I’ve been trying to be a good citizen. As I was exposed to swine flu last week via a festering public petri dish (my son’s elementary school), I decided to limit my contact with the outside world over the weekend. Of course, upon quietly making that decision on Friday, the calls & emails started – “How about dinner tonight?”, “Come have a few beers”, “Someone just gave me free tickets…” Where were all of you last weekend? Of course, by 5:30PM, I’m sitting at home, bored to tears.
To alleviate the boredom, I tried an experiment – how many chicken wings could I fit into my oven? Turns out, quite a few. I’m a big fan of roasting chicken wings – I think I like them better that fried because they stay moist and they just taste more like – chicken. And if you do it correctly, you still get the crispy skin. “Correctly” only requires 2 things – a rack and a fairly hot oven (convection is best – I miss mine).
A good rub adds a depth of flavor you don’t get from frying. There’s no real recipe, this is a good time to just raid the spice cabinet . Some standard rules apply – kosher salt, black pepper – but then you’re on your own. Don’t measure, just eyeball – chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, Hungarian paprika. This is a great place to hone your spice blending skills. Toss the chicken with the rub, place on an oiled rack and stick in the oven (425-450 degrees). Roast for 15-20 minutes, turn the wings and roast for another 15-20 minutes. Timing is based on your oven, the size of the wings, etc. You’re looking for the skin to crisp up and bubble a bit. This is how you know the fat has rendered and the wings are cooked.
As soon as they come out of the oven, I like to toss them with some form of sauce. Doing this immediately allows the heat from the chicken to “set” the sauce, forming a nice glaze. I prefer a modified version of the sauce from my family’s barbecue joint in Daytona (it’s no longer there and no, I won’t share the recipe). You can use any sauce you like, or just use a hot sauce with a bit of butter. I modify my sauce by adding either Trappey’s Bull Sauce or chipotle for a little heat.