If there’s one thing I love to eat while watching sports, it’s chicken wings. They’re spicy, crunchy, dippable, and fun to eat. But frying batches for a party can be a pain in the ass, and baking wings normally doesn’t really give you the crunchy exterior. But the good folks over at Cook’s Illustrated like to solve problems with science, and they’ve figured out a couple tricks for getting a great crunchy exterior in the oven. First, a little baking soda on the outside helps break down proteins and speed the browning process. Second, by rendering out some of the fat first, the skin has a better opportunity to crisp up. But I’ve taken this all a step further, and figured out the best way to render out the fat. By hot-smoking the wings first, you par cook the wings a little, render out just enough fat, and ALSO impart a fantastic extra smokey twist on a classic. Oh, and this is insanely easy.
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 2 lbs wings (about 10 whole wings, 20 when wing and drumette are separated)
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 T baking soda (NOT baking soda)
- hot sauce of your choosing (Frank’s Red Hot is sort of the classic)
- ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping
- carrot stick
- celery sticks
- If your wings aren’t separated, use a solid knife to split the wing into three parts: main wing, drummete, and wing tip.
- Toss the wings in the salt and baking powder.
- Bust our your indoor smoker, load it up with the approriate amount of wood chips, and turn on the heat.
- Load up the rack with the wings, and once you start to see smoke coming from your smoker, add the wings and seal it, then set your timer for 35 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 425 F.
- Once your timer goes off, move the wings from the smoker to the oven, and bake for 45-50 minutes.
- The wings will look dark, but that’s just from the smoke. They’re done when they’re nice and brown and crispy.
- You can toss them in hot sauce, but I like having it on the side so I can get some really smokey bites in there too.