If you are ever inclined to make hot wings for a tailgate keep one iron rule in place and in mind. If your Publix just experienced massive freezer regulator failure, abandon the whole enterprise and just make spaghetti. I never got quite what a freezer regulator does or why it hit some aisles and not others. What I can tell you is that when asked, I was told by an admirably perfunctorily cheerful Publix employee, "We got a whole lot of food to destroy."
Apparently they arrived in the morning and half the systems were down. Aisle right -of-the-beer-and-wine-isle was completely shut down, as was most of just-to-the-left-of-where-Doritos-live-aisle. Most importantly, the whole section of frozen but pre-cut wings was tossed; a food desert amongst an oasis.
Pre cut frozen wings are a staple of college football gatherings. I can now tell you why. Cutting wings to order takes actual practice. Sheers and properly sharpened tools take a back seat to frustration and brute strength. I had to buy full wings. Nineteen of them. By piece number fifteen I was wrongly confident in my ability to properly separate mini-drumstick from two-bone wing part from useless pointy bit. I boldly blew it on number sixteen and by seventeen I just didn't care. Cutting wings into "wings" pieces is a pain in the ass. Spaghetti, or rigatoni now that I think about it, is such a better option.
If you don't want to simply heat a few glugs of olive oil and then add four or five minced cloves of garlic with half a minced yellow onion, equal parts minced celery and carrots until fragrant and soft before adding a pound and a half of ground beef and a bit of salt and cooking until browned before draining a bit of fat and adding two twenty eight ounce cans of whole tomatoes that you ripped up by hand along with the juice from the can and then two parts dried oregano to one part basil with a bit of red pepper flakes or so that you increase to taste as the sauce cooks and finishing with some salt before pouring over some al dente pasta, go ahead and torture yourself by cutting some chicken wings. Just don't tell people you did it on my say so.
If you can get past the cutting part, or happen to hit the store on one of the three hundred and sixty four days per year or more, let's allow for leaps, they have been around that there was not a freezer failure, I've got a few wing sauce recipes for you that won't drive you nuts separating bits of flightless cartilage.
All of these begin with cooked wings. You can grill, fry, or bake as you please. For the purposes of this post I baked them at 400˚ for 35 - 45 minutes.
Basic, Simple, Pure, and Perfect Buffalo Wings
- 3 oz. Unsalted Butter
- ¼ cup Tabasco or Alabama Sunshine hot sauce
- 1 tsp. minced Garlic
- Salt to taste
This is the basic and amazing sauce that launched a million variations. Melt the butter in a bowl and whisk everything together. Toss the wings and serve.
Tomatillo and other Green Stuff Sauce
- 5 Tomatillos
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 2 Jalapenos
- ¼ Yellow Onion
- 1 handful of Cilantro
- Olive Oil
Put everything in a food processor with a bit of olive oil and blend. Add olive oil as needed and then salt to taste. Toss the wings and sauce in a bowl and serve.
An Asian Sauce That I Made Up with the Ingredients I Had on Hand
- 1/3 cup Hoisin Sauce
- 1/3 cup Soy Sauce
- pinch Brown Sugar
- tsp. Five Spice
- tbsp. minced Garlic
Add everything to a sauce pot and simmer for four or five minutes. Toss the wings and sauce in a bowl and serve.
- 1/3 cup Srirachi Sauce
- 1/3 cup Honey
- 15 oz. Orange Marmalade
Simmer for 15 minutes and toss with wings in a bowl.
All were put forth for taste testing which sounds even better in a Scottish accent.
The junior tasters, ages five and eight, were practically useless. The eight year old flat refused to try any but "plain" wings and the five year old, less familiar with adult chicanery, cried righteously after naively tasting a proffered buffalo sauce wing. It's amazing what Sprite can fix.
As for the adults, opinions ran wild, but not really. I just said that for lazy self indulgent reasons. You try to start an interesting paragraph about adults agreeing on wing sauces. We all agreed that the basic perfect Buffalo etc. sauce is perfect. We all agreed that the tomatillo sauce was delicious but should probably be given a few minutes in the oven after coating to seal the sauce to chicken. We also almost all agree that the Hoisin sauce was particularly good and I would go on about it more but my five year old nephew tipped the bowl over and spilled it. Best wing I've ever had that needed to be rubbed in a pool of sauce on a table.
Then we come to figtide's wings. This was a recipe posted by figtide back on August 19 in the comments section of my introductory RBR:Tailgating piece. I've been curious about his recipe ever since and looking for an excuse to try it.
Tasters called it "special." They went on about the interplay between subtle heat and sweetness. They talked about it the next day. I'm not abdicating my unearned position as RBR gastronome, but I have to admit it... the figtide wings win. Awesome.
Given the week I should at least post a link to this. I also should mention that I'm Baton Rouge bound and Juban's chicken and duck gumbo is first and foremost on my mind. Second and penulitimate-most actually. I'm pretty worried about Yeldon being ready for game time.