Baked Bourbon Street Wings
There are a few things in life that I crave…soft serve ice cream being one and good chicken wings being the other. I think they should constitute their own food groups and that mandatory servings of each should be had every week. I’m not particularly picky about my soft serve ice cream…I’ve been known for 11pm field trips to the local McD’s for their $1 cones, but when it comes to wings, I have a far more discerning and discriminating palette.
I’ve yet to find a wing place in the nearby vicinity with wings to knock my socks off, however, a trip to the Jughandle in Cinnaminson is in my very near future and from what I understand will rectify this situation. In the meantime, however, I decided to give making wings myself a go.
Now, I’ve wanted to make wings at home myself many many times before, but always shied away from it for lack of a deep fryer. Enter my friend Vinny, who in his esteemed wisdom told me that you could bake wings and they were almost as good as their deep fried, artery clogging counterparts. Somewhat dubious at first, but I decided what the heck. Nothing ventured, nothing gained right?
Baked wings, folks, if done right are pretty darn delicious. The trick is to have your oven on very high…and when I say very high, I mean like 500 degrees high, and to bake your wings on the bottommost rack, turning every 5 mins. The high direct heat makes for an incredibly crispy wing. Deep fryer? Eat your heart out!
Now onto the sauce. We were originally going to opt for a traditional buffalo sauce, however, I remembered seeing a winning recipe for spicy bourbon sauced wings that beat out Bobby Flay. Hey, if it was good enough to triumph over Bobby Flay and it’s got bourbon in it to boot, who am I to argue? This sauce is hands down one of the best bbq sauces I’ve ever concocted in my kitchen. It starts out sweet, you can easily make out the hints of bourbon, brown sugar, and honey, but finishes with a nice slow burn. It was so good that we made extra and have been using it to slather on our grilled hot dogs and burgers. Yes, that is my subtle way of saying that you should totally do that too…you won’t regret it!
After everything was all said and done, these were about some of the best wings that I ever had…and they came from my own kitchen! Definitely not a traditional “buffalo” wing with a hot red sauce, I’d classify this as a hybrid between a buffalo and a bbq wing. Either way, get yourself to the market, get the ingredients, and makes these little gems post haste!
Baked Bourbon Street Wings
Adapted from Drew Cerza, The Wing King
For the sauce
2 tablespoons butter
1 large shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 ounces bourbon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon ancho pepper, finely chopped
8 ounces chili sauce (I used sriracha)
8 ounces barbecue sauce
3 ounces wing sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot)
For the wings
50 chicken wings (about 5lbs, tips removed and cut at joint into sections)
Blue cheese dressing, for serving
Bourbon, for serving
In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the shallot and garlic cloves and saute, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the bourbon, brown sugar and the honey to heat through, 1 minute. Next add the ancho pepper, chili sauce, barbeque sauce, and wing sauce and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes. Keep warm until ready to serve.
For the chicken wings
Place rack into bottommost position of oven. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Prepare a non stick roasting pan or spray some cooking spray into a roasting pan. Place wings in a single layer, about 1″ apart into pan and place onto bottom rack of oven. Bake about 20 minutes, flipping every 5-7 minutes, until wings are done and crispy.
Add the wings to a large mixing bowl and toss in the sauce, coating each wing.
Serve blue cheese dressing and 1/2 shots of bourbon, on the side, for adults to sip.