Sunday, June 01, 2008

Best Wings Ever?

I love great wings, and I want to make them at home.

My wife comes from the Buffalo area, so our standards for buffalo wings are pretty high. We've had great wings that make lips tingle and terrible wings with insipid goo spread over them. But we've had some seriously wonderful wings - the best in Kansas City come from the Peanut, where they serve up massive, crispy, peppery hot wings that make the perfect accompaniment for a pitcher of good beer.

Tonight, I finally made great wings.

There are a few hallmarks of great wings. They're hot, but edible. They're crisp, but not burnt. And they're cooked through but not dry - so the meat comes easily off the bone.

Those are the universal requirements - and, when we cook at home, we have a few more constraints. First, we're not frying - we don't have a ventilating hood, and I hate to waste that much oil. Second, I don't have access to the mutant huge wings they serve at the Peanut. Finally, we're trying to eat a little healthier, so anything that can cut down on the fat is appreciated.

Here's what I did. I got a few pounds of wings, already cut into segments, and lacking the meatless point of the wing. I brought a pot of aggressively-salted water to a boil, and dumped in the wings. When the pot started boiling again, I turned off the heat, covered it, and let it sit for around 10 or 15 minutes. In the meantime, I started up the propane grill (I know, charcoal is cooler, but I've come to love the convenience and reliability of the gas . . .).

After draining the wings and shaking them as dry as possible, I spread them out and sprinkled them with a Louisianna blackening spice mixture. To imitate the Peanut more closely, I would have stuck with salt and pepper, but my daughter's time at Tulane has enlivened our cajun appreciation, so that's how we rolled tonight.

Letting the wings absorb the spice a little, I started on the sauce. The base was Frank's Red Hot sauce - probably a cup and a half. I tossed in some white vinegar, and then added some horse radish and a couple cloves of pressed garlic. A hearty squeeze of Sriracha sauce added extra and different heat. A hint of Worcestershire sauce makes everything (other than breakfast cereal) better, and a touch of honey mellowed the heat and added a little depth. I heated it all up together in a small saucepan.

After the sauce was bubbling away, I put the spiced wings on the grill, over medium-low heat. The lack of flare-ups demonstrated that much of the fat had been boiled out of the wings, and I was able to grill them slowly to a golden crisp texture.

After removing them from the grill, I doused them with the sauce and served them with celery sticks and bleu cheese dressing.

And they were spectacular.

No, they weren't up there with the Peanut - fried, massive, peppery wings of eagle/chicken hybrids. But they were the best I can do, and they were the best ever served in this household.

And they were much better than anything you could find at Hooters.

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6 Comments:

Anonymous Average Jane said...

That sounds delicious (and I'm not even a big wings fan). I always get distracted by the best BLT in the world when I'm at The Peanut, so I've never tried their chicken.

6/01/2008 10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

agreed. the wings are huge and have great flavor.

6/01/2008 11:31 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Average Jane - The BLTs are great. It's a mood thing - sometimes I want wings, sometimes the BLT. I've heard the Reubens are good there, too, but why would anyone eat a Reuben when you could have a BLT or amazing wings?

6/02/2008 7:47 AM  
Blogger les said...

OK, sounds great, but...anything??

6/02/2008 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry to change the subject, but someone with connections to the mayor and his wife needs to get to their blog ASAP and call gloria and tell her it's "Funk and me," not "Funk and I." I am embarassed that a large metropolitan city such as ours has a Mayoral blog with such terrible grammar on it. Doesn't he have a writer on staff? He needs one desperately, if his wife's grammar is that poor.
--just sign me "mortified"

6/02/2008 12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I appreciate flawless grammar, I must say that "mortified" needs to grow up and get a life.

6/02/2008 1:12 PM  

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