During a superbowl party.
At a fraternity.
A totally cliché situation, but that was the first time I ever tried the glorious chicken wing.
I tried one…then I ate another…
Then I ate ten.
I mean, most of the guys there had 20 chicken wings, so I figured it was okay.
I spent the entire night clutching my stomach and wincing in pain. No one told me chicken wings are deep fried. THEN tossed with hot sauce mixed with butter.
I mean, I’m glad I still have my stomach with me today. No wonder they were so dang good.
Despite my first experience, I can’t stay away from chicken wings. BUT, I like to bake mine, and really, I don’t miss the deep fried ones at all. These are crispy as heck and plus, the fryer is a PITA to clean and set up anyway.
You want to know the secret to crispy baked chicken wings?
Parboiling them before they hit the oven.
Seems so wrong, right?
Getting oneself to boil meat is really hard. You hold the little chicken wing above the whirling pool of violently bubbling water, hand shaking, eyes closed because you can hardly look. And when you drop it in, you scream to yourself and are sure that you have just committed a food sin.
But I can say that after doing a test batch with half boiled, half regular, parboiling is the way to go. It helps get rid of some of the excess fat, and the chicken wings are crispier. It’s kind of like when you have to render out the fat on a duck breast in order to get it crispy. Parboiling boils away some of the excess fat so we can get a crisp thin layer.
If you don’t believe me, try it (or read the hundreds of comments below from people who have made these and loved them).
Update: Some have reported issues with the wings sticking to the pan. For this recipe I use these uncoated sheet pans (I find that nonstick pans are garbage, and they don’t work for this. I threw all my nonstick coated sheet pans away because they aren’t better than uncoated):
And I use this turner to really get under the chicken wing and scoop it off:
Because the pan is uncoated, I don’t have to worry about scratching the pan.
Also, I tested this recipe using parchment paper or a silicone mat, and it really doesn’t crisp up the same. It crisps the best directly on an uncoated sheet pan.
Here’s a step-by-step video on how to make these:
- 2 lbs chicken wing pieces
- 3 tbsp Frank's hot sauce
- 2 tbsp butter
- dash of worcestershire sauce
- ground cayenne pepper to taste, optional
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Heat up a big pot of boiling water. Season the water like you would for cooking pasta (taste the water, it should taste a little repulsively salty, like sea water).
- Boil the chicken wings for 7-8 minutes, then remove them to a wire rack so the excess water can drain off. Let them drip dry a little bit, then dry them well with a paper towel.
- Place the chicken wings directly on a sheet pan. Bake the chicken wings for 25-30 minutes on one side, then flip the wings and bake for another 5 minutes on the other side. The wings should have crispy crackly golden skin on the side that was in contact with the sheet pan.
- In a small saucepan or in the microwave, heat up the hot sauce, butter, worcestershire sauce and cayenne pepper, if using, until melted and combined. Toss the hot wings in the sauce, and serve immediately. Gobble them up while they're still crisp, and coated with sauce. Enjoy!
Updated note about cooking time: Chicken wings sold in grocery stores vary in size, so if you have smaller wings, you will probably only need to bake them for a total of 25-30 minutes. I've always done around 40 for mine, but they've been large wings.
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