Football season is upon us, and, as devoted Green Bay Packers fans, my sister and I now spend our Sundays standing in crowded bars, wedged between beer guts covered in brightly colored jerseys. For us, the joy of the game comes in part from Brett Favre sending the ball soaring into the end zone and, in equal part, from the food that identifies itself with the sport: Hot wings, nachos, chili, brawts and, of course, beer. There’s nothing quite like licking sweet, acidic, spicy sauce off each individual finger and washing it all down with a cold swig of light, tasteless beer. When it came time to make wings at home, we couldn’t agree on a recipe. She prefers the traditional bright-orange, “game day” wings while I lean toward the slightly more complex, honey-glazed version. Our scouring the city for these tangy little chicken parts resulted in a culinary education on the art of wing-making: some are overcooked, dried out and rendered void of any succulent meat; others are pulled out of the fry-a-lator a couple minutes early, leaving some of the meat with an alarming pinkish hue. So, for a better football-watching experience, I’ve taken the best parts of all the wings I’ve indulged in since the season started and concocted a recipe for all to try at home.
Honey-Glazed Hot Wings (serves four)
2 pounds chicken wings, tips removed
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, pureed
4 tablespoons butter (half a stick)
Chopped scallions for garnish
Combine flour, salt, pepper, chili powder and cayenne. Season wings with salt and pepper. In a medium saucepan, bring the vinegar to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the honey, Dijon, chipotle puree and butter. Set aside. In a large, deep frying pan, bring the oil to 375 degrees or until you hear the first pop (over medium-high heat). Lay each wing in the flour mixture, flip it to coat the other side, tap it to remove any excess flour and place it in oil. Do this with all the wings and cook them until they turn golden brown, no more than five minutes. Flip them with a pair of tongs and brown them on the other side. Once done, transfer to a paper towel to absorb excess oil. Toss the wings in half of the butter sauce and slide them onto a platter. Pour the remaining sauce over the top. Garnish with scallions. Go Pack Go!