More Than Just Wingin’ It

by Kelly on February 3, 2010   

This was playoff game #1, then there was that crazy game #2 and now I'm saying Go Saints (but it would be Go Vikings...)

Uh huh. Yup. That’s right. I do watch the Super Bowl. Where I come from that would be considered a given (Oklahoma, home of reluctant but loyal Cowboys fans). But where I live is another matter. People in these parts approach the Super Bowl apologetically — put it in quotes. This might be different if we had a team in this megalopolis, but no. Did, don’t. Might, don’t yet. So we’re a fan amalgam of where we’re from, places we love, dream teams, underdogs. One constant, though, is that there must be a Super (Size Me) Sunday array of snacks. And in my little circle it’s wings.

Another name for this sports bar snack is Buffalo wings (so named for a restaurant in Buffalo, NY, where they are reputed to have been “invented”). And it’s perfect that Calvin Trillin, known for his love of anything that requires him to lick his fingers, was lurking somewhere in that area circa 1980, interviewing and eating, when this snack hit the big time.

I love wings but not the big franchise kind. They just don’t taste personal, and often come with either indifferent barbecue sauce or ranch dressing, a newer substitute for the classic accompaniment, blue cheese dressing. So I’ve taken on the wing, and the sauces as well. I used a dry brine and kept the wings in the refrigerator overnight to tenderize and flavor them. Once you’ve made your own you’ll be required to bring them to every Super Bowl party you ever attend — even in the NFL-free zone of Los Angeles.

Roasted Chicken Wings with 3 Sauces | 50 pieces

If you have lots of other food, allow 5 pieces per person. I’ve seen some hungry snackers go at it, though, so plan accordingly. I bought 5 pounds of wings, or 16 individual wings, which yielded 32 pieces. I also bought 2 1/2 pounds of drumettes at a considerably higher price per pound, and that was 20 pieces. I recommend buying whole wings and cutting them up yourself — it’s fast and simple and cheaper by a long…pass.

7 1/2 pounds chicken wings
For the dry brine:
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon cumin

Cut the whole wings into two pieces, discarding the tip end.

Whole wing on the left, drumette -- the part closest to the breast -- on the right

With the tip of the knife, identify where the joint is between the drumette and the flat center piece of the wing

Cut firmly between the two ball joints

Trim off the wing tip -- it's a little harder to find the natural cut point, but it is below the joint where the two bones of the flat piece come together

Trim off any excess skin.

Sometimes the drumettes, especially, have a little extra skin

Arrange the chicken pieces in one layer.

All in a row...

Mix the dry brine ingredients together in a bowl and sprinkle over the chicken, turning to coat the underside.

Most important ingredients are the salt and the heat -- the salt "brines" the chicken and the cayenne determines the spiciness

If you are making more than about 50 wings be sure to increase the amount of dry brine

Place the wings in a couple of large, open plastic bags and leave them in the refrigerator overnight.

Just leave the top open, and if you remember, turn the bag over a couple of times

When you are ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 425°F. Arrange the wings in one layer on one or two lightly oiled baking sheets. Cook for 50 minutes to 1 hour, trading shelves if you use more than one pan, and turning once while cooking.

When the wings are done, let them sit for 5 minutes to cool before removing them from the pan -- they will "unstick" more easily

Serve with any or all of the sauces below.

Bourbon Bacon Barbecue Sauce | 2 cups

Oh, yes, very good.

3 slices good quality bacon, cooked crisp, drained, and minced
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup bourbon
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons espresso or very strong coffee
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon onion powder
Tabasco or other hot sauce, to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a non-aluminum saucepan.

I prefer not to use uncoated or untreated aluminum pans with tomato-based sauces

Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, very low, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool before serving.

Nice smoky flavor from the bacon

Curry-Ginger Yogurt Sauce | 1 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1 tablespoon cream or half & half
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon sugar1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
6 or 8 sprigs of cilantro, leaves minced (about 2 heaping tablespoons)

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

This sauce is great on chicken salad, too

Not the usual Super Bowl fare, admittedly

Herbed Aioli

Serve wings with herbed aioli made from homemade mayonnaise — a wonder of garlic, olive oil and herbs. You may have to switch out the beer for a white Rhone.

Garlic & herb deliciousness

Now all I need is a couple of dollars ridin’ on the Saints…

Kelly McCune © 2010
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa Groening June 11, 2010 at 3:50 pm

I am trying this one for tonight. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Lisa Groening June 12, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Okay! I made the wings yesterday, and they were a huge hit! I didn’t try to turn them until well into the process, though, and by then they stuck too much to the foil (even though I lightly oiled the sheets). I wonder if it’s necessary to cook them on foil, or if it would work better to just put them directly on the pan…
My oven runs hot, too, and next time I’ll turn it down at least five degrees. Plus I’ll get the ingredients to make the herbed aioli, which Craig will love. Thank you, Kelly!

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