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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wing a Ding Ding

Who's there?

Chicken Wing

Chicken Wing who?

Chicken wings bought super cheap 'cause our little grocery store is renovating, that's who

Now what to do.

I am a huge fan of a local wing place.  They have a gazillion different flavours.  They have the usual - BBQ, honey garlic, super hot, you know the ones.  Then they have the exotic and intriguing.  Flavours like dill pickle and my personal favourite - garlic parmesan.

I looked up a few recipes on the good ol' internet and even tried one.  The first one had way too much butter and not enough substance.  It also didn't call for cooking the sauce at all, so the garlic and spices didn't really meld together. Instead, there was a big buttery puddle at the bottom of the wing dish.  Not that Goose and I didn't thoroughly enjoy them, they just weren't what I was looking for.

So, I tinkered with the second batch of wings.

Go ahead and buy the full (unsplit) wings.  With minimal elbow grease at home, you can get way more wing bang for your buck.  Don't worry if you can't find them - even pre-split wings save you a bundle over ones ordered at a restaurant.  This wing needs to be broken into three parts. First, cut off the tip or third bit of the wing.  It is frequently still full of pin feathers and is nothing but skin and bone.

Next, split the remaining two thirds in half, by placing your sharp knife blade between the knuckle.  It should 'give' and cut very easily.  If you aren't sure where it is, slice through the skin and hyper extend the joint.  This will expose the place you need to put your knife.

At the bottom of this picture, you can see the wing tips that have been removed.  Laying the remaining wing with the drumette on the board is one of the easiest ways to get to the joint you need.

You will very quickly end up with a tray full of wings.

You have basically three cooking options.  If you are cooking the wings in a lot of sauce, you can put them in a crockpot.  This is how I grew up experiencing chicken wings.  The meat literally falls off the bone; so much so, in fact, you often have to fish the meat out of the bottom of the crock pot.  The other two, more popular methods, are baking and deep frying.  If you are deep frying, cook the drumettes and wings separately.  The drumettes are a little thicker and need just a minute or two longer to cook.  If you are baking them, make sure you have a well-lubricated, foil lined pan.  As with any chicken, season before cooking.  Flipping three quarters of the way through baking will give a crispy finish all over.

To make the sauce, I started with about 1/4 cup of butter in a sauce pan.  This is where the first recipe I tried really seemed to fall down.  It only called for microwaving the butter.  This didn't let anything get hot enough for the garlic and cheese to really melt into the butter.  In the end, the seasonings all fell to the bottom of the bowl.

I usually only keep granulated and fresh garlic in the house.  When I need something finer, I utilize my handy dandy mortar and pestle. About a tablespoon this time.

Same thing goes with dried onions.  These can be pulverized into onion powder in a flash.

See?  Presto, onion powder.  I used about a tablespoon.

Everybody in the pool!  Along with some black pepper. Here's the part where I fell down.  I ran out of gumption to grate up some Parmesan, so I used some of the processed Parmesan and then some Romano.  This was a mistake.  Learn from me - don't do this at home.  Maybe half a cup of this stuff was used.  Next time, real cheese and less of it.

Once everything had melted together nicely, I added a little of this for consistency.  Don't adjust your monitor.  I usually store my condiment bottles upside down.  Saves time at the dinner table.  Probably threw in about a quarter cup.

It all came together and looked like this. It was a little too thick, really, but I blame that on the weirdo cheese product.  Like I said, learn from my mistakes.

The ultra thick consistency did make the sauce cling pretty tightly to the wings, which was a drastic improvement over the last wing recipe.  And they tasted divine.

They weren't super fancy, but they were super tasty.  As a side note, please, for the love of all that's holy, don't re-heat your chicken on the microwave.  That is not what the little miracle worker was put on this earth to do.  The meat will be tough and groady.  Take the time to heat them through again using the oven or toaster oven.  You will be glad you did.
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