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Sunday, February 18, 2007

RECIPE Tip of the Day 2/18/07: Baked Buffalo Wings

Buffalo wings are my favorite finger food, and are usually what I will order on a first visit to a new pub. I am very picky: the wing sections, both the wingette and drummette, have to be fat, otherwise I feel jipped; the skin has to be nice and crispy, with little or no breading (often restaurants overbread or the skin is soggy); the hot sauce cannot be wimpy or too hot, nor should the wings be drowning in sauce or have little at all. It's hard to find restaurants or pubs that meet all my criteria, plus are a good value piece for piece. When I find that diamond in the rough, it usually will become my new favorite restaurant.

That being said, I also like to make my own buffalo wings. I prefer baking over deep-frying, because it's easy to just throw the wings in the oven than hover over them in a fryer and baking creates less mess.

LushMommy's Baked Buffalo Wings

Serves one very hungry person or 2 as an appetizer.

12 individually quick-frozen chicken wing segments* (see Shopping Tips below)
1 tbsp butter or vegetable oil (if I have it on hand, I use macadamia nut oil)
3 tbsp, more or less to taste, cayenne pepper sauce (I believe Frank's Red Hot Original to be the best balance of heat and acidity)

  1. Preheat oven to 425˚F.
  2. Arrange wings on a nonstick baking sheet or one lined with greased aluminum foil (I like to use ungreased Reynolds Wrap Release Nonstick Foil for easy clean-up; it's heavy-duty weight too.) Place in oven. Bake for about 45 min to 1 hour, turning once, until skin is crispy and translucent.
  3. Towards the end of the baking time, melt butter (if using) in a medium microwave-proof bowl (or just put oil, doing no heating). Whisk in the pepper sauce.
  4. Once wings are ready, with tongs, place all in the bowl with the sauce mixture. Toss to evenly coat, then enjoy!
Variation: Teriyaki Wings: replace 2 tbsp teriyaki sauce (more or less to taste) for the pepper sauce.

*Shopping Tips for Chicken Wings: Most of the time I will say fresh is better and food additives are bad, but in the case for chicken wings for this recipe, opt for individually quick frozen wings, water-added. They are convenient to have on hand and taste better than fresh because they add salt and sodium nitrite/nitrate, the latter being a very unhealthy additive, but if you only eat it once in a while, it shouldn't kill you.

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