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  • What's Sr Gregor Eating Now? - Chef John's Clifton Springs Chicken Wings

    I love me some chicken wings. Buffalo Wild Wings is a chain that serves up wings in lots of flavors. The best way to eat there is to go with friends and orders two or three flavors each and then mix and match. We've discovered that the ideal number of wings per person is between 15 and 20 each. (What can I say, we like wings!) So when I was cruising through some youtube vids and recipe blogs, I was quite pleased when Chef John over at FoodWishes.com busted out with a few different recipes that looked tasty and delicious.

    The big trick for me this time around wasn't so much the cooking part, or even coming up with flavors, but rather cutting the chicken wings themselves into proper bits (flats, drums, and tips). His video gives a good idea as to the proper way to do it, but apparently my knives were so sharp that I rarely noticed when I'd cut straight through a bone I was trying to work around. In any case, here's what ya do: spread the wing out a bit, and cut around each joint. That will give you three pieces: the tip (which you can throw away or use for making chicken stock), the flat (what most people refer to as "the wing"), and the drum (the drumstick that for some reason I always thought of as the leg... who knew it was the shoulder?). While you're doing this, it's a good time to start preheating your oven to 400F.

    Once you've cut and separated the wings (I did about 8 pounds worth), put them in a bowl, season them with some black pepper, white pepper, and salt, then pour some hot sauce over them (I used Frank's Red Hot Sauce). Next, take a large plastic bag (I used a kitchen trash bag), throw two or three cups of flour in it, then put your sauce-coated wings in them and roll it all around so that the wings get a nice, even coat of flour on them.

    Once they're coated, you'll want to set up some cooking sheets, cover them in foil, and spritz them a bit with some olive oil. Lay out your chicken wings so that they have at least an inch or so of space between them, then spritz a touch more olive oil over the top of them. What you'll do now is bake them in the oven for about 30 minutes, after which you take them out, flip them over, and bake them for another 30 minutes. When all is said and done, you'll end up with a nice crunchy outer layer that soaks up your sauces really well while maintaining its consistency.

    Since we have an hour to burn, now's a good time to start making your sauces. I went ahead with the two he recommended: garlic-ginger sauce and a sweet mustard sauce (he uses honey and mustard, I went with molasses instead of honey). For the garlic-ginger sauce, I grated an entire knob of ginger (about three tablespoons worth), crushed six cloves of garlic, then added a couple splashes of soy sauce, half a cup of rice vinegar, and half a cup (densely packed) of brown sugar, plus a couple teaspoons of sambal oelek. Bring to a boil, taste and adjust as suits your palette.

    For the mustard sauce, I used four parts yellow mustard, four parts dijon mustard, one part red chili sauce (not sambal... I don't know that it has a special name), and three parts dark molasses. Whisk vigorously... not a whole lot to this.

    For the third flavor, I just went with more of the Frank's Red Hot Sauce. Anyways, once your wings are cooked, parcel out into three sets, and add your sauces to each set in a metal bowl, tossing to coat evenly, and set aside on their pans to cool for two minutes or so. Then, plate up with some extra dipping bowls of your sauces, and enjoy!


    Comments 2 Comments
    1. I Am's Avatar
      I Am -
      Sounds delicious!

      I've been told by a professional chef (the one that actually invented some of the flavors for Frank's hot sauces) that the best way to make wings, is to boil your wings first. This makes the wings very tender. After that, mix them with spices and flour and such, then bake them. After they're baked, mix them with the sauce. The end result, he says, is a perfectly flavored wing that super-tender, has a crunchy layer, and tastes amazing with it's sauce.


      When I get enough money, one of the very first things I'm going to do is make wings.
    1. Sr Gregor's Avatar
      Sr Gregor -
      I'm never a fan of boiling meat, unless you're using the water in the mix, such as in stew. You end up leeching out many of the flavors and nutrients, and end up with a bland piece of meat. The meat will take the seasonings and sauces fine, but you end up with none of the natural flavoring from the meat. There's a technique of boiling meat in a vacuum-sealed bag, but I haven't really tried it, to be honest.