How do I prepare chicken wings?
October 4, 2010 12:32 PM   Subscribe

I'm clueless about preparing chicken wings, any suggestions?

I've started buying whole chickens and cutting them up myself. I've found a way to cook/make use of every part of the chicken except for the wings. Can anyone share a really great wing recipe? I'm looking for recipes which are less "snacky" in nature... to be honest, when I think of wings, all I think of is bar food. I considered tossing them in with the rest of the carcass when I make stock, but if there's enough meat on them, I don't want to waste it.
posted by illenion to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Wings, by nature of their limited meat, are snacky. You have to eat a pile of them to be full. They go well with stock, but they are very fatty as well, which will mandate extra skimming when making stock. However, there are a ton of non-Buffalo-style recipes that elevate wings a bit (though I do love Buffalo wings). Check out food52's latest wing recipe contest.
posted by proj at 12:39 PM on October 4, 2010

It sounds like you fabricate your own chickens. Do you supreme your chicken breasts, or do you remove the wings completely? I'd remove the wings from the second joint and throw them in the stock pot, and pull them out and shred them/save the meat for chicken noodle soup.
posted by TheBones at 12:39 PM on October 4, 2010

My mom made some sort of sauce with Lipton onion soup mix and orange marmalade that was lovely. I don't have the recipe (knowing my mom, it probably isn't a recipe, as such) but she just slathered the stuff on and then baked 'em. They were great.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:44 PM on October 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

Wings are pretty great just rubbed with salt and pepper (or infinite other seasonings) and baked on a cookie sheet.

I've made them using this recipe many times, adjusting the seasonings to go with whatever else I'm serving but using the same basic prep and cooking method (adjusting the time depending on how many wings I've got). It's perfect when I just want a little protein to go with my meal--say for lunch, if I'm doing like you're doing and just saving a couple of wings here and there, or if you get enough saved up in your freezer, as a main course with dinner. Dipping sauces are always optional, of course.
posted by padraigin at 12:46 PM on October 4, 2010

A few years ago I made this recipe from Paula Wolfert's The Cooking of Southwest France:

Ragout of Chicken Wings in the style of the BĂ©arn

Also a good way to use those pesky necks and gizzards if your butcher includes them. The piment d'espelette was hard to find and expensive; I used hot paprika instead.
posted by bgrebs at 12:47 PM on October 4, 2010

I love this recipe for thigh/leg quarters that I took from my mother who always uses it for wings:
Marinate in: soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, garlic, onion, a little dry vermouth (or lemon juice), red pepper flakes. Let it sit for at least an hour, no more than 4.

Put in 425 oven for about 35 minutes (fish the onions out of the marinade and bake those too. YUM!)

Share the oven space with a sheet pan of veggies for roasting. I do 'taters, squash, brussels sprouts, peppers. Just cut them up, a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.

The wings and the veggies will be done at the same time. Eat and enjoy!
posted by bluejayway at 12:49 PM on October 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed a lot of the recipes that were provided when this question was asked previously.
posted by ejfox at 12:58 PM on October 4, 2010

I don't understand why you don't cook them with the rest of your chicken parts? Even if you're jointing chickens and then freezing or otherwise saving parts separately for combining later, legs and wings make a really nice mix for braising.

I like to cut a thick piece of breast meat away with the wing to make the piece little more substantial. And I usually cut off the wing tip for stock.

There's a great Chinese-by-way-of-Korea dish that calls for chicken drumettes with the tendons severed at the skinny end so the meat pushes down into a kind of lollipop at the big end. You batter, fry, and serve doused in a chunky sweet sauce. Here's a weird but okay-looking recipe.
posted by peachfuzz at 12:58 PM on October 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Alton Brown's Chicken Wings

You can also get the Good Eats episode where he talks all about the recipe on the youtubes.

You can go for a different sauce, or change up his recipe, but his basic wing cooking technique is amazing.

Short form it is...

- steam wings for about 10 minutes
- dry with paper towel, then lay on cooling rack with more paper towel underneath for minimum 1 hour.
- swap out paper towel for parchment paper, then bake at 425 for 20 minutes, rotate, then another 20 or 25 minutes.
- sauce and eat

These are seriously so amazingly crispy and good, and fairly healthy since steaming and then backing lets a lot of the fat get out of there. I realize you asked for non-snacky recipes, but these are so damn good we make them for dinner with some sort of side dish.
posted by utsutsu at 1:09 PM on October 4, 2010 [3 favorites]

The simplest way to prepare wings, and one of my all time favorite meals from childhood (and one that I continue to devour at least once a month):

-Cover a sheet pan or cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
-Toss on chicken wings in a single layer.
-Sprinkle wings liberally with garlic salt.
-Bake in 425 F oven for 30-40 minutes.
posted by dchase at 1:45 PM on October 4, 2010

A few weeks back I had dinner at Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland where they cooked the wings confit, which is essentially poaching them in fat at a moderate temperature for several hours or overnight. If you save enough of them it might be pretty easy to do. Here's what I might try*...

Save up a dozen or two in your freezer. When you have enough, put them in a heavy pot and preheat your oven to 200'F or as low as it will go. Immerse the wings in fat (duck or goose fat is traditional for confit, but I've had quite a few chefs tell me that any fat will do as long as it has a neutral flavor), cover the pot and let it go 6-8 hours or over night.

Once they've been poached a goodly long time, I'd drain them, pat dry with a paper towel then crisp them up under the broiler. Season with salt and pepper, then whatever dressing you're interested in (I like Frank's Red Hot for wings).

*Note: I've never actually done this, but have been thinking about it ever since dinner at Greenhouse Tavern.
posted by slogger at 2:08 PM on October 4, 2010

I grind chilli, cumin and salt in a pestle and mortar, then add a couple of garlic cloves (never dried, what is it with Americans and garlic powder/ salt?) and crush to make a paste. Then I mix in some oil, toss the wings in the resulting mixture and shove the lot in the oven at 180C for about 40 minutes. If I want a more Asian wing, I add root ginger when I add the garlic.
posted by rhymer at 2:33 PM on October 4, 2010

I don't have a recipe, but here is How to Eat a Chicken Wing.
posted by leigh1 at 2:47 PM on October 4, 2010

>what is it with Americans and garlic powder/salt?

Can't help you there ... I suspect "it" is a merely a massive over-generalization.

Proj, what do you mean by "snacky," exactly, that you don't like? As said upthread, there are a million tasty ways to prepare wings but they are generally finger food and you do need to eat a few of them at a time.

Digging for the recipe from my fave vendor in Bangkok, will post it when found.
posted by cyndigo at 3:33 PM on October 4, 2010

cydingo: I mean finger food. I LOVE wings. The OP said "snacky" and that s/he was looking to avoid this.
posted by proj at 3:52 PM on October 4, 2010

Sorry I was looking at the wrong poster! Yeah, I don't know how to avoid "snackiness" in a finger food.

CJ's in Tiger Country>
posted by cyndigo at 4:04 PM on October 4, 2010

What I meant by "snacky" is fast food, breaded, deep-fried, slathered in a HFCS-based sauce. Since I have no real experience with wings, that's all I could picture. But thanks to everyone upthread, I have a bunch of new ideas to try out. bluejayway, roasting along with vegetables sounds especially excellent, since I'm already an avid roaster of vegetables.
posted by illenion at 4:13 PM on October 4, 2010

Brine them, hit with a salty Greek spice blend with some lemon, then grill. That's how I handle my wings.
posted by GamblingBlues at 4:33 PM on October 4, 2010

Also, if you "unhinge" them and then skewer lengthwise, Asian street-food style, for grilling, they'll cook much more evenly.
posted by cyndigo at 4:46 PM on October 4, 2010

I love wings! In fact, I buy them by the batch to cook up rather than breasts or thighs. Truly.

My favorite ways to cook them:

Honey soy wings = marinade in a mix of soy sauce, honey, red pepper flakes, sesame oil for 1-24 hours. Chuck in oven. This freezes well over rice and is heaven with some steamed or stir fried veggies on the side of that.

Crispy grilled wings = here in Australia you can get something called chicken salt. Also nice if you can add a shake or two of garlic and/or onion powder, but not necessary. Rub liberally onto wings. Chuck under grill/broiler until golden brown.

Fried wings = roll wings lightly around in flour and salt mix. Shallow fry in about 2cm of oil. Yum.

braised wings = slow cook in a sauce of soy sauce, sesame oil, some wine of some description, lemon juice.

posted by shazzam! at 5:51 PM on October 4, 2010

Overthinking a plate of chicken wings, but with awesome results.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:51 PM on October 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

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