South Carolina Bird Dog Sandwiches

Mike tried this recipe on August 27, 2023

It’s almost the end of Summer… and that means football season. Here in Texas, high school football has already moved into high gear, and college ball is just another week or two away.

While I’ve never tailgated before a game, I’m sure a lot of you have. Tailgating is almost as important to many people as the game itself, if not more. And with that comes the great assortment of foods. There are all sorts of traditional fare such as burgers, hot dogs, brats, and chili, but this is one that caught my eye as something quick and easy, perhaps even something that could be made ahead.

So what is a “Bird Dog”? The short explanation is, it’s a hot dog that uses a chicken finger in place of the traditional beef hot dog wiener (there are a couple of other changes that you’ll find in the recipe). My sources say it’s a “thing” in South Carolina, and one particular restaurant called NickHenry’s in Piedmont is known as the “home of the Bird Dog”. It’s very simple to make (only five ingredients including the bun), and quite tasty.

Adapted from Plain Chicken

South Carolina Bird Dog Sandwiches

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 10 mins Cook Time 5 mins Total Time 15 mins
Servings: 8
Best Season: Fall


A variation on the traditional hot dog using chicken fingers and bacon. A great idea for tailgating or any time you want an easy to make sandwich.

Adapted from Plain Chicken



  1. In a medium skillet, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove bacon and allow to drain on a plate covered with a paper towel. After cooking bacon, turn on oven to Broil setting.

  2. For each sandwich, cut up a chicken finger into bite-size pieces and place in a bun. Crumble one slice of bacon on top of the chicken. Top with 2 tablespoons of cheese.

  3. Place the loaded buns in the oven to broil just long enough to melt the cheese, about 1-2 minutes. Remove and top each with 1 tablespoon of honey mustard. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1

Servings 8

Amount Per Serving
Calories 585kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 34.1g53%
Saturated Fat 9.3g47%
Cholesterol 78mg26%
Sodium 1162mg49%
Potassium 161mg5%
Total Carbohydrate 41.5g14%
Sugars 5.1g
Protein 26.6g54%

Calcium 144 mg
Iron 1 mg
Vitamin D 80 IU

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


Serving suggestion (from the original source recipe): Make ahead and wrap in foil, then place on the grill while tailgating to warm up.

This recipe leaves a lot of room for experimentation with ingredients. Some suggestions:

  • Dip the chicken fingers in buffalo sauce and substitute ranch dressing for the honey mustard.
  • Use barbecue sauce in place of the honey mustard.
  • Substitute chicken nuggets for the chicken fingers.
  • Substitute other cheeses (pepper jack, etc.).
Keywords: hot dog, chicken finger, South Carolina, honey mustard, cheddar cheese, bacon, quick meal, sandwich
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