I'm a wing freak. One of my biggest dreams is to take a drive to Buffalo so I can sample wings from the birthplace of the phenomenon. As a result, I've worked hard to find out how to make the lovely things at home for myself.
While I do have a deep fryer, there are two reasons why I don't like to use it often. One is that it is unhealthy to eat a lot of deep-fried foods, though every once in while isn't so bad. The other, though, is that it's an ordeal to break out the equipment, fill it up with a ton of oil, cook up the wings, then break it all down after it's cooled, clean it up, and stow it away again. The non-food related parts of the process take ten times as long as the actual meal. With this in mind, I have experimented with alternative methods of cooking my beloved wings that don't involve deep-frying. This is the first of two Instructables, each of which will describe a different process I've worked out.
Method One involves cooking the wings, lightly coated in oil and flour, in a very hot oven. The result is a nice, golden, and crunchy wing, without all the bother of the deep-fryer. Let's hop to it, shall we?
(Special thanks to randofo for the front page feature.)
The ingredients list:
Thawed chicken wings (I used 14 for this Instructable)
Light olive oil (or any other choice, really)
For the sauce:
Frank's Red Hot
A bowl with a lid for tossing
A spatula (rubber or silicone)
A cookie sheet
Some foil (optional)
EDIT: I just wanted to add here that I have an Instructable up for what I think is a pretty darn good roasted garlic wing sauce. Also, I posted a video of me making wings with a slightly different method, and yet a different idea for the sauce.
Step 1: Billy, Don't Be a Tosser...
The first step is to coat the wings in a bit of light olive oil, then flour. I do this in two stages.
First, place your thawed wings, patted dry, into your bowl with a lid, hereafter known as the "toss pot." Pour in a small amount of light olive oil (or any oil of your choice, really), put on the lid, and give them a thorough tossing. Then, remove the lid, pour in some flour, enough to give the wings a good coating, and then give them yet another thorough tossing.
At this point, you could then add spices to our newly-made sticky batter coating. If you can toss for a third time in a row, however, you're a greater man than I.
The pictures below tell the tale.
UPDATE: I recently discovered that these wings will actually come out better if you omit the oil and toss only in the flour and then bake at 425F for 40 minutes. Really, it's up to you which method you want to use, but I've taken to this new method.
Step 2: How to Be a Master Baker
Preheat your oven to 450F, and place your oven rack as close to the heat source as possible. The theory here is that we do NOT want the wings stewing in their own juices. We want to drive that moisture off so they fry instead. Because they're small, the wings cook through before they burn on the outside.
Next, place the wings skin side up on your (optionally foiled) cookie sheet. I sprayed the foil on mine with no-stick spray, and they still stuck, so be careful here. Once the oven is heated up, place the sheet on that lower oven rack.
Times will vary depending on a variety of factors. Just look for a nice golden brown color. It'll take about 20 or so minutes, on average. If the tops of the wings aren't colored enough for you, place the cookie sheet under the broiler for a few minutes. Don't walk away from them if you do that, though.
Again, the pictures below tell the tale.
Step 3: The Sauce of All Evil
Now, we have many saucing options, which I'll discuss in a later step. For this Instructable, we'll construct a hot sauce of my own design, inspired by the Red-Hot Dog sauce from days of yore. It's really good, and extremely simple to make.
Take a good sauce pot, pour in about twice as much Frank's Red Hot sauce you think it would take to coat your batch of wings. Then put in some butter (about 1/4 stick per cup of sauce as a guideline), then some sugar, just enough to take the edge off. Simmer this mixture until it reduces by about half. The final result will be a thick, sticky sauce that will go well with the wings.
To coat, I clean up my toss pot that I used before, put the now-cooked wings in, pour in the sauce, and give them another good tossing. Plate and eat!
The pictures below... Oh, never mind.
Step 4: The Open-Sauce Foundation
There are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of sauce options for your wings. You can use store-bought wing sauces if you'd like. My other favorite is to toss them in Cattleman's or Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce, or, on occasion, my own homemade barbecue sauce, but that's another Instructable. The sky is the limit.
For dipping options, I generally like ranch or bleu cheese dressing, the traditional dips, when I decide to dip. Most of the time, though, I'm not feeling dippy, so I don't.
Enjoy! Homemade Wings Process #2 should be coming in the near future.