Super Bowl Sunday means football, yes, but also uncrowded waves and really awesome food like beer, nachos, and hot wings. All-American Sunday stuff, really. But today we’re going to talk about hot wings. I can’t really fathom watching the Super Bowl without hot wings. So after you get done shredding, tuck into these grilled little guys.
If you’ve been to Hooters and other places in the South, you’ve eaten wings a certain way, and they’re great. Order ‘em up deep fried and super spicy with sides of dressing and Coors Light to cool them down. These wings here, the ones I like more, are grilled. Maybe it’s because I’m from California, but I’d rather cook food outside with smoke and fire than inside over a vat of frying oil. These wings get their heat from a dry rub before cooking, are tender thanks to braising, get crunchy from the screaming hot grill, and get more heat from a buttery hot sauce you pour on before serving. Dip them in some cool bleu cheese dressing, which I’ll show you how to make too, and you’re on one. Let’s go!
Once you’ve got your ingredients, these things are way easy to make. What you want to do is handle the par cooking, make the dressing, and finish the prep work before the big game. That way, instead of slaving in the kitchen, you’ll be killing it over the grill, watching the game, and sipping on a beer. That’s living.—Paul Brewer
STEP 1 (do early): DRY RUB AND PAR COOK
In a huge bowl, mix together a dry rub: lots of chili powder and a lot less of dry mustard, cayenne pepper, paprika, cracked pepper, ground cumin, and salt. I’m not specific here because there’s no need to be, and if you’re missing something on the list besides chili powder, don’t stress.
For the Chicken***, get about 1 lb per person, or less if you’re having nachos and stuff too. Rinse and pat dry the chicken with a towel. Consider trashing that tainted towel. Toss the chicken in the dry rub mixture. Next, grease a baking dish with butter, throw the wings in, add ¼ cup of water, and cover with foil. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. They’ll be tender and cooked through at this point. Put them aside until you’re ready to grill and party.
STEP 2 (do early): MAKE BLEU CHEESE DRESSING/CUT UP CARROTS AND CELERY
- 1 cup blue cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup mayo (or a mix of mayo and plain, unsweetened yogurt)
- A few splashes red wine vinegar
- Handful of chives, minced
- Salt and cracked pepper to taste
Mix all that. If you can let it sit in the fridge for a couple days, the flavors will get better. Also take this time to cut up some celery, carrots, and/or cucumbers for dipping.
STEP 3 (do early): MAKE HOT SAUCE
- Franks Red Hot Sauce
- ½ stick butter
Put both these things in a small pan over low heat around the time you fire up your grill. You can even put it off to the side of your grill. Stir and melt the butter into the hot sauce. Keep to the side and warm.
STEP 4 (do early): MAKE A BASTING LIQUID
The point of grilling the wings is to make them smoky and crispy. So be ready with a basting liquid of 1 cup of water with a bunch of honey—the sugary water will make the wings sticky and crispy. Mix it up and have it ready by the grill.
STEP 5 (do at party time): GRILL AND ASSEMBLE IT ALL
When it’s go time, get your grill as hot as it’ll go, and throw those wings on there. Get that chicken skin good and charred by basting as you go with your honey water. When they’re looking crispy, mix the wings with the buttery hot sauce and serve it with a big bowl of blue cheese dressing and all the cut up veggies. Eat!
*** Side note: When you buy wings, be smart. They should be affordable. Some sneaky stores will sell “party wings” for a premium, like $5 a pound, while you’ll see “wings” for a dollar or two a pound. All they’ve done is break down the wing into its three parts: the drum, the wing, and the tip (which is good to save for stock or trash). So skip that hustle and save some cash: break out your chef’s knife, split them at the joint, and make your own party.