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Five ways to cook chicken wings -- and sauces to dip them in -- for the Super Bowl


You don't need to outsource your chicken wing supply for this year's Super Bowl feast, set for Sunday when the Panthers and the Broncos face off in California. Making them at home is easy. What isn't as easy is choosing how to make them, as there are a handful of cooking methods for turning the poultry into an irresistible snack. Here are five ideas for ways to cook chicken wings, and a bonus list of five sauces that go with just about any of them.

Slow cooker

Busy putting together a large food spread? Let this set-it-and-forget-it chicken wing recipe do most of the work for you. Simmering the wings for hours in a sauce produces tender, fall-off-the-bone meat. Put the sauce together first. In a large bowl, whisk 1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce, 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/3 cup packed brown sugar, ¼ cup honey, 3 cloves minced garlic, 1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce, 1 teaspoon ginger powder, 1 teaspoon ground pepper and ½ teaspoon onion powder. Next, add 3 pounds chicken wings to a slow cooker, then pour sauce mixture on top and gently toss to coat the wings. Cover and cook on low heat for 3 to 4 hours or high heat for 1 to 2 hours. To thicken the sauce slightly, stir together 2 tablespoons each cornstarch and water, then add that mixture to the slow cooker. Cook on high heat for another 15 minutes, until sauce is thicker. If you want to char the wings slightly, line a baking sheet with foil, add the wings and broil for 3 minutes. This isn't necessary, but does add a nice element of flavor and texture. Serve wings with sauce. Recipe from damndelicious.net.

Boiled and broiled

This method yields a leaner wing than simply baking (and definitely frying) because some of the fat from the wing melts off in the boiling process. To make, bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add 2 pounds chicken wings, halved through the joint. Boil for about 15 minutes, then remove wings from pot with a slotted spoon and transfer to a glass bowl. To the bowl, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons hot sauce of your choice and a pinch of salt and pepper; toss to coat. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and lay wings in a flat layer on the foil. Cook the wings under the broiler for 5 minutes, then flip over and broil for 5 minutes on the other side. Meanwhile, whisk together 2 tablespoons melted butter and hot sauce of your choice in a small bowl. When the wings are done, remove from oven, brush with sauce and serve immediately. 

Fried

Sometimes, you just need to go all in, put on your stretchy pants, and fry up some wings for the big game. Here is how you do it. Heat 1 inch of vegetable or peanut oil in a large deep skillet over high heat until oil is 375 degrees. Now, make a coating for the wings by mixing 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 tablespoon paprika in a shallow dish. Working with 3 pounds of chicken wings split at the joint, drag them through the dish until coated and tap off the excess. Fry the wings in batches, for about 15 minutes or until deep golden brown. Set a rack on a rimmed baking sheet and transfer the hot wings from oil to the baking sheet using tongs. In a large saucepan, combine 1½ cups Frank's Red Hot sauce or other hot sauce, 1 stick unsalted butter and 2 tablespoons honey and cook over medium heat until the butter melts. Cook for about 10 minutes, then add the wings to the pot and toss. Serve with blue cheese sauce. Recipe from Food Network Magazine.

Grilled

Lucky for us Floridians, it's never an inappropriate season for grilling. To make these classic grilled wings, toss 1½ pounds chicken wings halved through the joint in a bowl with 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon seafood seasoning (like Old Bay). Grill uncovered for about 15-20 minutes until cooked through; turn once during cooking. While the wings are cooking, combine 3 tablespoons melted butter and another teaspoon of the seafood seasoning in a large bowl. Add the wings, toss to coat, then serve. Recipe from Real Simple.

Baked

These wings develop a sweet-spicy tang from a sauce made of Sriracha, honey and molasses. First, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Then, toss 4 pounds chicken wings with 2 tablespoons canola oil, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper in a large bowl, then spread out on two large rimmed baking sheets. Bake about 40 minutes until crispy and cooked through, tossing once during cooking so the wings don't stick to the pan. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Combine 1/3 cup Sriracha sauce (or other hot wing sauce), ¼ cup honey and ¼ cup molasses in a large bowl. Remove the wings from the oven, then add to the bowl with the glaze and toss well to coat. Recipe from Real Simple.

Five ideas for sauces

Honey mustard

Melt ½ cup butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 4 cloves minced garlic, and cook for a minute or two until the garlic is browned slightly. Whisk in ½ cup mustard and 1/8 cup honey, then add 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low and simmer the sauce for about 3 to 5 minutes or until thickened.

Blue cheese

In a food processor, pulse ½ cup sour cream, ½ cup crumbled blue cheese, ¼ cup mayonnaise, 1 small clove chopped garlic, 1 tablespoon milk, the juice of ½ lemon, and salt and pepper to taste until mixed but still slightly chunky.

Honey soy

Bring 1 cup soy sauce, 1 cup chopped green onions, ½ cup white distilled vinegar, 3 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger, 2 tablespoons chopped garlic and 2 tablespoons sesame oil to a boil in a small saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes, then bring to a simmer and let cook for another 5 minutes until thickened slightly.

Creamy dill

In a medium bowl, stir together ½ cup sour cream and ¼ cup mayonnaise or Greek yogurt. Add 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine, then thin out the mixture with 2 tablespoons water.

Barbecue

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add 1 cup ketchup, 1/8 cup white vinegar, ¼ cup molasses, ¼ cup honey, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon paprika, ¼ teaspoon chili powder, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder and ¼ teaspoon onion powder. Bring the sauce to a simmer, and then reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered for 15 minutes.


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