Monday, January 30, 2017

Twice Fried Buffalo Wings

The Super Bowl is less than a week away, which means we need to start seriously thinking about football appetizers and game day snacks!

I've recently had a hankering for classic Buffalo Wings - the type of wings that are hot, spicy and buttery, with a crunchy skin and fall-off-the-bone meat. I don't think that's too much to ask for, but there was the task of having to find really good buffalo wings in the greater Boston area. So, one thing led to another and I decided I should just make them myself.

With the big game around the corner, this past weekend seemed as good a time as any to give homemade buffalo wings a whirl. I enlisted the help of my friend, Lauren, who also proposed that we make homemade pretzels and mustard (and oops, we also made a cheese dip, wow what a great day).

Turns out, the talented J. Kenji Lopez-Alt over at Serious Eats did quite a bit of buffalo wing research for us, so I used his post as guidance for what I assumed had to be a spectacular wing (considering they were twice fried!)

As for my method, it is essentially Kenji's, but generally at lower temperatures and with shorter cooking times on the second fry. I learned this weekend that I am very scared of big pots of a hot oil and Lauren had to coach me into just dropping the wings in for the second fry...hey, we all have our struggles!

So, how do we get perfect wings at home? First, we combine oil and lots of wings/drumettes into a big dutch oven. Over medium heat, we gradually bring the oil up to 225 degress farenheit, stirring the chicken occasionally until the chicken is cooked through and just beginning to have color on the outside.

After the initial fry, we remove the chicken from the oil to strain and rest it for at least an hour at room temperature. Next, more oil goes into the dutch oven and is heated to 375 degrees. Working in smaller batches, the wings are then deep fried until crispy, golden and ready to douse in sauce.

As for the sauce, it is nothing more than melted butter and Frank's Red Hot. Just before serving, the wings are tossed in the dip. Bleu cheese dressing is essential to have on hand for dipping, and some celery will calm your pallet between plate-fulls of wings. Jump to the recipe below for detailed instructions and tips on how to plan ahead for the Super Bowl Sunday!

Here's what you need for Twice Fried Buffalo Wings* (Print Recipe!)

3 quarts canola oil
4 pounds chicken drumette and flat wing pieces
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup classic Frank's Red Hot sauce
bleu cheese dressing and celery to serve

Here's what you do

In a large dutch oven, combine the chicken pieces with 2 quarts of oil (or enough to ensure the chicken is all covered by the oil). Attached a candy thermometer to the side of the dutch oven and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the oil reaches 225 degrees farenheit (up to 250 degrees - don't go over that temperature). Continue cooking for about 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and just barely becoming gold on the skin.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with 2 layers of paper towels. Transfer the chicken to the baking sheet, allowing excess oil to strain off before setting on the towels (best to use a mesh spider). Allow the chicken to rest for at least 1 hour at room temperature. Alternatively, you can chill in the fridge for up to 3 days. Bring back to room temperature before proceeding to the second fry.

I like to use fresh oil for the second fry, so dispose of the original oil and wipe the dutch oven clean, being sure to get rid of any browned bits stuck on the bottom. Add another quart of canola oil to the pot and bring the oil up to 375 degrees. I do this over medium-high heat to get the oil to temperature, but then lower the heat to medium while frying the chicken. In batches of about 7 or 8 chicken pieces, carefully lower the chicken into the hot oil using your spider spoon. I suggest having the cover of your pot handy to protect you from the popping oil.

Cook the chicken for about 7 minutes, or until it is a deep golden brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and repeat with remaining chicken. Meanwhile, combine the butter and hot sauce in a small saucepan until the butter is melted and the sauce is combined. Place all the crisped chicken in a large bowl and pour the sauce over the top. Quickly toss to coat then serve immediately with bleu cheese and celery sticks.

*Recipe from Serious Eats

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