Sweet & Spicy Wings
Chicken wings come in all sizes and flavors. Walk into any local sports bar, tavern, family restaurant, etc, and if they have wings, they’ll almost always come in more than one flavor. Hot wings, BBQ wings, honey-mustard wings, lemon pepper wings, salt and lime wings, wicked wings, sweet wings, the list goes on and on. Just as long is the list of seasonings you can use for your wings. Everyone has their favorite combination. It begins when you pull them out of the packaging and ends when you start eating. Everything you do to to the wings,from the obvious seasoning, to the dusting, to the resting to the cooking changes the texture and taste of your wings.
I have to admit that chicken wings are one of my favorite foods. They make awesome appetizers or main courses. I am constantly playing around with the flavor and texture of my wings. I’m always trying new techniques to get the crispiest skin and most flavorful meat. There’s not a ton of meat on a chicken wing, but that makes it easier to experiment with and quicker to cook.
This time, I did something a little different. I brined my wings. Usually, you hear about people creating a brine for their Thanksgiving Day turkey. Well, this is pretty similar. A brine is basically saltwater with several other seasonings that intensely flavor the meat. It also forces the meat to hold more water, making it more moist and juicy than without.
I usually try new things, write it down, and try something different next time. If I do something really great, I will repeat and tweak it just a bit. That’s partially what happened this time. I’ve finally got super crispy wings, and I just needed to adjust the spices. Ok, I will stop delaying the goodness. Here’s how I made the best sweet and spicy wings I’ve ever made.
- 2 TBSP Tony’s Creole Seasoning
- 2 TBSP Kosher Salt
- 1 TBSP Crushed Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 TBSP Brown Sugar
- 1 TBSP Dijon Mustard
- 1/2 tsp Sriracha (or your favorite hot sauce)
- 3 C Water
- 1 1/2 lbs chicken wings, separated
- Combine everything except the wings in a mixing bowl. Whisk until it’s all combined. Dip a finger in and taste it. Can you taste all the flavors you want? Realizing it’s going to be salty, is the salt overpowering the rest of the spices? Is there a depth of flavor? Every palate is different, so be sure to adjust it as you see fit. This is the flavor that the meat of the chicken will carry, so it should be good to you.
- Separate the wings. This step is completely optional, but I always do it unless I’m serving the other larger parts of the chicken. When I’m serving wings, I think it’s nice for everyone to be able to grab the section they like the most. If you’re not sure how to do this, follow these simple steps:
- Once your wings have marinated in the brine, and you are ready to fry them, remove them and place them in a plastic bag. Seal the bag and let them come to room temp. They need to sit out for at least 30 minutes. Meats remains juicier and more tender when you allow it to come to room temp before cooking. Otherwise, it’ll seize and become tough.
- Once your wings have come to temp, create a breading mixture with: 1 C all-purpose flour, 2 TBSP corn starch, 1 TBSP black pepper, pinch salt.
- Heat your cooking oil of choice in a fryer or frying pan to 320˚ F. This time, I used Crisco original shortening and it worked well. I’ve also used peanut oil and works just as well.
- Toss the chicken in the flour a few pieces at a time. Coat thoroughly and set aside.
- Once your oil reaches temp, drop your wings into the oil and allow them to cook for about 10 minutes. Remove them to a rack over a paper towel to allow excess oil to drip off. Heat oil to 360˚ F. Once heated, drop wings again and fry for 2-3 minutes. Remove them and set to the side.
- Now, for the Sweet & Spicy part. I saw Michael Symon do this and gave it a try. I love it! Mix equal parts honey and sriracha, about 2 TBSP each. Taste it first to make sure it’s not too sweet or spicy. Adjust accordingly. I think this is the perfect ration. Drizzle over chicken wings and serve. ENJOY!