Monday, May 26, 2014

Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings

Who doesn't love wings?! Boneless are delicious but I'm talking about real wings. It took me awhile to get comfortable eating wings in public and I don't know why it took me so long! Sure, eating them creates many etiquette questions and I probably look completely unladylike eating them. Can anyone make eating wings look sexy, or clean for that matter? Like, is it appropriate to lick your fingers afterwards? Oh, is there there buffalo sauce on my cheek? Can I attempt to eat all of the chicken off the bone or does that look "piggish" and leave a little bit? Let me tell you something, forget all of those things and just enjoy those crispy, salty, chickeny goodies. Or just stick to eating them at home. Most wings are fried which ensures juicy chicken on the outside and crispy skin on the outside. I've been wanting to try a baked version and finally bit the bullet last night. After researching a few methods, I tried them a few ways to see which actually made the better wings...and found that simpler is better.
As you see, I served these with the usual suspects ranch, carrots, and celery. I imagine these babies are making you salivate, so let's jump right in!
I know, raw chicken looks gross but I'm showing a step-by-step process so please forgive me. I had about 2 1/2 pounds of little drummies and flat wings(tips removed and discarded). I laid them out over lots of paper towels and dried the tops really well. 
I took half of each for experimenting purposes but place them skin side up on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet. I seasoned them with cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Crank your oven to 450 degrees and bake them for 40-45 minutes or until the skin is crispy and golden. The bottoms become crisp as well, which is why I didn't flip them halfway through. 
Oh ya.
I did boil some based on some recipes I looked at. It does render some of the fat like those recipes mentioned, but by the time the skin got crispy, about 35-40 minutes, the chicken was dried out and the crisp skin wasn't any crispier than the other batch. Case in point, this boiling method is not necessary.
While the chicken is baking get started on your sauce. I made a traditional buffalo version but plan to play with alternative sauces soon! I melted 2 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pot over medium heat and gently sautĂ© 2 cloves of minced garlic, just until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Then add in your favorite buffalo sauce, I like Frank's, but use whatever you like! I used about 1 1/2 cups, give or take, but use more depending on how many wings you have.
When the chicken is crisp place them in a large mixing bowl, a little sticking is normal but you shouldn't have to fight the foil for it! (I was getting really antsy to devour these and this picture reflects that. Oops!) Pour in a small amount of sauce and toss to coat. I like mine just coated, not saucy, but that's just me!
Place on a platter with typical accoutrements and dig in!! These have to be eaten right away so that the sauce doesn't make them soggy.

Serve alongside a bowl for bones and a very cold beer. Can't go wrong with that combo!

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