I’m on a bit of a streak right now. Four days I’ve been able to eat fried chicken wings, and the trend could continue depending on where I end up tonight. I’m proud of this fact. Sure, it’s not the most healthy diet, but given the excess of grillouts and bar hoping, and overall indulgent time of year, properly cooked wings are one of the best eats that this fine country has blessed the world with. Give them to me fried; give them to me grilled; dry, wet, hot, tangy, spicy. I don’t care, I will not tire, I will not submit. There’s just something so wonderfully primal about eating meat off the bone, licking your fingers, piling up the napkins and diving back for more.
However, I need two thing to maintain my wing obsession: crispy skin and ranch dressing. Without those variables I lose interest relatively quickly. Ranch is a personal preference of course, but why would anyone want wings without a crispy, flavorful skin to encase the juicy, internal wing? That said, I’ve been trying to tweek and figure out the best methods of making the wings I love at the house.
The basics of wing splitting and more after the jump..
Turns out after more than a few experiments, the best way to fry a wing with a extra crispy layer is cornstarch. I typically prefer cooking in the oven to render the fat and then finishing them in a fryer but the good ol’ American buffalo wing and most wings you’ll get in any restaurant are destined for the deep fryer and a quick toss in the sauce.
Also, today lets talk some basics of wing splitting because not all stores are going to be selling pre-slit wings, and that’s a terrible reason not to enjoy these cheap, wonderful little beauties.
2 lbs wings (whole or pre-split)
big pinch salt
big pinch pepper
big pinch cayenne pepper
2 big pinches of cumin
2-3 Tbsp cornstarch
3-4 cups peanut oil for frying (veg oil works fine too)
Kitchen Soundtrack: Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication
With any whole wing there’s always going to be three parts: the Tip, the Flat, and the Drum.
You don’t have to remove the tip, but there’s really no meat to be had there so may as well. Make a small incision on the bend and gently bend the joint out. This may require a little practice to find, but you’ll get the hang of it after a while. Slice remaining skin and save the tips for stock if you like.
Now start to separate the flat from the drum by making another incision into the bend through the “wing” skin so you can see the joint. Work your knife around so you’re right along the joint bones.
Again, this takes a little practice but firmly and gently bend against the joint until they pop apart and separate. Slice remaining skin connecting the flat and the drum.
All three parts separated? Brilliant, all three parts nice and pretty. Pat dry with paper towels and place in a bowl or on a pan.
This is where me and some of the cookbooks differ. They say add the spice right before the fry. Bullshit, I want FLAVOR. If you have the time, put on your salt/pepper/various spices and let the wings sit in the fridge for a few hours. The longer the better, this can be done the night before if you want.
Now a nice sprinkling of cornstarch (you can dredge the wings too as long as you shake off the excess) and heat your oil (preferably peanut) to 250 degrees/medium heat. Work in batches and don’t add everything at once or the temperature of the oil will drop too quickly.
Also, BE CAREFUL! This can be dangerous! Keep a fry screen or a loose cover over the fryer if oil is sputtering. If you have an actually deep fryer, all the better.
Fry for 12-15 minutes (less if the wings are completely submerged) and carefully remove with tongs onto paper towels.
Toss with your favorite sauce or eat plain with blue cheese or ranch. Napkins, beer and bone bowl not included.