The Doug Wagner Show

The Doug Wagner Show

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It's Wing Time!

I'm always in search of the best chicken wing. While I appreciate BW3, which stands for Buffalo Wild Wings and Weck, they are the McDonald's of wings. They are standardized, which is not bad. If you're in unfamiliar territory and you need a wing you know is not going to leave you wanting, BW3 is it.

In the Cedar Rapids metro, my go to is at The Blind Pig. They can fry them easy or crispy by choice, and they are alwals good sized wings. As a measure, when I was in India, the drumstick on the average Tandoori Chicken was the size of a drummy wing. Blind Pig's are always bigger. Next, is a recent find for me, Lucky Penny in Hiawatha. And here's where my wings recipe comes in.

First off, never buys pre-cut wings, and always buy whole wings. I glove up, using a nitrile glove on my right hand, where the knife goes, and using a chain mail glove on my left hand...just in case. And it has paid off more than once.

Next, let's separate the wing parts. If you're feeding a good sized bunch, you need eight pounds of uncut wings. Stretch the wings out and cut the wing tip off, saving it to make a savory homemade chicken broth! Stretch the joint of the remaining drumette and the wingette to between 30 and 60 degrees, hold the wing down on the cutting board in your left hand, and use the knife to find the point of least resistance and use the middle of the blade to cut forward through the joint cleanly. The point of this is to avoid any bone slivers.

Now, you'll have three piles: wing tips, drumettes and wingettes. Take the pile of wing tips and put them into a freezer bag and into the freezer until you're ready to make homemade chicken stock. Combine the remainder into a large freezer bag or bowl and refridgerate temporarily.

I have a special bucket I bought from GrillWorks, The Briner, which makes this easy. It has a special insert that holds the meat down under the brine. You can also use a new sanitized five gallon bucket, but make sure you sanitize it!

Using said bucket, make a quick brine for the remainder, using 1 gallon of warm water, 3/4 cup kosher salt, 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, 3/4 cup soy sauce and 1/4 cup olive oil. Let it cool to room temperature, then introduce the wings and either refridgerate or place ice on top and make sure to replenish the ice regularly to keep the temperature at 40 degrees. Brine for 8 to 24 hours, then rinse and thoroughly dry the wings. Completely. I mean totally. Use a kitchen towel, then make sure to bleach it. Set aside and prep your oil.

Peanut oil has the highest smoke point of the conventional oils, so I prefer that, but since you're only frying at 350 degrees, canola oil will do. Make sure your fryer will hold a 350 degree temp, so keep a thermometer handy if you're not using an electric deep fryer. I prefer a cast iron dutch oven, because it'll hold the heat for longer. Manipulate your temp in order to make sure the temp stays between 350-375. No higher, and definitely no lower. If you let it go lower, you'll let the oil seep into the chicken and get greasy wings. No good.

Cook in batches of a dozen, and fry for 10-12 minutes, another minute or two if you want them crispy. Use a spider to remove them to a cooling rack, and let the oil, what little there should be, drip onto the paper towels in a pan underneath. I have a really good sauce that I make using Frank's Hot Sauce, mayo, butter and...Mexican chocolate. Yes, sort of a mole touch.

This isn't difficult. ANd, as a matter of fact, you'll have fun as the life of the party. Just keep a timer handy, ok?

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