Monday, October 8, 2007

Hot wings and curly fries

I lived in Tallahassee, FL for many years and one of my favorite places to eat was a place called "Buffalo Wings and Rings". They had the best hot wings, curly fries and a fun atmosphere to eat them in.

I now live in North GA, and even if I lived in FL, I couldn't afford to eat out. But there's a way I can still have the hot wings. Make them myself. What a novel idea. How the heck do they make them anyway?

Well, I don't know how they make them, but here's how I make them.

First, I don't buy just the wings. They went from being about .29 cents a pound to $1.70 a pound. As the craze for hot wings hit, the prices went sky high. Too much to pay for bones and a little meat. Not when a whole chicken is on sale for .79 a pound!

So I do one of two things. I either save up my wings or I use other chicken parts for "wings". It's the heat that's fun. But crispy skin is tasty too. hummmm, nutrition or taste. Your choice.

I've gotten to where when I buy a chicken, I cut it into parts and freeze the parts, not a whole bird. I can make boneless, skinless chicken parts and use the bones and skin for stock. I cut my wing tips and save for the soup pot, to go with backs, skin and bones. You can either cut the wings apart at the joint or leave them whole. I left this last batch whole. Worked just fine. I've also cut breast strips into 1" x how ever long the breast is and used those for "wings". I seal my bags well and then freeze. I thaw before using the meat.

You have two choices for cooking the meat. You can deep fry it or bake it. I bake it. It's less fuss and grease. If you fry them, you would add the sauce after they are fried.

To make chicken wings:
First, preheat oven to 425 degrees.
I prepare my baking pan by spraying it with no-stick spray. I also use a stainless steel cooling rack for a rack to bake the meat on. I also spray the rack with no-stick.

While the oven preheats, you prepare the sauce.
The sauce is comprised of two items - hot sauce and butter. The more hot sauce, the hotter the finished product. The more butter, the milder the sauce. I used about 1/2 stick of butter to about 1 1/2 cups sauce. You may want to start out with 1/2 cup hot sauce. Personally, I like "Louisiana Hot Sauce" best. Use whatever brand is available to you. (Anyone have a recipe for making homemade "hot sauce"? It is not the same thing as adding vinegar to hot peppers which is what Southerners use on greens. This hot sauce I use is red, it's not "Tabasco sauce" it has less heat than that and it's not a Tabasco pepper that is used, but is still pretty hot. I also know it's not a JalapeƱo - it would be green if it was.)

Melt the butter and a bit of sauce in the microwave or on the stove top. Carefully taste the sauce and see if it's hot enough (spicy vs temperature) for you. If not, add more hot sauce or more butter. (You may need to reheat it if you add much sauce - the butter tends to cool and clump if too much cold sauce is added to it.) When it's hot enough for your taste buds, your ready to put it on the chicken.

Personally, I just dunk the chicken pieces in the sauce, coat them well and then using two fingers, pick them up and plunk them on the rack. Or you can use tongs to maneuver the chicken pieces or put the chicken on the rack, then use a brush and brush the sauce on.
If you use your fingers MAKE SURE YOU DON'T TOUCH YOUR EYES until you've washed your hands - WELL!! It will burn your skin if you touch your face or tender skin areas!

Place chicken in oven and let bake for about 20 mins and then check the pieces. You're looking for crispy skin and cooked meat. If you used skinless meat, then just make sure the meat is cooked properly. I had very large wings that I was working with and it took about 35 mins to get them baked. I really should have let them go another 5 or 10 mins to crisp the skin, but I was very hungry and since the meat was done, when ahead and ate them. I just didn't have as crispy skin as I would have had I waited a while longer.

I serve these with celery sticks, carrot sticks, Ranch or Bleu cheese dressing and a bowl of hot sauce. At "Buffalo's" this extra sauce was known as extra hot, extra wet and they poured it directly on the finished wings. Sometimes I find curly fries at the store and will buy those. I'm trying to figure out if I can use my apple peeler/corer to make curly fries. I haven't tried it yet.

Please note, I'm a Southerner. I have an asbestos tongue. The comment on the Louisiana hot sauce bottle is: "Just one drop will do you." NOT! It might do a Yankee, but not me or most of my friends. We eat the stuff straight up. So unless you're a Southerner, Hispanic or other group that eats hot foods, go light with the hot sauce until you've found the heat level that you like. That's why I suggested tasting the sauce before you use it.

No comments: