~ JoePa's Chicken Wings: Deep-Fried to Perfection ~
In our Happy Valley household, our grandson calls my husband Joe "JoePa" and calls me (Mel/Melanie) "GrandMel". Living in a college town and having raised three boys, chicken wings were and are everywhere, and, everyone who cooks makes wings and has a favorite recipe. While I could go through life without chicken wings, I've gotta say, JoePa's wings are my favorite: They're plump and crispy on the outside, and, tender and juicy on the inside. He's been making a lot of folks very happy in Happy Valley with his version of wings for a long time.
~ Step 1. Seriously, now is the time to think about buying a deep-fryer. This inexpensive appliance is just plain wonderful. If you don't have one, that is ok. You can fry in any large-size 6-8-quart stockpot. Just fill it half way (no more) with corn or peanut oil heated to 360º and you should use a candy thermometer to control/monitor the temperature.
If you do own a deep-fryer, preheat it to 360º according to the manufacturer's directions.
Some folks like to fry and eat the wing tips, I do not, but that is your choice. Without frying the wing tips, this recipe will yield about 4 dozen chicken wings.
The wing tips can be frozen and used to make stock, as while they are "skinny", they are flavorful.
~ Step 3. Simply dredge/coat the wings in pancake mix -- yes I said pancake mix. I've tried all sorts of flour mixtures and pancake mix is the best. You'll need about 2-2 1/2 cups pancake mix total. Most people don't dredge their wings in anything -- not even flour. I don't understand why. This step makes the wings crispy with a slight crust that causes any type of wing sauce to blanket the wings.
Immediately transfer wings to a paper towel lined dish or platter. Immediately and generously salt the wings. I use freshly ground sea salt. Continue this process until all wings are deep-fried and salted. Transfer wings to a big bowl and proceed to toss 'em, all at once, in your favorite sauce, or, sauce with:
~ Melanie's Sweet 'n Spicy Wing Sauce ~, recipe found in Categories 1, 2, 8, 17 or 20.
Proper chicken wing etiquette: Wings are user-friendly, requiring no knives or forks. All you need are your fingertips and a large stack of napkins to delight in this very unique and casual culinary experience. Pick them up with your fingers and proceed to nibble, gnaw and chew until all of the meat and sauce have been savored. No pretenses when eating this beloved snack food: It's perfectly acceptable to ignore the napkins completely and lick your lips and fingertips.
In either case, they are traditionally served with blue cheese dip or dressing, accompanied by carrot and celery sticks .
To get my ~ Buttermilk Blue Cheese 'n Chive Salad Dressing ~ (pictured here), just click into Categories 8 or 10. It is one of the cheesiest versions you'll ever taste.
"Lip-smackin' " and "finger-lickin' good" apply in every context:
Special Equipment List: deep-fryer (or 6-8-quart stockpot); cutting board; poultry shears; tongs; paper towels; 13" x 9" x 2" baking dish (for finished wings); very large bowl (for saucing wings)
For a different twist, stir 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon and 1-2 tablespoons of ground cayenne pepper into the 2-cups of pancake mix. Hahaha: When I do that and if you do that, the name officially changes to: ~ GrandMel's Cinnamon-Chicken Wings ~.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2010)