Your best chicken wings , pre-made OR recipes.
January 31, 2019 7:54 AM   Subscribe

As someone taking a sabbatical from vegetarianism, I have recently discovered the joys of chicken wings. Please help me either buy or make the best. If I had to choose, I'd rather buy them pre-made and just heat them up in the oven (dealing with raw meat squicks me out), but I can cook if you have an awesome recipe.

Even better if I don't have to like, cut apart or debone or whatnot and can just sorta move the raw wings from package --> marinade-- > place of cooking with minimal handling.

NB: I do not like Buffalo sauce, or any other very spicy, vinegary hot sauce. Spicy is OK.

What's driving me to ask this is that I grabbed some frozen Tyson "anytizer" version while out grocery shopping. When I made them, they were nasty -- very flabby and fatty. I would rather not repeat that, but if there's anything that's good with the ease of preparation of "open bag, dump on tray, put in oven, eat" I want to know about it.
posted by Fig to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
yeah, chicken wings are easy to mess up and frankly (no sauce pun intended) no pre-purchased or dump-and-go option is really going to give you what you want.

if i can recommend you purchase the wings in their raw state, but already separated (into the separate drummets and flats) and follow the instructions in this recipe here (which includes buffalo sauce which you can skip, its really the baking powder and salt semi-cure step that you want).

If some part of your issues with dealing with raw meat have to do with either touch issues or contamination concerns, investing in some disposable kitchen gloves for tasks like this might be worth the minimal cost.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:08 AM on January 31 [3 favorites]

Not an easy recipe, but Pok Pok Thai's chicken wings are legendary for a reason.
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:12 AM on January 31 [1 favorite]

My best tip is included in the recipe linked by Exceptional_Hubris, which is to bake them on a rack set into a foil-lined pan. This makes them way more delicious than if they were sitting in their rendered fat (no flab!).

Allow yourself to use purchased sauce - BBQ is great for this, if there's one you like. Tongs (and gloves if you like as above) for the raw wings, then wash them before using them on the cooked ones of course.
posted by wellred at 8:15 AM on January 31

Pre-purchased and pre-sauced is fine so long as you buy them at a high end butcher shop. For the Super Bowl a large butcher should prepare 4-5 varieties. Inquire with the staff as to which marinade will suit your preferences.
posted by crazycanuck at 8:30 AM on January 31

Take this recipe for Yucatan Shrimp (made famous by Doc Ford's Florida restaurant) and use it as the coating for your chicken wings. Make the sauce while you cook your wings and reserve part for basting during the last few minutes of cooking and the rest as a dipping sauce. Best eaten with fresh, hot white rice or warm baguette.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large clove garlic, minced
Juice of two large limes
1 tablespoon Indonesian sambal (sambal oelek)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
posted by IndigoOnTheGo at 8:31 AM on January 31 [4 favorites]

The best wings I've ever had or made were cooked multiple times. I like smoke flavor, so for me it's smoked, put in the fridge overnight, then deep fried. Finish with the sauce of your choosing.

More work than I usually want to do. But amazing.
posted by booooooze at 9:01 AM on January 31

Do you have a Costco membership? Ours has prepacked garlic chili wings (but much more sweet chili thank spicy) for a reasonable price (way cheaper than wings out). Open the package, bake, eat. They're in the fresh food section, not frozen.
posted by joycehealy at 9:21 AM on January 31

So, I do chicken wings about once a week. Here's what I do.

Rub with whatever you have. Hit the grocery store. Any of the BBQ rubs, or spice combos. Salt, pepper, curry powder, tummaric, Old Bay, whatever. Toss in a big bowl with mustard and spices. Ideally the night before.

Then around 2pm, I fire up the grill. I load on 1/2 of the grill with wings, and the burner there off. Then set the indirect heat burner to lowest, or just above and let those suckahs go until 4:30 or 5pm.

Once they have nice color and the skins are barely holding together, take them off and eat. If you have a bit of a wait for dinner, place them in a casserole and cover with foil. In the oven on WARM.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:25 AM on January 31

If you don't have a grill like humboldt32 does you can do a low-and-slow oven roast like this.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:40 AM on January 31 [1 favorite]

Here's a 1981 NY Times article about the original Buffalo wings and the recipe for them. The sauce is the thing, but I hate the mess of making wings. So I order wings from a local place with no sauce, bring them home, then pour over the sauce on the pre-fried wings--so good, no mess.
posted by Elsie at 9:52 AM on January 31

Serendipitously, Food52 just posted this: We Tested 5 Popular Chicken Wing Recipes—Here's How They Stack Up. The five recipes are Mark Bittman’s Minimalist Buffalo Wings, Party Wings with Cholula Butter, Honey Mustard Chicken Wings, Korean Fried Chicken Wings (KFC), and Dry-Rubbed Chicken Wings With Barbecue Sauce.
posted by Lexica at 9:57 AM on January 31 [2 favorites]

You can go directly from frozen to cooked with an Instant Pot (~12 minutes high pressure). Then dip in sauce and broil in the oven for 5 minutes, flip, 5 minutes again.
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra at 10:31 AM on January 31

Nthing the Food Lab oven-fried. I used to fry buffalo wings at home, but no more. These are better than most restaurant fried-fried wings I've had.

Tip for avoiding raw-meat-ish handling: I buy the frozen separated buffalo wings (e.g.), toss them in the baking soda and salt while still frozen, and then remove to a sheet tray w/ rack in the fridge to thaw, dry, and "brine".
posted by supercres at 10:33 AM on January 31 [1 favorite]

I buy precut wings, marinate them for a couple of hours in a premade sauce (usually “Soyvey” but there are many options at the store), then bake them at 400F on a sheet pan. Very easy and no need to actually touch any raw meat.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:33 AM on January 31 [1 favorite]

I have been making a myriad of different versions of chicken wings. The game changer? An air fryer!

What an amazing difference using one makes. I have a basket version and spritz the wings often, tossing and turning them every 5-10 minutes or so for extra crispiness. No matter what recipe you use, they've been crispier in an air fryer.

One tip - if you use seasoned flour, spritz the wings with a little pump of oil to cover up any "white" bits.

The easiest version? Generously salt and pepper frozen wings. Dump frozen wings into air fryer - OK to be in a pile. 360 for 25 minutes shaking / tossing every 5-10 minutes (keep an eye to make sure they don't burn, every air fryer is a bit different). Then turn up to 380 for 10 more minutes shaking / tossing at 5 minutes.
posted by HeyAllie at 11:54 AM on January 31 [2 favorites]

My latest recipe because I'm lazy is to take frozen wings and cook them for 30 minutes a side @ 400, then mix them in a bowl with some Frank's Red Hot and a little butter and maybe a drop or two of Dave's Insanity sauce if I'm feeling frisky.

Cooking the wings frozen keeps moisture inside and if you like them crispy you can broil them for the last 5 or 10 minutes.

/admitted hot wing aficionado
posted by Sphinx at 12:02 PM on January 31

I dredge chicken wings in baking powder and salt and then oven bake them. I either make a dipping sauce to go with or just eat them plain.

This is the recipe I follow; it also includes a recipe for a honey-garlic sauce which is pretty good.
posted by medeine at 12:32 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]

I prefer a slightly chewy crispy wing. Any wing that feels too slimy to me is a no go. What I do is season frozen (salt, pepper or whatever else you like) wings and cook in an oven ~400 F until they look done. Basically golden brown on the outside. I let them rest for a bit and then batch cook them in a little deep fryer I have. You can use a deep pan with oil if you don't have a fryer. I use peanut oil as it can get nice and hot without burning. After frying, toss them in your favorite sauce. I like to mix a buffalo style sauce with honey to make something sweet and spicy.
posted by runcibleshaw at 3:40 PM on January 31

I have a recipe blog with an amazing recipe for honey garlic ginger wings made either in the instant pot or a slow cooker, they're not vinegary at all. Message me if you want the link.
posted by at 9:18 PM on January 31

Try Maangchi's honey butter fried chicken wings. The double fry is key to deliciousness. (Well, and the honey and butter, of course.)

I agree with getting some disposable kitchen gloves to help you with your raw meat squeamishness. They have helped a couple of previously vegan friends of mine become confident in an omnivore's kitchen. Also a lot of times when it comes to breaded and fried things you can prep a large batch of whatever and then freeze before cooking (like thin breaded pork chops for tonkatsu or schnitzel, or breaded shrimp when there's a good deal on them, or of course chicken wings). So you can deal with the gross-to-you part one time and then have multiple batches of easier tongs + frozen thing + hot oil.
posted by Mizu at 2:47 AM on February 1

Lemon Pepper wings were a revelation.

I just got the wingstop version which is a more dry style.
posted by srboisvert at 6:41 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]

Make lemon pepper wings in 40 minutes. Lay the wings a on a baking sheet, sprinkle heavily with coarse lemon pepper from the grocery store. Bake in a 350F oven, 40 minutes or until they are as crispy as you like them. They need no sauce or marinating, and we love them.
posted by Enid Lareg at 1:51 PM on February 1

Seconding the air fryer recommendation. It's great for making easy crispy chicken.

The other day I made some bone-in chicken thighs in the air fryer. All I did was pat them dry and then rub with dry seasoning. Cooked in the air fryer for about 25 minutes (flipping halfway through) and they were the crispiest-skinned tasty chicken thighs I've ever managed to make.
posted by bananana at 6:46 PM on February 1

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