Just Wing it

I know what you’re thinking. It was super Super Bowl Sunday and WTF am I doing making chicken wings just a few days later? First off, our friend’s Super Bowl spread consisted of sushi and caviar (which I was super into but it didn’t scratch the itch) and secondly, I am a chicken wing fanatic. In my neighborhood, TriBeCa, I particularly like them from Mudville 9, Blue Smoke or Mighty Quinn’s. Out east, the smoked chicken wings at Maple Tree are incredible and you can select from a variety of sauces. I guess the trend here, for me, is that none of these chicken wings are BREADED. A chicken wing is a small vessel for the meat, overwhelming this vessel with a breading or tempura batter just ruins it for me (unless it’s a perfect Korean-fried wing like at Bon Chon which is bananas delish and I’ll make an exception for) . And like most “unhealthy” things I enjoy, I always try ways to make them in my own kitchen to control the preparation and ingredients.

My 4-year-old and 6-year-old now love chicken wings as well, so it’s not uncommon that I’ll make a few dozen for dinner on a given night. I used to only do this on the barbecue in the summertime, and believe it or not, I have yet to try an air fryer, so broiling these babies on a sheet tray with a rack has been my tried-and-true indoor cooking method for years. The key? The wings needs to be SUPER dry. Once they are dry, toss the wings in olive oil, then I either season all sides in either a pre-bought seasoning salt or make my own mixture of salt, pepper, granulated garlic, paprika, smoked paprika and tiny bit of cumin and cayenne pepper. The wings are then BROILED (broilers are an amazing tool) about 10 minutes on each side until the skin is blistered — like below 🙂

What is awesome about using the rack is that it allows the chicken skin to get crispy because the air can circulate 360-degrees around the wings and all of the fat that is rendered through the cooking process can drip down into the pan! Once the wings are out of the oven, I pour about 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup of sauce in the bottom of my serving bowl (depending how saucy I want them) and then toss the wings thoroughly before serving. This the part of the recipe that is entirely up to YOU! Although the aforementioned Blue Smoke wings now have a Carolina White Sauce which is insanely good, I love a traditional buffalo wing sauce. I guess that’s not completely accurate, traditional buffalo wing sauce to me would be Frank’s Red Hot mixed with equal parts melted butter, but thanks to some amazing manufacturers, here is a list of my preferred ready-to-go wing sauces:

  1. WANTED Jake’s Grillin Buffalo Wing Sauce (my absolute favorite, it’s very peppery)
  2. Noble Made Medium Buffalo (delicious and clean ingredients)
  3. Moore’s Blue Cheese Buffalo Wing Sauce (the best when you don’t want to dip)
  4. Wing Time Garlic Buffalo Wing Sauce (extra garlic just because)

I should also note here, that because these wings are generously seasoned before cooking, THEY DO NOT NEED SAUCE. For example, a jerk rub would be incredible if you’re going to go sauceless. So do you and just wing it!

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