Football season is here once again! I’m still sort of on the fence with professional football, but I’m starting to come around. I do, however, really enjoy college football. I especially enjoy watching my alma mater, but that’s neither here nor there. I think the thing that really got me into football was tailgating. It used to be that I would only go tailgating, and never watch the games, but those days are gone. Even though I enjoy the games, it’s still the food, beer, and energy that I crave. What is better than watching your favorite team with a couple cold beers and a big plate of Buffalo wings? Nachos maybe, and a few more beers! That’s the problem with tailgating food though. It’s usually fried, unhealthy, and easy to eat a lot of when you have a few drinks.
This is where we come in. Chicken wings are one of my favorite foods. The only thing I like more than chicken wings is a sandwich. I’ve been experimenting with a good way to make wings at home for a while now. I’ve tried cooking them in the oven, steaming them then broiling them, and cooking them in a pan. Some of these worked pretty well, but I was really struggling with a way to make wings that was as good as deep frying. I think I finally stumbled upon something that is really quite delicious. The wings won’t be as crispy as deep fried wings, but they will come close. In addition, they will have a different flavor that fried wings can’t match. Also, make sure you check out our baked shrimp wontons, here.
I took a key from our beer-can chicken recipe. First, I brine the wings, and then I grill them. After that, they can have a quick dunk in some buffalo sauce and they are ready to eat. So, let’s go over the basics.
The Brine: These wings are going to get a good bit of flavor from the brine. You can adjust the spices to your liking, but keep an eye on the sodium level. You don’t want your wings to be too salty. Here’s what I used.
4 Pints of water
2/3 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon Salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons cayenne sauce (We like Franks)
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1.) Bring one pint of the water and all the other ingredients to a boil. Once at a boil, reduce to a simmer and let it come together for about 5 minutes. This is different than our other brine. This one has spices in it, and they like to wake up a little.
2.) Add the hot mixture to a large pot. After that, add the remaining water. I usually add three pints of ICE water, so the brine cools down quickly. Never add meat to hot brine. You will poach it. Poaching does not a good wing make. Once the brine mixture is cool, we can move on to the wings.
The rest of the ingredients:
Wings (We used two packs, which was about four pounds) Sectioned
¼ cup Franks Red Hot Sauce
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3.) Add the wings to the cool brine. You can do this the morning of, or the night before. You want them to sit in the brine for two to six hours.
4.) Remove the wings from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Once dry, place them in a post with just a touch of vegetable oil. The oil will make sure the wings don’t stick to the grill, and they will help the outside crisp up a bit. Toss the wings so the oil coats them lightly.
5.) Get your grill going. Somewhere between medium and medium-high heat is a good place to start. Once the grill is a up to temperature, give it a spray of non-stick spray and add the wings. You’re going to have to keep a close eye on these critters. You can get flare ups in an instant. You need to strike a balance between keeping the lid closed so they cook, and turning the wings so they don’t burn. For us, the entire grilling process took about 15 minutes.
6.) Whilst your wings are getting crispy and smoky on the grill, turn your attention to the sauce. Combine the melted butter and hot sauce in a large Tupperware container with a lid. Mix well to combine. I used a whisk. I don’t know if you needed to know that, but part of me hopes that you want to know what I use to mix things with. Maybe someday I will devote an entire post to my mixing devices.
7.) Remove your wings from the grill when they are done cooking. After that, all that is left is saucing them. Add the wings to the container with the sauce. You may have to do this in a few batches. Lid up the container and toss the wings until they are coated with the spicy concoction.
All that’s left is enjoying the wings. You can try different sauces, but I’m a fan of the classic buffalo. Serve these up at your next tailgating event and everyone will be pleased. Well, maybe not everyone. There’s a chance the vegetarians may not like these. I will say that if I was a vegetarian, I would probably still eat hot wings. So, if you invite vegetarian friends over, you can either make them tasty veggie treats, or let them know that the hot wings contain meat. The power is yours!