Monday, 19 September 2011

Crispy Baked Wings?

As you know, I love wings. I like lots of different styles and sauces. I respect different methods of preparation  for wings from smoking to stir fry, to deep frying and grilling. But one method I regularly scorned was baking wings. I hated baked wings because they were never crispy. Crispy wings are very important. When people wrote Buffalo wing recipes and listed baking them, I would lose my @#$. Partly because a Buffalo wing has very specific criteria, but mainly because baking doesn't make for crispy skin. 

Or so I thought.

But I've come to realize that under the right conditions, you can have a very-close-to-deep-fried crispy baked wing.

First thing - get some fresh wings. Do not get frozen. Go to your butcher, go to your poultry dealer, go to where ever you can and get fresh, not frozen wings.

Next step, toss them in some flour. Maybe some flour and spices. Maybe even corn starch. Some say baking powder. Do it.

Then take those wings (knocking off excess powder) and put them on parchment paper. Parchment paper is key here. In the past I used tin foil and the chicken sticks and never cooked right. Parchment paper is magic, magic I say. And I know there are some out there who are like, what about wax paper? No. Parchment. Wax and parchment are not the same. Parchment will not burn in the oven, the chicken will not stick to it, and it will help in the crisping process.

Then put it in the fridge. At least 30 minutes. I do it for an hour. Or more. Then when your ready, pre-heat the oven for 450 or higher. Hot.

See those wings in the oven? Baking (middle shelf). High heat, fresh, dusted, parchment. This is the way.

Here is the wings after being flipped after say 15-20 minutes. Ya, baking takes a long time. But you can see how the skin is browning. The photo makes the wings a little pink, but they didn't look that pink. Weird. Keep baking for another 15-20 minutes or until they are crispy.

Here's a finished drummette. I took a bite. You can see the layers of crispy skin. Yes, that chicken is baked.

While the wings were baking I made up some Buffalo-style sauce. For some reason I put it in the bowl first. It's sitting on the burner that gets hot when the oven is on (but the burner is off). I don't like my sauce cold, but the Frank's sits in the fridge. Heat it up.

Then toss it up. Mix mix mix. Flip flip flip. Sauce sauce sauce. Until completely coated.

And there, baked Hot wings. Can you tell that they weren't deep fried? No, no you can't.

Look - each one of those wings looks nearly perfect. And they were crispy, and tasty and pretty darn good. I still prefer deep fried, but this is as close as you are going to get.

So remember:

  • Fresh chicken
  • Dust in flour/corn starch/baking soda (one or all)
  • Place on parchment paper
  • Air chill in fridge for minimum 30 minutes.
  • Cook in oven at 450 degrees. Flip once after 15-20 minutes. Cook for another 15-20 minutes. Or until skin is crisp.
  • Toss in sauce, enjoy.


Teena in Toronto said...

They look delish!

Lord of the Wings said...

@Teena - they turned out pretty well.

Chris said...

Those same techniques work for cooking wings on indirect heat on a grill.

Our oven has the same "warmer burner" when the oven is on, it comes in handy.

Lord of the Wings said...

@Chris - Isn't cooking wings glorious!?

Anonymous said...

Awesome tips I followed your advice to the tee and my wings look just like I deep fried them ......THANKS #superbowlparty

Lord of the Wings said...

@Anonymous - glad to hear it worked! Wing Long & Prosper

Anonymous said...

it is the way!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I made these last night and they rocked. Thanks!

Lord of the Wings said...

@Anonymous - glad they turned out well!

Anonymous said...

I made these last night for supper and they where absolutely of the best wings ever without all the grease....Thanks!
(I used 1/2 flour/1/2 baking powder/garlic salt/season salt/salt and pepper) How easy is that!

ronna said...

Have to weigh in here...we are a gluten free family & wings can often be hard to come by commercially (because of the fryer oil also being used for flour-coated products). So, I was eager to give this technique a whirl. It worked GREAT! Additional comments: this works for any chicken pieces/sizes -- so long has they have skin ON. Also, I thoroughly dry my chicken pieces first. I toss them in a combo of cornstarch (which draws out excess moisture) + spices (paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder). YES to the parchment paper -- it is a baker's best friend -- so useful! Bigger pieces of chicken may benefit from slightly higher temps, but I find that 450 works fine, too (obviously, will take a bit longer though). Thanks for a great recipe & all the helpful info with pictures!!

Anonymous said...

first time trying this

Anonymous said...

We just made these last night. I will never make wings any other way. No one could tell they weren't fried. Easy to do too.

eric said...

Great post - I have been cooking wings this way for years. One thing I do slightly different, is that I bake at lower temp 350 or 375 for longer period of time....until super crisp - about an hour or so total. Once out of the oven, I let hen rest about 5 to 7 minutes for even crispier wings. I found that lower temp longer time makes them fall off the bone when you eat them. That way I can eat with one hand and drink beer with another. ��