Thursday, January 30, 2014

Easy Baked Chicken Wings Recipe

This may very well be the easiest recipe for chicken wings in my cooking history.  No giant vat of hot oil required, no sticky double-dipping fried mess to clean up.

But what do you get?  Some seriously tasty wings, hot and ready for munching right out of the oven.

This is going on our menu for Superbowl Sunday, without a doubt.

My only question at this point is whether to make this with chicken thighs and drumsticks instead of wings.  More meaty goodness, less messy bones, that's what I'm thinking.  Is it game day sacrilege to consider something other than a chicken wing for the snack menu?

Honestly, it will depend on what is left at the store today -- haven't been out of the house to go to the grocery store in days, due to the weather and the loss of my grandfather, so this may be the "beggars can't be choosers" chicken choices Superbowl munching.

In any case, here is the recipe:

Easy Buffalo Chicken Wings
(or Drumsticks or Thighs)

1 large package of chicken wings   (or a package of 8 drumsticks or 8 thighs, or a combination of all of the above)
2 tsp. salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 tsp. black pepper, plus more for sprinkling
1 tsp. Paul Prudhomme's Meat Magic seasoning blend  (if you can't find this, use a Cajun seasoning, but the Prudhomme stuff is amazing if you can find it at the store)
2/3 c. Frank's Red Hot wing sauce
1 Tbsp. canola oil or vegetable oil
Your favorite ranch or bleu cheese dip
Carrot and celery sticks (I like cucumber slices as well)

The night before, place chicken pieces in a large ziploc freezer bag.  Use two if you think it is getting overly stuffed.  Mix together salt, pepper and Prudhomme seasoning.  (Sometimes I add a little extra paprika for color and flavor, but it depends on my mood.)  Season chicken pieces evenly in the bag, then seal and allow to marinate in the dry rub to flavor overnight.  (I have found that placing the bagged chicken in a dish, just in case you have gotten a hole in the bag while seasoning, can save you a lot of clean-up headache later.  So pop the bags of chicken in a dish or on a rimmed sheet pan in your fridge overnight.)

When you are near time to cook the wings, take them out of the refrigerator.  You want to try to bring the wings up closer to room temperature before baking, so that they crisp up nicely instead of staying soggy. 

Preheat oven to 450 F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.  Set a wire rack on the baking sheet.  Spray rack with a little nonstick cooking spray.  (The rack isn't essential, you can bake on just the foil, but they get crispier on a rack.  If you use just the foil, do spray well with nonstick cooking spray to make turning them easier.)

Put the wing sauce in a small bowl and whisk in the oil.  Pour half of this mixture over chicken in bags and let it soak into the skin for a bit while the oven is heating; reseal bags while the chicken marinates.

When the oven is heated, remove chicken from bags and place pieces on wire rack, with enough space between them that they are not touching.  Brush half of remaining sauce mixture over chicken pieces and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake chicken on racks for 15 minutes.  Turn chicken over, baste with any remaining sauce, and then continue baking another 10 to 15 minutes until chicken is cooked through and skin is crispy.

Remove from oven and let sit on rack for a few minutes before serving.  Serve with dip and veggies.  Serves 4.

The great thing about this is that you end up only having a large ziploc to throw away and if you foil your pan well, clean-up is a lot easier there, too.  The wire rack gets a little gunky to clean, but I don't always use one, and quite honestly, my wings turn out just fine either way (if ever so slightly less crispy without the rack, but I can live with that).


(Photo via James.)

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