Friday, October 29, 2004

chicken wings and things

chicken chicken chicken. Two nights ago, I adventured off into the mystical magical world of chicken wings again. I used a recipe from a bottle of Red Rooster Hot Sauce, with my own twist on it.

Here goes:

Wing Marinade
3 tbsp corn or vegetable oil
1 tsp garlic, finely minced (I like using a garlic press for this)
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
5 tbsp hot sauce (I used Red Rooster)

Wing Sauce
4 tbsp hot sauce (I used 1/2 Frank's Red Hot original, 1/2 Red Rooster)
6 tbsp butter
6 tbsp vinegar

2 - 2.5 lbs of chicken wings
Corn or vegetable oil for frying
Carrots, cut into cigarette-size sticks
Celery stalks, cut into cigarette-size sticks
Blue cheese dip or dressing

Cut off the wing tips, and save them for making stock later. Separate wings at joints, rinse with water, and pat dry. Combine all marinade ingredients in a large bowl and whisk. Add chicken wings and let marinate at least 30 minutes, but no more than 2 hours.

Heat oil in a heavy, deep pot for frying, or in a deep fryer; about 2-3 inches of oil should be plenty. The key to getting the wings nice & crispy is to make sure the oil is at least 325 deg. Fahrenheit before putting in your wings; 375 degrees is best, but you have to watch it, because the oil will start breaking down & burning any higher. It's best to use a deep fry or candy thermometer to make sure the temperature is right. Any lower than 325, and the oil will cool down too much when you put all the wings in.

Shake off excess marinade & carefully add the wings to the hot oil. Be careful, oil will bubble up rather violently, and if you don't have a deep pot, it could overflow & burn you. Let the wings fry
in the oil for 10-12 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary so the oil temperature stays around 375 degrees.

Around the 6 minute mark of cooking time, make the sauce. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over low to medium heat & heat until butter is melted, stirring occasionally. As soon as butter is melted, remove from heat.

Scoop out wings, let them drain on a plate with a paper towel for a minute. Put wings into large bowl, pour sauce over wings, and toss wings in sauce so they are evenly coated. Garnish with carrot sticks and celery sticks. Serve immediately with blue cheese dressing on the side.

Incidentally, I did a hot sauce taste test between Red Rooster Hot Sauce, Crystal Hot Sauce, and Frank's Red Hot Original, to determine which I liked best for chicken wings. Frank's came out the winner, and even though I would say it has a tiny bit of "processed" flavor, it has a nice smooth, somewhat thicker consistency than the other two. Red Rooster came in second, it's got a nice vinegary kick to it, and is about as thin as Crystal. Crystal has the tiniest "metallic" tinge to my tastebuds, so I passed on it, but it might be worth a try too. If I come across something I like better, I'll let you know.

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