramelized bbq sauce glisten in the sun. Golden brown French fries sit behind the meat alongside a blue bowl filled with coleslaw in a creamy dressing.

Recipe Prep

I recommend measuring and mixing the spice mixture at home so it’s ready for quick cooking at camp. I place the mixture in a small plastic food storage bag or container and label it: Chicken Nugget Spice Mix.

  • This mixture calls for powdered sugar, kosher salt, black pepper, dehydrated onion powder, garlic powder and paprika.

You can use your favorite dipping sauce for serving. I typically use prepared barbecue sauce or honey mustard salad dressing. But, if I’m already making one of my homemade BBQ sauce recipes, I’ll use one of those.


Cooking Methods & Equipment

  • If you’re making this as one of your camping grill recipes, you can use a propane gas grill or one with charcoal briquettes. Check out how to use a charcoal chimney if you want a fast and efficient way to light your briquettes without using lighter fluid. A Blackstone is a great option too.
  • If you’re making this as one of your easy campfire recipes, you’ll probably need to use a grill pan so the small pieces of chicken don’t fall through the grate openings.
  • To make this as one of your camp stove recipes, get your stove ready for cooking on a level surface with a large skillet grill pan. If your grill pan is smaller, you may need to cook the nuggets in batches.

Recipe Steps

Step 1. Prepare your ingredients, heat source and equipment as directed. You can cut chicken breasts or chicken tenders into bite-sized pieces. Full breasts are usually cheaper than tenders and take just a few more minutes to prepare, make sure you trim the chicken fat from the meat.

Step 2. Brine the chicken. Place the chicken pieces in pickle juice and milk to brine for 30 minutes. Leave enough time for this step because the brine provides moisture and by using a flavored acid (pickle juice) you get the benefit of marinating to get a nice taste at the same time.

Step 3. Spice the meat. After you remove the liquid and dry the chicken pieces you’ll toss them with the spice mixture.

Step 4. Pre-heat grill. Whether you’re using a gas grill, charcoal grill or campfire coals, you’ll be cooking over high heat, 450-550 F degrees, about 2-3 seconds if using the hand test.

Hand Test For Cooking Temperatures

You don’t need a thermometer to determine the temperature of your heat source for cooking. Here are steps for the “hand test”.

  • Hold the palm of your hand about 5 inches above the heat source (campfire coals, charcoal briquettes, propane grill etc.) you’re using for cooking. (Make sure nothing is flammable, like clothing or jewelry.)
  • Pull your hand away from the heat before it hurts and note how many seconds have passed. Example: 6-7 seconds = medium heat.
Heat LevelTemperature RangeTime
High Heat450-550°F (230-290C)2-4 seconds
Medium-High375-450°F (190-230C)5 seconds
Medium Heat350-375°F (175-190C)6-7 seconds
Low-Medium325-350°F (160-175C)8 seconds
Low Heat250-325°F (120-160C)9-10 seconds
Hand Test For Cooking Temperatures

Step 5. Grill the chicken. Spray your grill with a little oil to prevent sticking, then, place the chicken on the grill. Turn the pieces to create a char on all sides. With bite sized pieces you can’t use a thermometer to check the internal temperature. You should slice open the largest chunk to make sure the center is not pink and the juices run clear. Smaller pieces may be done in about 8 minutes while larger chunks can take closer to 12 minutes.

Step 6. Caramelize sauce and serve. Brush the cooked nuggets with some of your favorite sauce, continue cooking until the sauce is caramelized, about 1-2 minutes. Serve hot with remaining sauce for dipping on the side.


Substitutions

If you don’t have pickle juice you can just use lemon juice as a substitute.


What To Serve With This Recipe

To create an entire meal of gluten free camping food, you could bake some frozen french fries or you could make these easy and delicious Grilled Potato Wedges.

Coleslaw with a prepared salad dressing is a nice cold side dish.

Use my camping menu planner to stay organized when planning meals for your next trip. It’s FREE and you’ll get it delivered instantly to your inbox!

Camping Menu Template Meal Planner Free Printable by CampingForFoodies features a collage of free camping printables including a camping menu planner template, a campfire stew recipe card and a healthy no cook camping salad with text over the image that reads free camping menu template, tips and recipe ideas.

Scaling Servings

I created this as one of my camping meals for two for times when my husband and I want to have a fun fast food copycat Chick-fil type of meal. If you want to make this as one of your camping dinner recipes to feed more people, you’ll need to use the button in the recipe card to scale up the number of servings to fit the size of your group.

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If you’re just serving this as one of your camping snacks, this recipe will serve 4.


Leftovers

Refrigerate leftovers in an air-tight container. I like turning leftovers into a hot chicken sandwich. I put a little oil in a heated pan over medium heat. I just want to take the chill off of the nuggets and crisp them up a bit. Then I place them in a bun with a few lettuce leaves and a bit of thinly sliced red onion and tomato.


Similar Recipes

These easy Chicken And Veggie Camping Skewers are a great option if you want to serve grilled vegetables with your chicken chunks.

If you’re looking for a paleo-friendly meal, these Cajun Chicken Foil Packets are a great option. A Cajun seasoning blend spices up chicken, andouille sausage, broccoli, cauliflower and red bell pepper. Check out all of our keto camping food ideas.

These Smoked Chicken Legs On A Pellet Grill have a great flavor even without adding BBQ sauce!

Try these Honey Sriracha Drumsticks that are made with a simple homemade Sriracha BBQ Sauce. They taste great with a little fresh cilantro (or parsley if the taste of cilantro is too strong for you).

This Dutch Oven Lemon Chicken is an easy one-pot healthy dinner recipe made with bone-in skin-on chicken thighs. Potatoes, garlic, onion and rosemary are brightened up with natural flavor of fresh lemon, sea salt and chicken broth. Camp Cooking Tip: Fresh lemon peel and juice is so much better than lemon juice concentrate, and, its easier to carry to the campsite because it’s not in a bottle that needs to be refrigerated!


Watch How To Make It

Recipe

Grilled Chicken Nuggets Recipe by CampingForFoodies features a blue camping plate filled with golden brown chicken nuggets. The char marks and caramelized bbq sauce glisten in the sun. Golden brown French fries sit behind the meat alongside a blue bowl filled with coleslaw in a creamy dressing.

Grilled Chicken Nuggets Recipe

Camping For Foodies Dinner Camping Recipes: You don’t have to go to the fast-food chain restaurant to get your fix of grilled chicken nuggets. Make this Chick-fil-A copycat recipe right at your campsite!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner Camping Recipes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Brining Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 431kcal
Author: Kim Hanna

Equipment

  • Grill, Cast iron griddle over stove or campfire, or Blackstone

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast meat or chicken tenderloins fat removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Cooking spray or olive or canola oil

Spice Mixture Ingredients (see Note 1)

  • 2 teaspoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder use dehydrated garlic not garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

Brine Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dill pickle juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup milk or heavy cream

Dipping Sauce

  • 1/2 cup prepared barbecue sauce or honey mustard salad dressing (divided)

Instructions

  • Combine the dry spices in a small bowl and set aside. (see Note 1)
  • In a gallon sized Ziploc bag (or large bowl), combine pickle juice, milk and chicken. Seal bag (or cover bowl), place in refrigerator (or cooler) to brine for about 30 minutes.
  • Pour liquid out of bag, place paper towel in bag and toss to absorb any remaining liquid (or remove chicken from the brine in bowl, place on baking sheet or large plate lined with paper towels and pat it dry.)
  • Pour spice mixture into bag (or on baking sheet) with chicken and toss to coat.
  • Preheat a gas grill, charcoal grill or campfire coals to high heat, 450-550 F degrees. (see Note 2)
  • Spray the grill grates with cooking spray (or brush with canola or olive oil) to prevent sticking.
  • Place the chicken pieces in a single layer on the grill grates, turning to char all sides and cook through, about 8-10 minutes for smaller pieces, 10-12 minutes for larger chunks.
  • Brush the grilled nuggets with some of your favorite sauce and continue cooking until it’s caramelized, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Serve hot with remaining sauce for dipping on the side.

Notes

  1. Ingredients can be measured and mixed at home. 
  2. If you don’t have a thermometer on your grill, use the “hand test”: hold the palm of your hand about 5 inches above the heat source, pull it away before it hurts, 2-3 seconds = high heat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 431kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 149mg | Sodium: 3062mg | Potassium: 1079mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 406IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 2mg

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2 Comments

  1. I always love finding good copycat recipes for some of my favorites, and this one is spot on. Yum!

    1. Kim Hanna says:

      Hi Elaine! I’m so happy you liked these chicken nuggets! I love being able to make my Chick-fil-A favorites on camping trips. Happy Camping, Kim