If you’ve spent anytime in a sports bar and/or Hooters, then you’ve been exposed to the chicken wing. Some approach chicken wings like a necessary evil in order to go to crappy restaurants with big boobed waitresses, but I love chicken wings. The texture of the meat and the amount of sauce-to-meat ratio is until any other piece of chicken, especially if you know how to eat one correctly. However, the average home chef tends to avoid cooking chicken wings at home because it’s so much quicker to go pick some up on the way home from work. If you give yourself some time to learn the correct way to cook them, you’ll realize how easy they really are. I think the biggest issue people have is a) how to prepare the sauce and b) how to cook the wings themselves.
I like my wings baked. Wings have a ton of connective tissue in them, and if you cook them too quickly then you’ll have wings that are kinda hard to eat because the meat has a lot of sinewy parts holding it all together. This is by design…the bones of a chicken are very thin and easy to snap, however they don’t fly. This means that the wings are nice and meaty so you can eat them. Without any hesitation, I’d tell you that the wing is my favorite part of the chicken to eat, and the best way to cook it is buffalo style.
Butcher’s knife/cleaver, sharpen and put to steel
Shallow cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil, shiny side up
Oven preheated to 425deg
When you buy wings, you should plan on 14 pieces per hungry adult heterosexual male. That’s going to be 7 full wings, and you can count them inside the package when you buy them. We are looking for WINGS…not drummettes or wings that are already cut. We’ll do the heavy lifting here, so buck up.
When you get your wings home, make sure they are defrosted. For some reason, butchers are starting to keep these things in the freezer frozen. Take them out of the package and wash them down with water just to rinse off the slimey shit.
REMEMBER – Mishandling chicken can kill your ass, so you need to wash your hands before and after dealing with chicken, including any other kitchen tools you touch as well.
This is what we are looking at:
There are three parts to the wing: The “tip”, which is akin to a hand, the “flap” or the “flat” (I’ve heard it both ways) which is the middle section, then the drum. If you lay the wing skin side down, you can spread the wing out and get a good working surface.
If you feel the joint where the tip meets the flap, you’ll feel a little ball. Put your knife right on top of that ball, put the tip of the blade down on the cutting board and your free hand on the top of the blade to steady it and cut down in a sharp snap. This will cut thru skin and bone at the same time, leaving a nice clean cut. Then, take the wing and set it upright on the tip of the joint so both remaining parts stick up into the air in a V shape. If you spread the wing out, you can see that there is a piece of skin connecting the two parts. The joint is a ball joint, so we can easily sever the two parts by cutting directly down into the V of the joint and working the knife around the ball joint to cut all the way thru.
Admittedly, this is a hard thing to explain and probably harder to understand just by reading. So, click this link and you can watch a video of it.
As you chop the wings, align them on your pan skin side UP. I like to align mine by either flap or drum. It will make sense why later.
Season with garlic salt and pepper, but not too much. Flip them over (skin side down now) and do the other side.
Pop them in the oven for 20 minutes.
Buffalo-style sauce is relatively easy, but it’s all up to you on how you want it to taste. Start with five tbls unsalted butter, melted. Do not let it get to hot or it will separate and make a mess. Then add 1/2c of Frank’s Red Hot sauce.
Whisk it in. Now, I like to put a lot of shit in mine to flavor the sauce. All this does is make it spicier and/or hotter, so at any time feel free to stop.
Let’s add 1/2tbls of garlic chili sauce:
And a few squirts of sriracha sauce (chili sauce):
And since this is so acidic, lets throw in a sprinkle of sugar to cut it and some soy sauce for salt. For extra heat, I add just a bit of this bad mother fugger:
Taste it along the way. You’ll want to put it in the middle of your tongue when you are testing it to get the full flavor.
After 20 minutes, flip the wings and cook them another 30 minutes. Watch them…you are looking for crispy but not burned or dried out. After 30 minutes you can put them under the broiler for a couple of minutes to really crisp them up, but be careful because they will burn very quickly.
If you let them sit out for a couple of minutes, they are easier to pull off the pan w/o tearing the skin. Give them a jiggle if they stick to let the fat work its way under the wing.
Put some sauce into a large bowl and add a few wings at a time. Toss, add more wings and sauce and repeat until you are done. I like to do equal parts drum to flap when I toss them. The sauce should be room temperature and the butter solids may begin to solidify. That’s ok…when the wings are added, it will heat up the sauce and melt it down perfectly. You just want the sauce to be kinda runny so it coats the wings good.
Plate them up and serve with blue cheese and/or ranch for dipping. I’m a big fan of fries with wings as well as all the beer I need to wash down the heat.