Buffalo Chicken Wings and Blue Cheese Dip: Without the Fryer

Buffalo Hot Wings without the Fryer

I’m pretty fired up about this recipe.  I’ve been obsessed with chicken wings for as long as I can remember.  I grew up going to a greasy spoon that served the very best buffalo chicken wings and I’ve tried to achieve that greatness in my own kitchen for years now.  I’ve roasted wings, fried them, grilled them and tried them with every sauce from blueberry to barbecue.   Frank’s Hot Sauce with a pat of butter is my go to when it comes to lip-burning buffalo wings and frying, at least until now, has been my preferred method of cooking them.

Yes, oven-baked wings are healthier for you, but they aren’t nearly as good as the fried ones.  While deep-frying has its benefits, I encourage pan-frying for the home cook and use a breading of rice flour or cornstarch for extra crispness.   The resulting wings are dynamite and will make any sports fan or wing-nut like myself very happy, but even with my proselytizing, people don’t tend to make them for themselves.

Ready to Eat

Why not? It’s that frying thing.  While pan-frying uses far less oil and is a much easier clean-up than deep-frying, it’s still frying. Health concerns aside, frying is messy.  Hot grease spatters, there’s that sticky steam that seems to coat everything including your face, and, at the end of the night, the need to pour the used oil into a bottle for safe disposal (don’t you dare send that oil don’t the drain) makes most people give up on the idea of wings at home before they even give it a try.  This makes me sad, but I also can’t blame them.

But now it’s all going to change.  I’ve got a ridiculously good Buffalo chicken wing recipe that requires no frying and all but the last 8 minutes of prep can be done the day ahead.  Paying attention, now?

Ready for the Broiler

Inspiration for this recipe came from David Chang of Momofuku fame.  My husband and I made his fried chicken recipe from his cookbook, Momofuku, a while back.  His fried chicken recipe involves brining the chicken pieces, then steaming them, before finally giving them a quick go in the frying pan.  The resulting chicken is super moist, but still retains a wonderfully crisp skin.  I got to thinking that perhaps I could take a similar approach to chicken wings, but instead of frying them I could crisp them under a broiler instead.   And the good news? It worked.

After Broiling

Sure there is some advance prep with brining the chicken wings and then steaming them in a steamer, but once those steps are complete you just pop the cooked wings into your refrigerator until you are ready to eat – even if you don’t plan to nosh until the next day.  Gone are the days of missing your team score a touchdown, because you are slaving over a frying pan.  With this recipe, when you start getting hungry you simply pop the wings under the broiler for 6 to 8 minutes then toss them with the sauce and  – viola – wings without the mess.  Happy cooking!

Finger-licking hot wings

Buffalo Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dip – Printer Friendly Recipe
Serves 6 as an appetizer

Not a fan of Buffalo hot wings, check out my recipe for Asian-inspired wings here and substitute the brine, steam, and broil technique for the pan-frying.

 For the wings:
2 lbs chicken wings (wings, drummettes, or a combination of both)
4 cups water
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup kosher salt
½ cup Frank’s Louisiana Hot Sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the dip:
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons buttermilk
3 ounces (about 2/3 cup) crumbled blue cheese
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Serve with: carrot and celery sticks

In a large bowl, whisk together the water, sugar, and salt until the sugar and salt have dissolved.   Add the chicken wings and cover. Refrigerate for one hour.

Set up a steamer with water and bring to a boil. Remove the chicken from the brine (the brine should be discarded) and carefully place the wings in the steamer basket.   Turn the heat to medium and cover the steamer. Steam for 20 minutes or until the wings are just cooked through. Remove the wings from the steamer and place them on a baking sheet to cool. Refrigerate the cooled wings for at least one hour or as long as overnight.

To make the dip, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, and buttermilk in a small bowl. Stir in the crumbled blue cheese and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

When ready to serve the wings, put a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat the broiler on high. In a small saucepan, heat the hot sauce and butter over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. When the butter has melted, set the sauce aside until ready to use.

Place the chicken wings on a baking sheet and place under the broiler for 7 to 8 minutes, checking often and turning the wings as needed, until wings are browned and crispy.   Remove the wings from the oven and toss them with the hot sauce. Serve immediately with carrot and celery sticks, blue cheese dip, lots of napkins, and a good game on television!



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