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Wings. I grew up in Western New York and wings are pretty much a part of my DNA. I like to cook them, I like hunting for the best available where ever I might be, and most of all, I like to eat them. And what better way to enjoy the Super Bowl than a chicken wing party?
The best part is you can give your guests a bunch of different flavors without cooking all day. In this post we’ll give you some great time-saving wing cooking tips that’ll have your guests calling you The Wing Master.
Part 1: Cooking the Wings
There are basically 4 methods I use for making wings. Each have their pros and cons:
The traditional way of making a buffalo wing is to coat the wings in flour or cornstarch (or both) and deep fry them. This produces wings that are crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. The coating gives you a foundation to soak up whatever sauce you’re using.
The downside to this method is the mess, and you’ll have to fry in batches of about 12-15 wings at a time. Not ideal if you’re having a party.
This has become my favorite method. You still want a coating and I use a cornstarch, baking powder, salt and Spice Melange, our Southwest Seasoning.
Grill the wings over an indirect fire until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside. Turn them periodically and expect them to take between 30 and 45 minutes to finish.
The best part of these wings is the introduction of flavor the grill adds and the ability to cook a large amount of wings all at once. The only down side is they don’t get quite as crispy deep frying them.
Baked in the Oven
Like grilling, this method allows you to cook a large amount of wings and leaves you with a relatively easy cleanup. You won’t have as crispy wings as the deep fryer, but with a little finesse you can get great results.
I use the same coating as for the grill; cornstarch, baking powder, salt and Spice Melange. Bake the wings on a wire rack inserted into a sheet pan at 425 degrees for around 30 minutes. Flip the wings periodically.
We recently tried this method and I’m impressed with the results. They’re a little crispier than the oven or grilled method, but not quite as good as the deep fried method.
You can only do small batches with this, but it is the quickest method for making wings. If you are just cooking wings for one or two people, this is a great way to go. The mess is minimal and the results are great. I use the same coating as I do for the oven and grilling method. Here’s our recipe for air fried Indian wings that shows you the method.
Part 2: Don’t Forget the Vegetarians
If you’re having a party, you want to give all of your guests the full experience. If you have a vegan or vegetarian guest, these methods will produce amazing wings that even your carnivore guests will enjoy.
Crispy Tofu Wings
Check out our tofu nugget recipe and simply sauce them with wing sauce. Basically we use Finger Lickin’ Chicken and a few easy steps to give tofu a chicken-like flavor and texture.
Crispy Seitan Wings
Our seitan wing recipe makes for a hearty vegetarian meat substitute. There are many recipes out there, but in this case we prefer a variation of seitan called chic wheat. This recipe uses an instapot and chickpeas to create a very chicken-like texture and flavor, Once made, they can be grilled or deep fried.
Part 3: Wing Sauce (Where the Party is At)
Here is where this get’s fun. Why have 1 type of wings, when you can have 6?
Buffalo wings in their most traditional and basic form are made with a simple sauce that combines butter and hot sauce. The traditional hot sauce used is Frank’s Red Hot, which has a little heat and nice vinegar tang. We will use this as out base for the majority of sauces we’re going to make. It’s really simple to take that base and add a spice to create an entirely new and delicious sauce.
Here are some great versions to get you started. We encourage you to experiment and make your own. Let us know in the comments what you create!
- Base Buffalo Sauce: To make the base sauce melt 1 stick of butter and with 1/2 cup of hot sauce. You can use Frank’s or my personal favorite for this is Louisiana hot sauce.
- BuffyLO Wings: “In every generation, there is a chosen one”. This will be the “chosen one” at your party. So simple and being based on our perennial favorite spice, Buffy’s Slayer Helper, this one is everything you want. A little spicy yet not too hot, garlicky, buttery and tangy. It’s like garlic bread and chicken wings meat to form some sort of delicious super food.
- Tikka Wings: Take my favorite Indian dish, Tikka Masala, combined with Buffalo wings and you end up with a fusion that was always meant to be. When I make this version of wings, I’m always happy to see the most picky eaters give it a try and realize how much they may have been missing. Although it has some more exotic flavors its warmth and sweetness keep you coming back for just 1 more wing, which usually then turns into 6, 9 and 12 pretty quickly.
- Vindaloo Wings: A spicier version of the the Tikka wing that substitutes our Vindaloo Blend for the Tikka, and gives you a much hotter sauce that still has the Indian/Buffalo fusion going on.
- Harissa BBQ Wings: Here we deviate from our base sauce and opt for a sweet BBQ sauce mixed with our Harissa Seasoning. In the summer of 2021 I made grilled chicken thighs with Harissa BBQ weekly. I just can’t get enough of this smoky, sweet, spicy sauce, and its just as good on wings. This sauce is super simple – mix 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce with 4 Tablespoons of Harissa Spice and 1 teaspoon of vinegar or lime juice.
- Chili Crisp Asian Style Wings: The new kid on the Pinch block, Chili Crisp is a dry chili mix that we created so you can make a hot chili oil at home. It is the perfect spice mix to make a chicken wing sauce it shines here. For some extra (EXTRA!) kick of heat, you can make it the XXXX version with our limited edition Falls City Reaper spice.
Part 4: Bringing it All Together for Party Time
When we’re making a lot of wings, the way we set it up is to cook them via the oven or grill method. We make one big batch of wings, and then sauce them in different sauces and put them out with the spice we used for the sauce so people know what is what.
If frying them, we do them in batches and keep putting more wings out with the same serving format. Set them out on a counter or table and let your guests choose their favorite wing. Just be sensitive that most vegetarians will not want to eat vegetarian wings if they’re fried in oil that also cooked chicken wings. For that reason, we fry those first or use a separate pot.
We recommend serving them with carrot sticks, celery, and our homemade ranch dressing.
Happy Wing’in ya’ll!