With the Super Bowl just around the corner, a game plan for homemade fried food is in order.
On Monday and Tuesday, we talked about how to make the perfect French fry at home. And if there's one thing that's true about deep-frying, it's that you don't want to do just one thing. After all the trouble of setting up a frying vessel and prepping your oil, you're going to want to put it to good use. And that's where chicken wings come in. Buffalo-style wings are awesome fried food if done right. Unfortunately, most restaurants don't treat them with the respect they deserve. Hot from the fryer, chicken wings are about one of the best things you can make with some heated oil. Just as long as you follow these important steps.
Step One: Plan Ahead
You can't just pop some wings in the fryer and expect them to come out great. Well, you can, but they'll come out much better with some prep about a day in advance. Here's what you do: Clean, wash, and dry your wings (a pound per person works pretty well) before starting. Next, season a cup of flour per pound of wings with a tablespoon of black pepper. Mix the flour thoroughly and toss the wings in the mixture, lightly coating. Be very sparing with the flour, making sure to knock off any excess. Finally, place the coated wings in a ziplock bag and refrigerate until ready to cook. As an alternative to black pepper, you can make a Cajun spice rub out of two parts paprika to one part cayenne, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, and dried oregano.
Step Two: Fry
Remove your wings from the fridge about 30 minutes before frying. You'll notice the flour has formed a sort of seasoned paste on the outside of the wings. This is a good thing. That's a seasoned paste of love, and it will help create a tasty and crisp, but not overly thick, coating on your finished wings.
Set the deep fryer to 350 degrees. Add your wings to the oil without overcrowding -- in conventional home deep fryers, that's about eight meaty wings at a time. The wings should take six to eight minutes to finish. You're looking for a brown exterior with plump, tight flesh.
Step Three: Sauce
While your wings are frying, you can prep the sauce. Melt half a stick of butter over medium heat in a sauce pot. Once the butter is melted completely and begins to foam, add three cloves of garlic, minced. Allow the garlic to perfume the butter, then add your hot sauce. A six-ounce bottle of Louisiana-style hot sauce (Crystal or Louisiana brands work great) to the butter and whisk thoroughly until fully incorporated. Allow to come warm, and season with a few twists of fresh cracked black pepper.
Move your fried wings to a paper-towel-lined bowl to remove excess oil. Add four tablespoons of sauce to another bowl and toss your wings in it, lightly coating. Serve immediately -- the faster the better, as these wings will taste best right from the fryer.
What I like to do as well is pop three to four jalapenos, seeds removed, into a food processor and pulse until finely diced. Add a few heaping spoon fulls of the jalapenos to your wings before tossing and you'll have an even zippier sauce that tastes fresh and clean. Enjoy!