Easy Tailgate Party Buffalo Wings Recipe
Since it’s officially tailgate season I wanted to find an easy-but-still-delicious way to make one of my favorite tailgating foods: buffalo wings.
If you've looked through buffalo wing recipes online then you know how much work they can be. Many call for deep fat frying the wings, which can be a real pain. Other recipes, like this one, call for the chicken to be steamed in batches and then baked. (I immediately vetoed this recipe when I read in the comments section that people were building they own homemade multi-tiered steamer baskets. That's way too much work for me.)
I decided to start my experiment by simply brushing the chicken wings with buffalo sauce and baking them. The wings turned out okay—they weren’t dry, as I'd feared, but they were missing something. They were just, well, chicken baked in sauce. Nothing special.
After that I decided to make this recipe, which called for the hot wings to be broiled. Sadly, they turned out completely burned on the outside but still undercooked on the inside.
Finally, I tried a mixture of the two cooking methods, baking the chicken wings for 15 minutes and then broiling them for 3 minutes on each side. Success! The buffalo wings turned out browned without being burned, and the meat was still nice and moist. Not only were they delicious, but they're so easy to make that any beginner could fix them.
Here's the recipe:
- 3 pounds trimmed chicken wings and/or wing drumettes*
- 5 tablespoons Frank’s Original Hot Sauce
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (use regular if you don’t have the smoked kind)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
* I used a bag of pre-trimmed chicken wings and drumettes which I found in the freezer section at the grocery store. The three-pound bag cost $5.98, and while that may be a couple bucks more than the untrimmed kind, I consider that two bucks well worth the 20+ minutes it would have taken me to trim and chop up the wings myself.
Step One: put the chicken in a colander and rinse. Shake the chicken for about 10 seconds and then leave the colander in the sink to drain while you make the sauce.
Step Two: Add the hot sauce, melted butter, honey, paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne into a bowl and stir with a whisk or a fork to blend, about 20 - 30 seconds.
Step Three: using tongs, place the chicken into a 9” x 13” glass baking dish. Drizzle about ½ cup of the sauce over the chicken. Use your tongs to roll the chicken piecesaround in the marinade so they’re fairly evenly coated. Cover the remaining sauce and the chicken with plastic wrap and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450°F.
Step Four: Remove the plastic wrap and place the chicken on the top rack of the oven; bake for 15 minutes.
Step Five: Pull the chicken out of the oven and then turn on the broiler. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a broiling pan.
Step Six: Broil the chicken for 3 minutes each side, or until the chicken is no longer pink and registers 160°F on a meat thermometer. Just after you pull the chicken from the oven, brush it with the remaining sauce. Serve with blue cheese dressing, crisp celery sticks, and cool, creamy Reser’s American Classics potato salad.
If you don’t have a broiler pan then just use a couple of very heavy-duty sauce pans.
Also, I would say that this recipe is about a medium heat level. If you’re craving really hot wings, you might try upping the cayenne up to a whole teaspoon. Conversely, if you want milder wings, then go with just 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne.