Don’t Be Afraid of the Baked Buffalo Wings

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Did the thought of baked buffalo wings just freak you out? Don’t be scared, trust me.  They actually turned out really well, except for the fact that the frozen wings I used were more in line with the size of the wings on a house finch.  Next time I’m either sticking to using drumsticks, or I’m going to our local meat market and picking up some of their generously sized fresh wings.  Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself.  My point is, don’t be scared off by the fact that these are not fried, even though I admit, the thought of baked wings made me gag a little bit at first.  Thankfully, the 2 hours of work that it took to make these was not a waste, and we all cleared our plates without complaint.

You can see the original recipe here, from A Chef’s Daughter.  The ingredients are simple.  Aside from the obvious chicken pieces, you’ll need the following.  Nothing fancy.

Minced garlic, hot sauce, butter, and salt

You boil some water, and then pop your chicken wings or drummies in a steamer basket and steam them for about 10 minutes.

I did mine in two batches, since I made 3 lbs of chicken and they would have been way too crowded if I tried to save a few minutes and do them all in one round.

The recipe tells you to dry the wings off and cool them in the fridge on a cooling rack placed over a paper towel lined baking sheet.  I had a lot of wings, and only one tiny cooling rack, so that was a no go.  Instead, I sat them in a colander for a few minutes to drain off most of the water and juices, pat them dry with paper towel, and then lay them on baking sheets lined with more paper towel,before I popped them in the fridge.

Steamed wings, ready for cooling.

They’ll be in the fridge for an hour.  That’s the time killer there, the hour of cooling time.  It ended up not being a big deal on this particular day, though. I just went ahead and baked some fries and made a few salads during the time I was waiting.  I wouldn’t want to commit to such a lengthy prep on a day when we had a full schedule, though.

In the last 10 minutes of your cooling hour, preheat the oven to 425. When your wings have been cooling for an hour, take them out of the fridge and remove them from the cooling rack/paper towel/whatever, and place them back on your baking sheet, this time on some freshly placed parchment paper.

Teeny, tiny chicken wings.

Then bake them for 40 minutes in your preheated oven.  A commenter on the original recipe mentioned that they adjusted their oven temp to 435, to be sure that their meaty cuts of chicken would be fully cooked. There’s a 40 minute cook time in the original recipe, which for my shrimpy chicken pieces, was definitely adequate.  However, when I make these again with normal sized chicken wings, instead of wings more appropriate for  serving in the Barbie Dream Kitchen, I’ll probably cut into one  and assess it before I remove them all from the oven. I struggle to use a meat thermometer appropriately with such bony pieces, but if you’re more graceful in the kitchen than I am, aim for 165 degrees F.

Then you want to melt your butter, salt, and garlic in the microwave.

Melt your butter/salt/garlic combo a few seconds at a time, and stir it up well.

Add your 1/2 cup of hot sauce and mix it all together.

Use a good sized bowl, so that you can easily mix your chicken in the sauce.

When your chicken is done baking, they’ll look something like this.  Only, hopefully, they’ll be a bit more generously sized.

Take a few pieces, and toss them into the buffalo sauce.

Mix the chicken pieces in the sauce until they are evenly coated.

This made more than enough sauce to coat all of our teeny tiny chicken pieces, and the sauce was good.  Really good.  Like, eat the extra with a spoon (or just eat it with your fingers, ’cause they’re messy when you eat wings anyway) good. Or just dip your wings in even more sauce as you go.  It’s too good to waste.

Eat up!

The wings were crispy, just like if they had been fried, but they were also less greasy, and I would say on right on par with taste.  It could be the 3 tablespoons of butter, or the fact that we dip ours in the miracle dip, ranch dressing.  But in any case, they were good, and we’ll make them again.  My compliments to A Chef’s Daughter!

But next time, we’ll find bigger pieces of chicken!

Have you made a recipe that you originally doubted, only to be pleasantly surprised?  Do tell…

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