How to make Super Bowl-worthy chicken wings at home
How do you like your chicken wings? Saucy and spicy? Crispy and sweet?
Spicy Buffalo-style chicken wings date back to 1964 when a bar owner in Buffalo, New York, according to lore, got a shipment of wings she didn't order. Not wanting the meat to go to waste, Teressa Bellissimo tossed them in hot sauce and served them with blue cheese dressing and celery.
That's a tidy origin story for a dish that surely has a more complex history, particularly when you account for all the fried chicken wings served throughout the South, but the interesting part of the story, for me, is why wings have grown into the staple they've become.
I'll let the National Chicken Council connect the dots: "Cooking the whole bird was trendy in the '60s and '70s, but in the '80s U.S. consumers started preferring boneless-skinless breast meat, and wings became an inexpensive byproduct for chicken producers. Restaurants and bars realized they could charge low prices for the relatively inexpensive protein, and due to the spicy/salty nature of the sauce, they discovered that beer sales would go through the roof when customers ate wings."
The 1980s was also when we saw the rise of the modern sports bar that spawned, in part, because of satellite dish technology that allowed sports fans to watch more than one game on a weekend. Cheap protein plus endless sports equals chicken wing mania.
Don't feel like cooking?:Where to get the best chicken wings in Austin for your Super Bowl snacks
Now, of course, we have countless bars, restaurants and even food trucks that specialize in wings, and many folks have their favorite way to eat them.
Austinite Jess Pryles of Hardcore Carnivore recently posted about making chile-spiced, honey-glazed wings that are perfect for anyone looking for that spicy-sweet-sticky combo.
My kids are really into anything spicy, but they don't love the spicy-sweet combo as much as I do, so last week, I made a batch of buttermilk-soaked chicken wings tossed in Frank's RedHot sauce. I could have used my air fryer to bake them, but I used a 425-degree oven to cook them the old fashioned way.
The key here is soaking the chicken wings in buttermilk overnight, which tenderizes and flavors the meat. After you cook the wings — grilled, smoked, deep-fried, air-fried or oven-baked are all good options — you can toss them in any sauce, from barbecue to one of those peanut butter-and-jelly sauces I've seen on the internet.
If you're looking for tips for making fried chicken-esque chicken wings in the oven, don't forget that you can use baking powder to crisp up the skin.
Here's the method for using baking powder: Pat wings dry with paper towels. Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Put one oven shelf in the lower quarter of the oven and one in the top quarter. Place the wings in a large plastic zip-top bag. Add the baking powder and salt. Shake the bag to coat the wings evenly.
Line a tray with foil. Place a rack on the baking tray and spray with oil. Place the wings skin side up on the rack. Bake on the lower shelf in the oven for 30 minutes. Then move the tray up to the higher shelf and turn the oven up to 425 degrees. Bake for another 40 to 50 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through. The wings do not need to be turned over. (It's worth nothing that these crispy wings cook for longer in the oven than the buttermilk-soaked ones because you're going for that crackly skin.)
Buttermilk Roasted Chicken Wings
Use a large plastic bag to marinade these chicken wings overnight or for at least three house before preparing them in an air fryer or an oven.
— Addie Broyles
For the chicken wings:
2 pounds chicken wings
2 cups whole buttermilk
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons fresh cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon granulated garlic (not garlic salt)
2 tablespoons Frank's RedHot or other hot sauce
For the sauce:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup Frank’s Original RedHot Sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the blue cheese dip:
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon milk (or more less, depending on how thick you want the sauce)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Combine all the chicken wing ingredients in a large mixing bowl and then place in a zip-top plastic bag. Place the bag inside a clean bowl and refrigerate overnight or for at least 3 hours.
When you're ready to cook the wings, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and a baking rack. Heat the oven to 420 degrees. Place the wings on the rack, discarding the marinade. Bake for 20 minutes and then flip the wings. Cook for another 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix together the sauce ingredients and set aside. In another bowl, combine the blue cheese dip ingredients and set aside.
After the wings have finished cooking, toss them in the hot sauce mixture. (You can bake them for a little longer at this point to dry out the sauce and make them a little more on the sticky side.) Serve with blue cheese dip, carrots and celery.
— Adapted from a recipe on the Sofrito Project