Winging It!

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Are the best wings fried, baked or grilled? Try these, and let your taste buds judge.

The fancy, festive meals of the holidays are behind us, and the season of casual dining has begun. It’s time to relax on the couch at home and watch a game or movie with foods that don’t require a fork or even a plate. Grab these great recipes right out of the bowl. You’ll only need napkins!


HOT BUFFALO WINGS

Yield: 6 servings
Peanut oil for frying
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1½ teaspoons cayenne, divided
3 pounds chicken wings
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
Blue cheese dressing

Preheat the oil to 350 degrees. Make sure the oil is at least 2 inches deep in the pot. Meanwhile, place the flour, salt, black pepper and ½ teaspoon of the cayenne in a large zip-top bag. Shake to mix and add half of the chicken wings. Seal and shake to evenly coat. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with waxed paper and repeat with the remaining wings.

Fry half of the wings at a time for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and repeat with the remaining wings. Meanwhile, place the remaining cayenne and butter in a large bowl. Add the hot wings and toss well to melt the butter and evenly coat the wings. Serve warm with the dressing.


OVEN-FRIED CHICKEN WINGS

Yield: 4 servings
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion or garlic salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
20 chicken wings
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil that has been coated lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large zip-top bag, combine the flour, paprika, salt, pepper and cayenne. Working in batches, add the wings and shake to evenly coat. Place on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with the melted butter. Bake 30 minutes, then turn. Bake 15 minutes longer, and serve warm.


BUTTERMILK CHICKEN WINGS

Yield: 6 servings
3 pounds chicken wings
2 cups buttermilk
Peanut oil for frying
1 teaspoon garlic or onion salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cayenne

Place the wings in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and pour the buttermilk over the top. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. Remove from the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oil to 350 degrees. Make sure the oil is at least 2 inches deep in the pot.

Remove the wings from the marinade and discard the marinade. Sprinkle evenly with the salt and pepper. Place the flour and cayenne in a large zip-top bag. Add half the wings and shake to coat. Add to the hot oil and fry 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Repeat coating, frying and draining with the remaining wings. Serve warm.


ZESTY GRILLED CHICKEN WINGS

Yield: 4-6 servings
2 pounds chicken wings
¼ cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
¼ teaspoon hot sauce
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
¼ cup vegetable oil

Place the wings in a large zip-top bag and set aside. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, salt, black pepper, red pepper, hot sauce and garlic. Slowly add the oil, whisking to blend. Pour over the chicken wings, seal bag and refrigerate for 12 hours.

Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling. Preheat the grill to medium-high. Remove the wings from the marinade and discard the marinade. Grill 20 minutes, turning often to evenly cook. Serve warm.


SPICY OVEN-BAKED CHICKEN WINGS

Yield: 8 servings
36 chicken wings
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
¾ cup teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons chili sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped

Place the wings in a shallow casserole dish in a single layer. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the garlic, teriyaki, chili sauce, soy sauce, honey, water, sugar and ginger. Pour over the wings, cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour off excess marinade, but leave the wings in the casserole dish. Bake for 32-35 minutes or until the wings are golden brown. Serve warm.


ROSEMARY GRILLED CHICKEN WINGS

Yield: 4-6 servings
16 chicken wings
4 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne
Lemon wedges

Place the wings in a large zip-top bag and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, honey, lemon juice, rosemary, salt, paprika, black pepper and cayenne until smooth. Pour over the chicken wings, seal and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Grill 20 minutes, turning frequently to evenly cook. Serve warm with lemon wedges.


REHEATING

Though nothing beats the just-prepared crispness of fresh chicken wings, chances are you’ll have a few leftovers to enjoy at another meal. To successfully reheat to the original glory, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with cooking spray. Reheat the wings for around 15 minutes and serve warm.

Pick Tennessee Products spokesperson Tammy Algood develops recipes for The Tennessee Magazine featuring fresh Tennessee food products. Pick Tennessee Products is a promotion of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture developed to help consumers recognize and choose foods grown or processed in Tennessee. To learn more about our state’s food products and find more recipes, go to the Department of Agriculture Market Development website at PickTnProducts.org or contact Algood at 615-837-5160 or tammy.algood@tn.gov.


Straighten up and fry right

Using the right oil at the right temperature is key to successful fry-ing. If you end up with an overly greasy product, you didn’t get your oil hot enough. If you end up with perfectly fried chicken on the outside but not completely done on the inside, you had the oil at too high a temperature.

Fill your deep-frying pot no more than halfway with the oil. Then attach a deep fry thermometer and bring the temperature to between 350 and 375 degrees … no higher or lower. Bring the chicken to room temperature about 30 minutes before you fry it. That will help equalize the temperature and not lower the oil temperature when you add your chicken. You never want to overcrowd the pot, so

Place the chicken from the first batch on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet rather than on paper towels. This pulls any excess oil away from the chicken rather than having it sit in the grease. Place the loaded rack in a preheated oven (very low — 200 degrees) while you are frying the remaining batches.

Although there are plenty of oil options on the market, you want to select one with a high smoke point. The smoke point is where the oil begins to break down and start to smoke when heated. Use peanut, canola, sunflower or safflower oils for the best results when deep fat frying.

 

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About Author

Tammy Algood

Originally from Starkville, Miss., Tammy Algood has a Bachelor’s of Science from Mississippi State University and a Master’s from Middle Tennessee State University. She writes about food for The Tennessean and monthly for The Tennessee Magazine. Broadcast appearances include Nashville’s local ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates as well as statewide on PBS. Tammy can also be seen nationally on the HGTV and DIY networks.

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