With high-flyin’ flavor, wings are a finger-food fave. A given on game day, they also brighten up your backyard BBQ and make happy hours happier.
We can’t get enough of these versatile morsels. What’s not to love? You can grill, fry, bake or let your slow cooker do its thing, and the sauces and spices can get as wild as you want. Sweet, spicy or seriously outta control, wings make taste buds sing. Heads up—inspiration (and intensity) incoming!
METHODS TO THE MADNESS
First things first with a few words on cooking options.
- BROIL AWAY: A lower-fat option that’ll let you tend to other things while they’re in the oven. Apply rub or marinade to the wings, then broil on a foil-lined metal baking sheet for about 20 minutes, turning over halfway through. Sauce up and serve.
- GO SLOW: Pop in the slow cooker, toss with sauce, turn it on and leave. (Low for 3-4 hours; high for 1-2.) Come back and enjoy.
- FRY BABY: Two easy ways to get the crispiest coating possible. 1) Dip wings in an egg or buttermilk mixture, then dredge in seasoned flour or breading. Heat oil in a deep fryer or heavy skillet and grab your spatter screen. Give ’em 10 and retrieve. 2) Do the naked double-fry. Go 10, cool and refry for 5. Either way, drain on paper towels and devour.
- FIRE UP: Fill up your grill grate with a single layer of wings. Cook over direct medium heat for 15-20 minutes, flipping every few minutes. Move ’em off, plate ’em up, eat and repeat.
TOP 10 TO TRY
From savory to sweet to high-level heat, here’s a list with something for everyone.
1. FIN-GARLIC-IN’ GOOD: For full-on flavor without the intense heat, go for garlic. Mince up a couple of cloves and brighten up your marinades and sauces. Pairs particularly well with Parmesan cheese and a blend of Italian herbs (basil, oregano and rosemary) or with lemon and pepper (use both black and cayenne for more kick).
2. PLAY IT AGAIN, SAMMIE: PB&J ventures out of the lunch box and onto your wings with sweet-sticky style. Sounds a bit odd, but wait ’til you see all the versions online. Tastes a little like satay, a little like the ubiquitous potluck meatball appetizer sauce—and a lot delicious.
3. MOVE ASIDE, MARY ANN: Ginger’s got this. Grate up a fresh knob and stir in some soy sauce, sake and melted butter. Baste and bask in the beautiful glow.
4. BIG SHOT: Marinate in a mixture of equal parts tequila and freshly squeezed lime juice with half as much agave nectar and olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and down ’em.
6. SWEET ’N’ SOUR: The classic Chinese flavor fusion. Combine brown sugar with a tangy blend of rice vinegar, soy sauce and ketchup. At first glance, it might seem like a strange group, but they each bring something special to the party. TIP: Add a splash of pineapple juice for more depth.
7. SWEET ’N’ SPICY: Draws you in with a great first impression; keeps you coming back for more with an irresistible aftertaste. This recipe for Honey-Chipotle Chicken Wings makes good use of your time, too, via a slow cooker.
8. BLAZIN’ BUFFALO: Take the classic concoction (hot sauce, vinegar and butter) and kick it up a notch by adding minced jalapeños or habaneros.
9. JERK’S LIKE A CHARM: Whether a dry rub or wet marinade, this addictive Jamaican seasoning blend relies on a blend of allspice, thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic and peppers for its legendary liveliness. Making your own? Go with cayenne and black pepper for decent heat; pick Scotch bonnet for eye-watering excitement.
10. HOT AS HADES: There’s only one way to get here, and it does involve a dance with the dead. The Ghost Pepper, or bhut jolokia, is a variety so incendiary it has caused people to hallucinate. Allegedly. And it may or may not be used in grenades and to ward off angry elephants. You can buy a sauce online or make your own with the flakes or powder. Sound like your kinda thing? Whip up those killer wings and let us know how it goes.
With entire restaurants and websites dedicated to this delicacy, one thing’s certain: You can never have too much of a good wing!