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~ Seriously E-Z & Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken WIngs~

IMG_7889Happy Friday before Christmas everyone -- I've dedicated this week to posting three recipes for a completely different type of Holiday entertaining than I did last year.  Why?  Because if you're a football fan, 'tis the season of college bowl games and professional playoffs.  If you're like me, planning a tailgate party during the hectic holiday season means you get a break from cooking festive food to prepare casual football fare.  This is a most welcome change, but:  if you are like me, your schedule is tight right now.  You don't have any extra time for planning and details. You're looking for easy-to-prepare recipes to take the pressure off.  You want to relax and sit in front of the TV with everyone else.  My foodie football fanatics, you've come to the right place.

IMG_1495No appetizer screams "game day" louder than chicken wings!

6a0120a8551282970b0133f3797b17970b-500wiPurists will tell you there is no substitution for deep-fried chicken wings.  Well, I used to think that too. And, If you want to stay wed to that train of thought, you can find my recipe for ~ JoePa's Chicken Wings (Perfectly Deep-Fried Wings) ~ in Categories 1, 2, or 17. They are marvelous.  You will, however, find yourself deep-frying them in batches of 6-8 wings for 13-14 minutes per batch.  When making a lot for a party, that's going to take 2 hours (plus clean-up). Interested in a hands-free alternative, that is no compromise?

Oven-fried wings really can be as good as deep-fried wings!

IMG_7834As I said, deep-fried wings are marvelous, but they're messy and time consuming to prepare. Also, a lot of people are just plain afraid of deep-frying and I can appreciate that.  The good news?  Chicken wings have enough of internal and external fat on them that pretty much all they need to cook to a crispy state of affairs (besides having the skin as dry as possible) is a very hot oven.  In fact, they have so much fat, anyone who even mentions they are healthier than deep-fried wings is certifiably crazy.  The bad news?  You can't call them Buffalo wings or Buffalo-style wings, because no self-respecting Buffalo-wing maker cooks them in the oven.  I respect that.

6a0120a8551282970b013486a5739d970c-320wiUsing a pair of poultry shears, cut:

6  pounds chicken wings

at their two joints, into 3 sections: the drumette, the flat wing, and the "skinny" wing tip.  Using paper towels, pat the pieces dry.  Some folks like to fry and eat the wing tips too, I do not.  Without frying the wing tips, this recipe will yield about 40 appetizers.

Note:  The flavorful wing tips can must be frozen and used to make chicken stock at a later date.

IMG_7789Separate the drumettes, from wings. In a large mixing bowl, stir together:

1  tablespoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

Add the drumettes and toss to coat, until none of the baking powder/salt mixture remains in the bowl. Arrange drumettes on a rack in a 12 1/2" x 17 1/2" baking baking pan that has been lined with aluminum foil and parchment paper.

IMG_7801 IMG_7795Repeat this process with the flat wings, placing them on a second rack in a baking pan that has been lined with aluminum foil and parchment paper.  Place pans of chicken wings, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours. Remove from refrigerator 30-60 minutes prior to baking as follows:

IMG_7824Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.  Oven-fry wings in preheated 475 degree oven, 25-30 minutes.  Flip the pans, placing the top pan on the bottom rack and the bottom pan on the top rack.  Bake an additional 20-25 minutes.  Remove from oven. Wings will look dryer than deep-fried wings, but if you tap on them with your fingertip, you will immediately feel how crispy they are.


Using a pair of tongs, transfer the wings to a large bowl and toss with about 1 1/2 cups of your favorite wing sauce.  ~ Melanie's Sweet 'n Spicy Wing 'n Thing Sauce ~ recipe (a simple 2-1 ratio of honey and Frank's RedHot Sauce) takes less than 1 minute to prepare.  You can find the recipe in Categories 1, 2, 8, 17 or 20.  Let them sit for about 5 minutes and toss again, to allow the sauce to soak in prior to serving.

IMG_7856Proper 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 casual culinary experience. Pick one up and proceed to nibble, gnaw and chew until all of the meat and sauce have been savored.  It is also completely acceptable to ignore the napkins and lick your lips and fingertips. This is one time the terms "lip smackin' " and "finger-lickiin' " applies in every context.

IMG_7871Seriously E-Z & Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken Wings:  Recipe yields about 40 appetizers/snacks.

Special Equipment List:  poultry shears; paper towels; large rubber spatula; 2, 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pans;  aluminum foil, parchment paper; 2, large cooling racks; tongs

IMG_1493Cook's Note:  Wings can be served sauced or unsauced, but, they're traditionally served with blue cheese dressing accompanied by celery and carrot sticks.  You can find my recipe for ~ Buttermilk, Blue Cheese 'n Chive Salad Dressing ~ in Categories 8 or 10!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2012)


Penny -- Yes, you can make them several hours ahead, with no compromise, and, the night before, with very little compromise. Do not refrigerate them and do not cover them -- just let them sit out at room temperature. Sauce them right before you go to the party, or, better yet, sauce them when you get there! ~ Mel.

Dear Mel,
If I make these to take to a party, will they
still be yummy or do they need to be eaten
while hot/warm? These look yummy !

Penny the Pest

Nate -- I love science-y-ness. Thank-you for the explanation and the Turkey Day tip too!

Slight point of science-y-ness: the baking powder lowers the PH of the skin, making it brown and crisp better. The same can (and should) be applied to your Thanksgiving turkey and caramelized onions. Just make sure you only use a very small pinch with your onions or they will turn to mush.

Grant -- thanks for the nice comment. My recipe actually uses baking powder, not, baking soda. I've experimented with baking soda, but, there was a residual aftertaste which I didn't care for.

The baking powder, in combination with the air-drying time in the refrigerator draws moisture to the surface of the skin (it soaks up the protein-laden juices). Upon roasting, the moisture evaporates very quickly causing the wings to get extra crispy!

Hey! I'm really impressed with your bar food recipes.

I've never seen baking soda called for in an oven wing recipe. What does it do?

Scotty! You made my day!!! The wing tips MUST be saved for chicken stock, and, these wings are NOT Buffalo wings!!! ~ Mel.

"The flavorful wing tips can be frozen and used to make chicken stock at a later date!" Cross out "can" and insert "must". PS Thank you for not calling them Buffalo Wings. :)

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