How to Bake Chicken Wings That Taste So Good They'll Make You Want to Slap Your Grandma
Best Darn Chicken Wing Recipe on the Planet Right Here, Right Now
Chicken wings have become so popular that there are umpteen restaurant chains and a zillion more homegrown joints pushing their wings as being "the best." I am here to tell you that they are all wrong! The best recipe for chicken wings is my very own.
Now, I am not bragging—just stating facts. Crispy skin, melt-in-your mouth flavor, fall-off-the-bone, finger-licking fowl is what you are guaranteed to experience when you follow the directions I offer here.
Not only is this recipe the base for all good chicken wings, it is also simple to make. These will be ready in an hour and will not make a big ol' mess for you to clean. Just wad up the tin foil, rinse off the cookie sheet, and presto! Dinner downed and there you go to couch potato city! As a matter of fact, by the time I finish writing this article, I plan on stuffing my face with these wings.
Now then, let's get to cooking.
Wash your hands real good. Some say that this is more important than washing the chicken. I think it will not hurt to do both. Cleanliness in the kitchen is a very important safety measure, so take care as you cook.
- A package of fresh chicken wings (about 12 to 14)
- Olive oil
- (Optional) garlic powder
- A large mixing bowl
- A large cookie sheet
- Heavy duty tin foil
- Wash the chicken and prepare the pan.
- Position the oven rack on the inside so that your cookie sheet full of wings will be in the center and at the mid-range height. This will ensure heat to flow around the wings evenly as they are baking. Now you are ready to preheat the oven. Set it to 375 F.
- Remove the chicken wings from their packaging and wash it off under cold running water. Make sure to get all of the feathers left behind from the processing plant because there is something that is quite unappetizing about feathers sticking out from the bird you are about to take a bite of. Just wash it real good.
- Set the washed chicken aside to drain while you are covering that cookie sheet with a large piece of heavy duty tin foil. The heavy duty foil works the best. It will ensure a very quick clean up when you are stuffed and ready to be horizontal. (I happened to run out of foil for my article here but, I will make do with what I have.) The idea is to cover the cookie sheet so that there will not be any juices running under the foil. If that happens the clean up will take a little longer. The end result is worth a little mess so don't be shy. You could skip the tin foil but then you will be scrubbing the cookie sheet for sure.
Next, season the chicken wings. Note: The basic seasoning is salt and pepper. I like garlic and so I am adding that to this batch of bird. I also like to use fresh rosemary from my garden in the summer months. I will use fresh sage from time to time. I have also tried cayenne pepper, lemon pepper, chili powder, Tabasco and many other herbs and spices. That is one of the best things about this chicken wing recipe. You can doctor them up to suit your taste buds. Today it is garlic. I am pushing to ward off all of the evil germs that seem to be lurking about. Garlic has a way of taking care of these unseen demons, so garlic it is.
- The main thing about seasoning is to be generous — don't be stingy! Add a good dose of salt and pepper and your garlic or whatever spices you decide you are in the mood for, on all of the chicken wings. You want flavor and that means a good healthy dusting for all. Some of the seasoning will run off during the baking process so make sure to cover all the chicken wings real good. Some folks like mild and some like it wild. Season the wings to please yourself.
- Cup one hand and fill it with olive oil then drizzle the oil across the chicken wings so that it is distributed evenly. Pick up a wing and rub the oil and seasoning around the meat to coat the wing with a somewhat even amount of oil.
- Repeat, so that all the chicken wings in the bowl are well coated. This will only take a few minutes. You will be able to feel the seasoning and oil mixture and the idea is to try to coat it all about the same.
When you have the chicken wings all coated good, you can lay each one out on the cookie sheet. Try to position them so that there is as much space as possible between the pieces. It is okay if they are touching each other but it's best not to pile them up. You want to ensure that the baking process is even for each chicken wing. A single layer of wings is necessary for that to take place.
- When you have finished laying all the wings out you can visually inspect them for even coating and seasoning. If there are pieces with less seasoning, you can rub them across the bottom of the empty mixing bowl. There should be enough oil and seasoning to take care of any pieces that might need that little extra touch. Your oven should be hot and ready for the bird fingers.
- Pop them onto the middle of the oven rack. Bake the chicken wings for about 50 to 60 minutes or until they are golden brown. Note: The key to great chicken wings is a crispy skin but, you do not want to overcook them because the wings will dry out. The time will vary by individual oven temperature so this has to be taken into consideration. Another thing that will affect cooking time is the temperature of the meat. Cold wings will take longer than room temperature ones, so keep that in mind. I always set a timer for the first 45 minutes and then watch the chicken wings closely for the remainder of baking time.
Variations and Extra Ingredients
Chicken wings are a staple in our home because we just love them. The basics are in preparing the chicken as I have explained above. Now that I have explained the basics I would like to suggest a few other alternatives you can adapt to my method.
1. Different Herbs
I have already suggested a variety of herbs. One of our favorite combos is to use rosemary and garlic, salt and pepper. I sometimes add a pan full of quartered potatoes below the sheet of wings. For this, I just use two separate cookie sheets and season the potatoes exactly the same as the chicken wings. I coat them with olive oil as well. The potatoes can also be seasoned any way you like as long as you add that light coat of olive oil to the spuds. Lay them out on the second cookie sheet in a single layer and cook it all at the same time. Add a salad to the table and your meal is complete.
2. Grilled Chicken Wings
When the weather is too hot to crank up the oven, I turn to the grill to bake up my bird. This requires using an indirect heat grilling method. John D. Lee has outlined a great How To article where he describes the pros of grilling indirectly. The idea is flavor and you will be amazed at the results of adapting indirect grilling to firing up some of the best chicken wings on the planet.
The chicken wings can be prepared the same as for the above chicken wing recipe. Instead of using a cookie sheet, place the wings directly on the grill. Do not place them over the fire. Use the indirect cooking method. Grill the chicken wings with the lid covering the grill at all times. This chicken wing recipe will take about 45 mins. to one hour. Look for a golden skin color and crispy skin.
3. Flavor Them to Your Liking
You can make them plain, meaning just salt and pepper or go for the gold and baste them with your favorite barbecue sauce during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Again, the key is to make sure the skin is golden brown before adding your sauce.
I have somewhat of a reputation for my awesome chicken wings with family and friends. Please give this chicken wing recipe a try to leave me your thoughts and suggestions below. I look forward to hearing from everyone.
Happy chicken wings to all! C.S. Alexis