Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Buffalo Chicken Wings and Homemade Ranch Dressing
I think the ultimate food for watching any sporting event on TV is a good, juicy, crispy and spicy Buffalo Chicken Wing. With the super bowl coming this weekend, it would be a crime if I didn't post a recipe for home made wings. So let me just start out by making a bold statement. These are the best wings I have ever had. Period.
I have had wings prepared every way imaginable, fried, baked, grilled, breaded, not breaded etc. Baked wings always taste slimy to me, and grilled wings are ok, but to me, I best enjoy them prepared deep fried. They seem to end up crispier and juicier. Just make sure to use an oil with a high temperature capacity, like peanut oil. Frying the wings at too low of a temperature makes them greasy... blech, you might as well bake them if you want a slimy greasy wing.
Also, my preference is to lightly coat the wings with seasoned flour. Nude wings, whether fried or baked, never seem to hold the sauce quite as well. I have had batter-fried wings too and I always think that's too much coating. This recipe gives just a light coating to crisp the wings and give the sauce something to grab onto.
I also like to brine the wings before cooking. This is the perfect opportunity to not only make the wings moist and juicy, but also to add some flavor. I prefer to use both salt and sugar in the brine. Because the wings are so small, they only need to brine for a few hours, but they are much better if you can brine overnight. You'll be amazed at the difference brining makes. You can add other flavors to the brine if you prefer (5 spice powder is nice as is substituting sweet tea or cola for the water).
You can dress the fried wings anyway you'd like, the possibilities are endless. I really honestly prefer the original Buffalo-style wing sauce (which is the dressing I include in this post), but am also a fan of a good hoisin-barbecue sauce combination. Other ideas? Peanut butter and sriracha, pesto and olive oil, orange marmalade and chipotle in adobo... no matter what just have lots of napkins.
It used to be that getting chicken wings from the meat counter at the grocery store was a cheap endeavor... they were incredibly inexpensive. But now since they are so popular, they have skyrocketed in price. I try to buy the whole wings, and then cut them myself at home. With a good pair of kitchen shears this job is a snap. But if you dont want to go through this, prepared FRESH wings are fine.
One last word about acompanying dipping sauces: No matter how they are dressed, I always love ranch dressing. I present a recipe for home made ranch dressing ( which is also AMAZING), but a good quality commercial brand will work too...just avoid the fat-free garbage. Fat-free dressings taste absolutely horrible and plastic, and lets be real, why are you going to use fat free dressing with fried chicken wings? REALLY?
Buffalo Chicken Wings
makes about 3 dozen
5 lbs fresh chicken wings, trimmed and cut
1 gallon cold water
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly gound black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 stick butter
1/2 cup hot sauce (I love Frank's original)
In a large pot, combine 1 gallon cold water with 1/2 cup each salt and sugar. Stir until salt and sugar is dissolved. Add chicken wings, refrigerate, and soak over night ( or at least 2 hours).
Drain chicken wings from brine, and blot dry on paper towels.
Combine flour salt black and cayenne pepper in a large bowl, whisk to combine. Toss chicken wings in flour mixture and place coated wings on wax paper. Allow to sit at least 10 minutes to allow moisture from chicken form a "batter" with the flour.
Make buffalo dressing by melting butter in a large glass bowl in the microwave. Add hot sauce to melted butter and whisk to combine.
Preheat a deep fryer with peanut oil to 350F. Deep fry wings in batches, about one dozen at a time, for 10 minutes. Drain fried wings on paper towels. Toss hot wings in dressing until coated, and serve immediately with ranch dressing.
makes about 2 cups
1 clove garlic
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sourcream
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 Tbsp chopped chives (fresh or dried)
white wine vinegar
milk or butermilk
Grate garlic on a microplane into a medium sized bowl (alternatively, mash garlic with salt on a cutting board until it forms a paste). Add mayonnaise, sour cream, salt, pepper, parsley and chives, stir to combine. Season to taste with white wine vinegar. Add milk (or buttermilk) to thin dressing to desired consistency.