What is Football without Wings?

In lieu of weekly Thursday night games and the return of real referees, not the replacements the NFL jacked from Footlocker, today’s recipe is my personal favorite for football Sundays when I have a bunch of friends and family over.  I simply can not start a blog about football and food and not have the first recipe given be buffalo wings.  I have searched high and low for the best buffalo wings one can eat.  I’ve been to the Anchor Bar in Buffalo where they were invented and, while they were good, they were short of special – just wings and sauce (half butter, half franks red hot).  Then as a teenager I came to know Cluck-U-Chicken very well.  Their different take on Buffalo Wings – breaded, fried, with many different sauces of varying heat and sweetness – was new and refreshing and started me on my journey to craft my own favorite wings.  The last place I’ll mention is a little Irish Pub in Clark, NJ called Molly McGuires where their wings are nicely breaded and fried, sauced with a medium heat, slightly sweet sauce and for added texture you can ask for them “Pippen Style” and they will, after saucing them, throw them in the broiler to give them a great crunch – a perfect bite.  This gave me the last push of inspiration in perfecting my own wings and sauce.

To me, Buffalo Wings are more about the sauce and the quality of the Blue Cheese dressing used, than how the wings are prepared.  You can cook the wings and tenders to your personal preference and top with a tangy/hot sauce, then dip into a quality blue cheese dressing and you are still guaranteed an great snack to compliment and replenish the energy you will expel watching your favorite teams and fantasy players spend an hour at a time battling towards the Super Bowl.  Here are  a few ideas on how to prepare wings or chicken tenders along with my perfected sauce that even my wife loves.

Chicken:

For the chicken, you can grill, bake, or deep-fry your wing pieces depending on your personal preferences.

Grill on medium heat for 25-30 minutes, turning a few times to keep from burning.  Internal temperature should be 165 and there should be no pink in the chicken.  I start checking after 25 minutes.

Bake similarly at 375 degrees for 1 hour turning a once halfway through.  If you like crispier skin, you can crank up the heat and cook for less time.

Or you can deep-fry them.  I like to treat them like southern fried chicken and below you will find my recipe for fried chicken wings and fingers and Buffalo Sauce; below is the recipe for this.

Buffalo Chicken Wings (or Tenders)

Master ingredient list:

3 1/2 pounds of chicken wings with skin separated into drumettes and wingettes (or chicken tenders) thawed

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Table salt

2 tablespoons & Dash Sriracha Sauce

4 teaspoons ground black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/8 & 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups unbleached all-purpose (AP) flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon mustard powder

1 1/4 cup of vegetable oil

1/2 cup peanut oil

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

6 tablespoons of Franks Redhot Sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons habanero sauce (optional for heat)

3 tablespoons brown sugar

Step 1 Ingrediants – Buttermilk Brine:

1 cup buttermilk

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon sriracha sauce

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1) In a bowl, whisk together the above ingrediants.  Divide evenly into 2 or 3 one gallon plastic freezer bags.  Pour equal amounts of buttermilk mixture into each bag of chicken.  Seal bags and refrigerate overnight.  (You can make it same day, but the longer in the fridge, the better).

Step 2 Ingredients – Dredging

3 1/2 pounds chicken wing pieces with skin (or tenders) thawed

2 cups unbleached all-purpose (AP) flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

3/4 teaspoons smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon mustard powder

1/4 cup buttermilk

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the AP Flour, baking powder, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, and mustard powder.  Add 1/4 cup of buttermilk into the flour mixture and use your hands to mix and form small clumps.  Taking 3 or four pieces at a time, dredge wings (or tenders) in flour mixture, making sure to press the mixture on to chicken for an even thick coat.  Place pieces on a plate.

Step 3 Ingerdients – Frying

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

1/2 cup peanut oil

Heat oil to 375 degrees in cast iron pan (or deep-fryer; you may need more oil) over medium-high heat.  Working in batches, carefully drop chicken pieces into oil.  Cook 3-5 minutes until golden brown, flip and cook 3-5 minutes longer.  Internal temperature should be 165 and there should be no pink in the chicken.  Transfer to wire rack with large baking pan underneath.

Step 4 Ingredients – Saucing

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

6 tablespoons Franks Redhot Sauce

3 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons sriracha sauce

1 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons habanero pepper sauce (optional for heat)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium heat stirring continuously until butter is melted.  Adjust ingredients to taste – if it is too acidic add a little more brown sugar and butter, if it is too sweet add a little more franks hot sauce, if it is too spicy add a little more butter.  Let mixture simmer for a few minutes while stirring.  Toss with wings.  Enjoy with a quality blue cheese dressing.  My personal favorite is Brianna’s Homestyle True Blue Cheese.

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Filed under Chicken, Fantasy, Food, Football, Recipe

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