Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wings!! Gotta have 'em!!

The NFL kicks off it's season tomorrow night. Can you feel the excitement in the air? For the next 21 weekends, friends will be gathering at homes to watch their favorite teams do battle on the gridiron. They'll be hungry and thirsty. You need to be prepared!

Hot wings. You know 'em, you love 'em. Wings and sporting events (especially football) are the quintessential combination. It doesn't seem like game day unless you have hot wings. Never be caught short with these little babies. Buy family packs of 'em, cook 'em ahead of time and freeze 'em. When the gang comes over, all you'll have to do is take 'em out and reheat 'em. They're a no-brainer.

There are a bijillion wing recipes out there. As time goes on, I will be sharing a bunch of those recipes with you. But this week I'm going to share my easiest go-to recipe with you: Basic Hot Wings.

This basic hot wing recipe is so simple, you can cook up tons of these little suckers with very little effort. First of all, I marinate the wings overnight in beer, which adds a nice little somethin'-somethin' in the background. Secondly, I don't add butter to the sauce. My rationale for omitting it is that I feel it's redundant. Wing skin is greasy. My recipe calls for roasting the wings, so the skin will not crisp up/dry up the way it would if you deep fried them. If you add butter to your hot sauce, then you're putting a greasy wing sauce on moist wings and it will not adhere. So I cut out the butter and voila - the sauce adheres! Roasting the wings gives you a moister, more tender wing. Basting them every 15 minutes while they roast not only guarantees that the sauce will stick but it also intensifies the flavor.

You can use any brand hot sauce you like. It depends on how hot you like 'em. It's all up to you.

Basic Hot Wings
(serves 4)

3 lbs chicken wings
(2) 12oz bottles of lager or ale (if using non-alcohol beer, go with a dark beer)
22 oz of your favorite hot sauce


1.  Place wings in a gallon-size Ziploc bag. Add the beer. Close top and place in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 2 hours if you're tight on time).

2.  Heat oven to 375-degrees.

3.  Remove wings from bag and let drain. Pat wings dry and place in a large non-stick roasting pan (you can also use non-stick baking paper or non-stick aluminum foil)

4.  Give the wings their first baste with the hot sauce and place in the oven.*

5.  Baste wings every 15 minutes for 1 hour. Turn the wings over the last 15 minutes of roasting and hit that side with the hot sauce.  If you want your wings crispier, keep them in the oven an extra 15 minutes without another baste, but watch to make sure they don't start to burn.

6.  Place in a serving bowl or on a platter and watch the gang suck 'em down....

*NOTE:  To avoid raw chicken contamination, use about 1 cup of hot sauce for the first baste in a separate container. Once you finish the first baste and place the wings in the oven, get rid of that sauce and thoroughly wash your basting brush (you can use a second brush, if you want). Both were in contact with the raw chicken and you don't want to keep using that for the other bastings. For the second basting on, you can use the same hot sauce and brush.

And there you have it!  Hope you enjoy this recipe and I hope you enjoy the games! Check in next Wednesday for some more game day inspiration!

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