Chicken sandwich recipe makes a national winner out of St. Cloud restaurant

Will Kreznick

ST. CLOUD — What’s standing between Catholic Charities and $5,000? Currently, the popularity of a fried chicken sandwich. The chicken is breaded in biscuit mix and seasonings. It’s smothered in sweet-hot raspberry chipotle sauce. The biscuit is a Pillsbury jalapeno cheddar scone. The dish is the brainchild of Coyote Moon Grille General […]

ST. CLOUD — What’s standing between Catholic Charities and $5,000? Currently, the popularity of a fried chicken sandwich.

The chicken is breaded in biscuit mix and seasonings. It’s smothered in sweet-hot raspberry chipotle sauce. The biscuit is a Pillsbury jalapeno cheddar scone.

The dish is the brainchild of Coyote Moon Grille General Manager Adam Meyer. Oh, and it’s also one of 20 winners of a national recipe contest.

The General Mills 2021 Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest asks local restaurants and food trucks to submit recipes that include at least one of a list of General Mills products. Annual winners are selected based on whether they use an eligible product in the recipe, how viable the recipe is for foodservice (whether or not a restaurant could easily add it to its menu) and the story shared about where the recipe’s inspiration came from. The recipes are also judged on taste, appearance and creativity, and it has to be an original recipe.

For national winners, the prize package from General Mills includes a $5,000 check and a marketing package valued at $5,000. 

But it doesn’t stop there. 

Coyote Moon’s Southern Fried Chicken Sandwiches with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce recipe is going head to head with the other 20 winners for the grand prize: a $5,000 donation to a local food charity (and a few more perks). That’s where Catholic Charities comes in. Should Coyote Moon win the public’s vote, that $5,000 will go to Catholic Charities’ Emergency Services Food Shelf.

“More people have seen the recipe than I ever imagined would have,” Meyer said. 

Cash donations in general are incredible, said Emergency Services program manager Sue Hanks. The food bank has more buying power than the average consumer thanks to federal programs. So $5,000 in their hands could buy $15,000 of food.

Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce

And while that’s helpful, there are two other goals this money could go toward. According to Hanks, the food shelf is trying to increase its freezer capacity.

“We needed that, and then COVID exacerbated it,” she said. “We actually have to turn down donations because we don’t have freezer capacity.”

Hanks said Catholic Charities Emergency Services is also hoping to improve and redesign its mobile food shelf, which goes to nine sites each month.

“That’s become critical also,” she said.

A sandwich star is born

Meyer said he found some more time on his hands in early 2020, when restaurants were shut down as a statewide effort to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Coyote Moon Grille received a delivery of ingredients for its dishes, and with it came the jalapeno cheddar scone. It’s not part of a menu item, Meyer said; their customers don’t typically lean toward spicy foods. He assumes it was dropped off as a sort of new product trial. 

Coyote Moon is pictured Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in St. Cloud.

With some of the ingredients they typically use, it can be hard to reimagine how to use them, Meyer said. He’s been at Coyote Moon since the start, about 15 years ago, and is one of a handful of people who has input on the menu at the restaurant. The scones were something new.

And they were on the list of General Mills products of which at least one needed to be incorporated. 

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